Monday, November 12, 2007

Gunboat Diplomacy

Further to earlier blogs on Africom here , here and the last one here , Socialist Banner came across this news item where the American gun-boat is showing the flag . The guided missile destroyer USS Porter docked in Mombasa the other weekend, only the third US naval vessel to do so since 1999. Rear Admiral Jim Hart, commander of the Combined Task Force for the Horn of Africa, flew down from Djibouti. The US Ambassador to Kenya, Mr Ranneberger, arrived from Nairobi in a convoy of black-windowed vehicles. The visit of the USS Porter was significant.

Rear Admiral Hart gave the mission statement, speaking about assisting African navies, training African armies and making Africa safer for "development" and "prosperity". And much other such hype and cant .

Bristling with electronics and packed with Tomahawk missiles, this single destroyer from the US Fifth Fleet could probably sink the entire Kenyan Navy on its own. The fact that the ship is named Porter after the American naval officer who helped suppress the Islamic Barbary corsairs of Algiers in the early 19th Century was according to its commander "just a coincidence".

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