Ex-US Envoy Johnnie Carson Explains What Mike Pompeo Appointment Means For Africa

  • Former US Ambassador to Kenya and Senior Advisor at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) Johnnie Carson has predicted what the appointment of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State could mean for Kenya and Africa.

    In a piece published in African Arguments, Carson predicted that Pompeo's top priority would be to bolster anti-terrorism efforts and strengthen alliances with countries that have boots on the ground fighting Al-Shabaab in Somalia, such as Kenya.

    "His first priority is likely to be bolstering security collaboration with states participating in the African Union’s military operations in Somalia as well as countries in the Sahel and Lake Chad region fighting Boko Haram and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)," Carson wrote.

    He, however, made it clear that the Donald Trump White House did not consider Africa a priority and stated that not much should be expected from the changes in the administration.

    Carson also revealed that Pompeo's support of Trump's 'America First' agenda could lead US to strike more deals with corrupt and autocratic governments.

    [caption caption="New US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Courtesy)"][/caption]

    "If anything, this change will reinforce America’s focus on security and counter-terrorism. This emphasis could end up taking US policy further backwards. It could align the US with increasingly corrupt and autocratic governments.

    "It could ensnare Washington in longstanding conflicts that cannot be won by military means alone. And it could undercut US influence and integrity more broadly on the continent," he wrote.

    Carson further noted that the position of  Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs remained unfilled.

    The former Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was sent home while on an abridged tour of Africa.

    He had just arrived back in the US from Nairobi when President Trump tweeted the changes to his administration.

    [caption caption="Former US Ambassador to Kenya Johnnie Carson"][/caption]