Why I support the Idea of a US military base in Nigeria.

Surprisingly, I am in support of allowing the US to establish a military base in Nigeria.

The Russians and the Chinese are taking over Africa in terms of economy and power, given the huge promise and position Africa will occupy in the future of the global economy, America is beginning to rethink their foreign policy towards Africa and how to contain the wild spreading influence of China and Russia in the continent.

Yes, it is true that there is no free meal in international politics and the US has a history of exploitation and using other nations to protect her interests, there are many exceptions.

There are some countries that the US tried to use that were smart enough to use the US too. In the end, it became a Win-Win situation. Saudi Arabia used the US, UAE (Dubai) used the US, Singapore used the US, South Korea used the US, Israel used the US, Japan used the US, Europe used the US and even China used the US.

Here’s how.

In most cases, the US demonstrates strong interests in a country as a means of containing an enemy and securing some economic benefits. They needed Saudi Arabia and UAE to contain Iran and Russian influence in the middle east. They needed Israel for same the same purpose. They needed Europe to stop the growing influence of the USSR and also China too. They needed South Korea to contain North Korea and the USSR, they need Japan to contain China and so on and so forth.

So in trying to use these countries to achieve their economic ambitions and protect their interests, they establish some form of partnership which in most cases translates to establishing military bases and economic deals.

In turn, these countries with their strong leadership, have been able to make the best use of this relationship to develop their country’s military capabilities and spearhead massive economic growth.

Yes, they want to use you. You, are your leaders smart enough to know how to use them ?

Any country with smart leaders knows that getting the US to establish a military base in their country is an opportunity. An opportunity to have the Americans close by. And when you have the Americans close, you have a better chance to attract American capital, exploit your relationship with the Americans to access some of the choicest apples in the international economic system. It is an opportunity to get your hands on American technology and make the best use of them. See for instance, the technology adaptation that the Chinese and Japanese had done.

America is worried about growing Russian and Chinese influence in Africa. Africa will play a major role in the next generation of the global economy. Beyond its enormous resources, it is home to perhaps the world’s most promising youth population. That is human resources right there. While they may need you to contain the influence of their enemies, are you prepared to use them to achieve your own goals ? That is how this thing works.

All the countries I mentioned above used America while America was using them. It was a Win-Win situation. China for instance is now a global economic powerhouse, Japan is the world’s third largest economy, Israel is becoming a military and economic power, UAE has taken over, Europe recovered from the destruction of the Second World War, Singapore is a global financial hub. Amongst other things, these countries had the American factor, the American touch.

I have always argued that in the last 50 years, any nation that moved from third to first world, under-developed to developed, had a touch of America. You need access to American markets, access to American capital and access to American technology as well as access to American economic influence.

With the exception of one or two, most of these countries all started with an American military base. Most of them still have American military bases or American military access in their countries and they are making the best use of it.

But there is a necessary piece.

You must have strong leadership, strong enough to be able to make the best use of this relationship with America. .

This is not just about America. Even the Chinese, the Russians or whoever you choose to align with today or tomorrow, will exploit you. They will want to use you. Everyone wants to use someone in the international scene. You cannot escape it. Rather, you have to be strong enough to be able to use them to achieve your own goals while they also try to use you.

Just like those other countries, there is a situation on the ground. America is grappling with surging Chinese and Russian influence in Africa. This is the best time for Nigeria to position herself. Yes, they will want to use you. You too, you must be smart enough to use them.

It can start with this military base.

Yes, there are countries that didn’t benefit from having a US military base in their country and there are countries that benefited. The difference is strong leadership.

There is a reason why it is mostly African countries that didn’t benefit. You already know the answer.

So yeah, having a US military base in Nigeria is a good idea. So yeah, we know the US will want to use Nigeria to achieve her interests. The big question is, does Nigeria have that strong leadership? Are they ready ? Ready to also use the US to achieve their own interest like other countries have done ?

© Caleb Onyeabor

Caleb Onyeabor is a Nigerian intellectual, an avid advocate for political justice, social justice, and economic justice. Author of Diary of a Messed Up country. Follow him on Twitter via twitter.com/caleb_onyeabor

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