It was an amazing scene, thousands had come out with lights held high with songs in support of the outgoing prime minister of Pakistan. A No-Confidence vote had forced the popular statesman and former cricket star out of office in April 2022. That nation has yet to see through even one administration to the end; each prime minister ousted before the completion of a term.
While we might argue that this is the result of internal politics or a struggling nation on the cusp of being a failed state; we might note something far more nefarious at hand, but not exactly, unknown or unexpected. Regime change has been a feature for struggling post colonial nations since they purported to wrest their freedoms from former colonial or apartheid powers. Yet such commentary, although known, was rarely spoken about as openly as in this current season in the new world order.
Recently a career US politician and high ranking official openly admitted on a nationally syndicaated CNN news show in July 2022 to instigating regime change in foreign nations. He underscored the complexity of the undertaking to illustrate that the January 6, attempted coup de etat in Washington DC was not a carefully planned event.
Likely there is some modicum of truth to that, in the convoluted ways in which former colonial powers and zero-sum hegemons have wrested and maintained power. Part of the key ingredients in such regime changes is always being sure to empower the weakest faction in war or the smaller group in tribal conflicts. This allows the external power to have total control over the puppet. If the puppet were powerful, it might throw out the hegemon and impose its own will.
In fact, that seems always to be the case in many of these unfortunate developing economies. The lure of technological advances, funding, favored status, access and opportunities for the nation or the leader, begiles the puppet for only so long. Soon the puppet begins to seek autonomy. It is with the help of other colonial allies that the hegemon decides to overthrow his puppet by fomenting descent against him through the larger group, an opposing tribe, local citizens or even his government cabinet.
The puppet has spent so much time isolating his tribe and allying with the external factions that he has no support when he is overthrown. Pakistan and Sri Lanka were perhaps the canaries in the cave for other developing economies who staked their bets on the groups that had a history of violent overthrows, war and colonial hegemonic domination. A sad state of affairs indeed.
The ousted PM of Pakistan lamented that his nation had supplied support in the past to those who would ultimately overthrow him and keep his nation in turmoil. The order has changed so rapidly, that many who pull the puppet strings appear to be pulling the plug on many propped-up puppets and regimes.
It is ironic how that such former hegemons are happy to celebrate strongmen in some of the poorest developing countries that starve their locals of adequate food, housing and jobs–but chafe at other nations surpassing them in power, influence and resources.
The former statesman, who was fired from the last administration was correct. These coups, regime changes and destabilizations take some work! They require stoking a small less volatile flame, while encouraging both locals and leadership to accept an older external and more brutal enemy as an ally. This works rather well on many developing countries and has forced almost the entire continent of Africa into the whipping boy of the world with failed states, corruption, religious and tribal conflicts that are stoked by former powers.
These same powers that once cut their children’s hands off and shipped their family members off to the Americas to rot in forced slavery now act as their allies. Africa has had 214 coups attempts and 108 attempted regime changes since 1950, according to data from a report by Powell and Thyne. In fact the data shows the majority of those coups have happened in African nations using the French CFA.
It has been a painfully slow and embarrassing fall over the years, forfeiting billions of dollars and lost opportunity. According to a 2020 UN Conference On Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report, Africa loses nearly 90 billion dollars annually–almost 4 percent of its GDP (which is grossly low anyway). To put that in perspective, the entire continent of Africa has a GDP of 2.7 trillion USD, while African Americans which make up less than 14 percent of the US population have a spending power of 1.6 trillion USD, nearly have the entire GDP of Africa! The numbers don’t make sense!
Recently a former apartheid era military commander went viral on TikTok when he revealed how the Apartheid army used soldiers from one tribe to stir up tribal trouble among locals. Which means, not only was the Apartheid government using the army against citizens (an obvious crime against humanity), it was also using military tactics on civilians. Many local people in developing econimies, like those in South Africa don’t realize why they are suddenly being antagonized, so they respond with rancor against the entire group instead of realizing they are dealing with strategically placed provocateurs.
It is special interest group funded civilian organizations and NGOs that have precipitated some of the greatest shifts if the present day. These corporate financed “citizen-movements” often use the generic term, “resist,” because the point is truly to resist local cohesion and local solutions. In fact, Ghana in its post Covid turmoil has seen rising protest, the most recent being fomented with the help of US based NGO Arise Ghana Youth. The professional, well-written and glossy protest signs and placards are often a dead giveaway.
In fact most developing economies are littered with foreign NGOs running a host of programs gathering sensitive “citizen data,” and “training” youth for nebulous “non-trade or business related” skills. While we cannot be sure the motive of the Murfreesboro nonprofit operating in Ghana, that is based in a residential area in Tennessee–it has virtually no Charity Navigator data. It boast of a slick website using American civil rights rhetoric in an attempt to explain it’s goal of eliminating povery in Ghana. Established in 2019, the organization was flagged in 2022 when its staged protests began to turn violent–a characteristic that is very uncommon in Ghanian society and life. The BBC reported that 29 were arrested.
The reason many half baked NGOs are able to operate in developing nations is because local education systems often inadequately prepare citizens to be critical thinkers able to quickly recognize the dislocated ideas that threaten their livelihood. And finance is so scarce, many sell out their local community for any kind of payout.
Many of these nonprofits are not even registered with local governments and act autonomously for years with the help of bribed officials, who forbid legitimate cause in favor of those working to dismamtle it’s stability. Many local and diaspora Ghanians often complain of delays in permits and licenses for legitimate business, while more opaque nonprofits easily obtain status in the country–and as we can see often at its detriment!
While the world watches several developing economies struggle, it seems we might place the blame on the leadership or those nations who lended unscrupulously to them. We are often reminded by the mainstream media’s concept of the “China Debt Trap” without noting that Japan holds the same amount of debt as China in many of these countries AND that the lions share of the debt is in the form of private loans by large Western investment houses and the IMF/World Bank which are also primarily Western lending institutions, according to a recent 2022 report from UK Debt Justice.
So why has debt become so dire for nations like Ghana? It’s because of Western inflation, which makes it impossible for weak valued currencies like the Cedi or Rupee to provide adequate debt payments. In essense, the dollar through inflation is being weaponized against developing nations like Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Oh dear! We assumed the dollar and the monetary system was only being weaponized against Russia. But it is actually being leveraged against developing nations who at one time almost had double digit growth numbers. Ukraine has sold off most of its gold as well, unable to make up for the inflationary numbers, doubtlessly leaving it poorer and weaker than before. Could this be an Economic hit, like the 1994 Asian Miracle Bubble?
You have to give the senior statesman some credit, regarding regime change mechanisms. But not so much because of their complexity–because military tactics are being used against poorly educated or uniformed masses. In a way, it’s kind of like taking candy from a baby: it’s not too difficult a task, but the complexity arises in shifting the blame for such a craven act away from oneself. The perfect storm of debt and regime change is pretty standard.
It seems as instability and influence begins to wane among former hegemons and the new order has begun to take shape, the old guard is ready to ditch their old puppets. It seems the puppet master is sacking its old ministers and local puppets, often betraying them with finesse. It’s obvious at this point that many puppets have been completely ineffective. The divide and rule is becoming less effective as more people catch on. The order has changed and the best attempts and best men have failed. The billions in bribes have secured virtually nothing as the old hegemons continue to slide down in the world order.
In much the same way a deranged mass shooter determines he is going to take as many lives as he can with him in a psychotic flurry of bullets, it seems old powers are intent at doing the same. It seems the same zero-sum school of thought also governs the actions of those losing economic, trade, natural resource and technological dominance.
Unfortunately, the puppets have to go first.