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Opinions of Friday, 23 March 2018

Columnist: Bernard Asubonteng

U.S has Military Base in Ghana: So What?

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Ghana, the proud country of my birth, is full of hypocrites, contradictors, including many confused public actors and pundits who lack basic contemporary knowledge in public policy as well as international relations but pretend they have.

Besides given to speaking from both sides of their mouth on countless issues of national importance, some of these so-called policy analysts or public figures expose their cynicism and limited grasps of events as they start talking about them.

For instance, there are unconfirmed news/media reports all over in the country that the Akufo-Addo government has given the United States the green light to build a military base or the negotiation process is already complete to the point that America has Army Base in Ghana as we speak.

The news, whether credible or not, has already triggered fierce national debate with sizeable bunch of Ghanaians, and as usual spearheaded by the minority NDC MPs, questioning the present government’s genuine commitment to patriotism and its understanding of the concept of sovereignty.

It is one thing to offer sensible critiques, including selfless policy alternatives under a democracy by any viable opposition party. Indeed, this is what makes democracy sustainable and relevant.

However, it is also entirely another thing just to find faults where they may not even exist with caustic intent to obstruct the governing party so as to render the country ungovernable and in the process manipulate public opinion to score cheap political points.

The question that calls for exploration at this point is since when does an independent nation such as Ghana loses its national sovereignty because it has willingly entered into an agreement, allowing a friendly foreign power to establish a military base on its soil? By this skewed logic, can we also infer that Ghana lost its sovereignty when then President John Mahama entered into an agreement with U.S. resulting in the transfer or dumping of two (former?) terrorists from Guantanamo Bay Naval Base prison?

When Mahama-led NDC administration was busy defending the perceived merits behind the decision to bring in the Gitmo detainees, where were all these “patriotic” MPs, especially, on the NDC side of the aisle? From my understanding, the current Minority Leader Mr. Haruna Iddrisu and co., who appear to be hyper-vociferous now about every policy since they are in opposition bench were conspicuously silent when former President Mahama imported the two ex-terrorists into Ghana.

If one wants to talk about sovereignty and security risk, then let us not lose sight of the circumstance under which the two ex-terrorists from U.S. military base in Cuba were allowed to live in Ghana for the past two years by Mahama’s NDC government.

More important, the quickest way to lose one’s national dignity or sovereignty is to take bowl in your hands and go to the rich nations or the U.S.-controlled financial institutions like the World Bank and the IMF and beg for some money/aids in order to meet your national budgetary needs.

Has anyone thought about the “cup-in-hand phenomenon” on the part of Africa, including Ghana, whereby our leaders go on the begging spree in the U.S. and other rich nations for aids?

Obviously, anyone who provides money/food for your survival already has some form of control over your sovereignty, anyway. It will do Ghana good if we stop this hypocrisy and blatant contradiction in that if not U.S., it could be China, Britain, or France in the not-too-distance future that may have a Base here.

Some of our leaders don’t talk about sovereignty and national pride when they always go with basket in hand to pick up the leftovers at the dining tables of US and other advanced nations.

Plus, international relations 101 would tell any novice that rather than undermining the host nation’s sovereignty and security, the establishment of a military base by a world power like the United States is a symbiotic relationship. Among other benefits, there will be sharing of valuable security intelligence information between the two nations.

This development will also go a long way to help Ghana gets advanced knowledge of any potential military coup planning or destabilization effort by some groups of Ghanaians. Perhaps, this is what scares the opponents of US Base in Ghana and not necessarily the question of the country’s sovereignty or the lame argument that such a Base will be a magnet for terrorism.

The fact is some of us do not agree with every U.S. foreign policy around the world; but, it needs to be clearly stated that the centerpiece of U.S foreign policy presents antithetical tendencies toward colonization of any sovereign nation let alone an African country.

In other words, U.S. has non-appetite for or is not interested in colonizing or occupying any African society for any reason unless in the rare case scenario where it is forced to attack or strike a specific target to protect its national security interest back home. Even in that unique case U.S. forces will definitely withdraw back as soon as the said operation is over as it did in Libya during Gaddafi era.

Now, here is my unsolicited suggestion to Nana Akufo-Addo: As the current president of the Republic of Ghana, you are in the better position to know and more so you have an in-depth understanding of the security needs of the country as we speak. Based on national intelligence team assessments, if there is compelling reason for augmentation of Ghana’s security needs via foreign military base/assistance from a major world power, why not take advantage of it? The creation of military cooperation/base among friendly nations has been in existence since antiquity. It is not a novel proposition.

Mr. President, remind the talking heads that more powerful and rich sovereign countries such as Germany, UK, Italy, Norway, Australia, Netherlands, Spain, Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Turkey, and many others have U.S. military bases. Yet, none of them screams and uses fake, contradictory argument of the so-called infringement of its national sovereignty and potential attraction for terrorism. These hypocrisies, contradictions, and cynicism in Ghana’s national discourse have to stop or change else the country will stay put in mediocrity!