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No African free fire page 2
Beware turning Africa into a shooting gallery

 The United States is in Somalia and many other African countries with special-forces advisers, millions in military aid--and drones.
AP Photo/Ali Bashi, File
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Date published: 10/4/2012


To be sure, Beijing is primarily motivated by its unquenchable thirst for natural resources in Africa. But the result, based in part on perception, is still a concern. A part of the world that appears to be on the verge of an economic buildup, with positive implications for democratic reforms, still views the United States as more of a Hollywood-style source of culture than a true future benefactor.

This may be Africa's century. Parts of the continent are finally shedding their fascination with "Big Man" autocracy in favor of democratically supported regimes. More and more, the Africans themselves are moving to the forefront in dealing with problems within their midst, like the occupation of northern Mali.

This is the time for America to build enriched ties to a part of the world that could become a far more lucrative trading partner for the U.S. More important, this is the opportune time to work with the nations of a continent whose social and economic problems have left them, for the most part, far behind others in the developing world.

Drones and military exercises may well be needed to avoid more outrages like the one in Mali--and to prevent the national instability in which politicized mass murderers thrive. Needed also are business investment and development aid. Africa's realistic dreams of progress should not be sacrificed to another wave of proxy warfare.

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