From the Washington Times:
[…] Events in Africa shape a new quest for untapped resources, namely oil. All that talk about “blood diamonds” only shrouds a more important dialogue on the fierce competition between the U.S. and China for the dangerously coveted fossil fuel. China’s excessive growth, combined with its growing military and diplomatic presence, underscores a need for more oil as its population and economy expand. Meanwhile, U.S. grumbling over rising oil prices and the continuing issue of decreased OPEC production will drive the demand for more exploration, drilling and defense of present and future oil reserves.
[…] The U.S. imports more oil from West Africa than Saudi Arabia and Kuwait combined; and, within the next decade, we’ll be drawing more oil from Africa than from our normal tap in the Middle East. Under the guise of the “war on terror,” the U.S. military presence is much more pronounced than in previous years, with the Pentagon now creating Africom as a new regional command center. The Bush administration fronts about its concern over HIV/AIDS, al Qaeda and illicit drug rings in Africa, but it’s all about the oil – a direct response to China’s move for the exact same thing. The Chinese, forming solid ties with African dictators like Mr. Mugabe (one main reason driving his emboldened arrogance), will continue ramping up trade deals, cultural linkages and military sales. At some point, Mr. Mugabe will have to chill if Zimbabwe’s troubles spread like a virus into South Africa – Africa’s largest economy and platform for continental business.
Few want to ponder it since modern “colonialism” is a culturally sensitive topic. That brings us back to the election. Pressing candidates on Iraq only begs the question; Africa is the real deal, especially if the Democratic nominee becomes president. He may not want to hear it, but a “President Obama” could tip the competitive scales on the continent. Africans, basking in the euphoria of their perceived “son” as “leader of the free world,” would respond positively to an Obama administration. He would be the friendly point man leveraging U.S. influence in that region, the public relations coup against rapid Chinese clout. His only challenge would be maneuvering the muddy madness of greedy dictators suppressing any chance at democratic reform. But the great legacy of the man with the Kenyan father could be unprecedented American access to African oil.
Also see this article in the Washington Post, China, Africa, and Oil.