Why Cheap-Shot Diplomacy in Africa Won't Work

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton snipes at China's booming presence in Africa during a press conference on Aug. 1 at Senegal's Dakar University Photograph by Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton returned from a seven-nation tour of Africa last week, leaving controversy in her wake over veiled references to China’s engagement on the continent being self interested and value-subtracting. For all that this may sometimes be the case, U.S. engagement in the region is hardly driven primarily by the noblest of humanitarian interests and if Africa is to move from charity to economic partnership, it will be hard to do without engaging the world’s fastest growing economy—something Clinton should understand from looking at America’s own balance sheet.

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