Somali Magazine -China is befriending far too many people. A troubling development for individuals who favour democracy and human rights is that Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party have demonstrated their willingness to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in underdeveloped nations, leading many countries to strengthen their ties with China.
Fortunately, some people reject Chinese efforts to influence politics by buying allies. One such organisation is the administration of Somaliland, an autonomous part of Somalia that has been striving to become a sovereign state for many years. Although no nation has recognised Somaliland as a separate state, America ought to be the first. Somaliland would be an ally for the United States in a crucial geostrategic area if the Biden Administration recognised it.
The willingness of Somaliland to reject China’s rapacious aid is quite exceptional in Africa. The largest market in the capital city of Somaliland, Hargeisa, was recently damaged by fire, and China’s ambassador to Somalia, Fei Shengchao, volunteered to look into ways China could help the distressed Somalilanders. Mr. Fei was scheduled to travel to Hargeisa, but the itinerary was abruptly changed, and no emergency assistance was ever sent.
This is because the Somaliland administration learned that the scheduled visit was subject to conditions. Mr. Fei did not travel there solely to discuss emergency relief. To identify allies in Somaliland who would sabotage the relationship between Taiwan and Somaliland, Fei sought out meetings with opposition figures and college students. Fei intended to reduce the number of diplomatic outposts held by Taiwan in Somaliland from the two that exist across the entire continent of Africa.
Somaliland has actively pursued an alliance with the US while rejecting China’s ambitions. Muse Bihi Abdi, the president of Somaliland, recently travelled to Washington, D.C., where he met with representatives of the Biden administration in an effort to promote Somaliland. The administration of Somaliland has offered to give the American military access to the strategically located Berbera port and airfield in an effort to strengthen ties between the two countries. On the Gulf of Aden, the Berbera Port looks over significant shipping lanes.
Although the United States already has a permanent military installation in Djibouti, which is adjacent to the Gulf of Aden, it would be wise for them to also establish a facility there. Chinese financial influence over Djibouti has grown, which hinders American operations there. In addition, the Chinese have recently been granted permission to establish a military base in Djibouti, just miles from the American base. America can lessen its dependency on Djibouti and improve its position in the crucial East Africa region by recognising Somaliland.
It’s also crucial to remember that by officially recognising Somaliland, America would gain more advantages than just increased military safety. In 2020, Somaliland opened up informal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, signalling that a fully independent Somaliland will provide Taiwan another ally on the world stage. Undoubtedly, this development would aid the United States in its efforts to support Taiwan.
For many years, Somaliland has also been among the most stable places in East Africa, occasionally even displaying encouraging signs of a viable democracy. America would be aiding a weak democracy in the hopes of bolstering it soon by recognising its independence.
Last but not least, formalising Somaliland’s recognition will deepen America’s economic links to the area. Unfortunately, Somaliland is grouped in with their volatile southern neighbour, which prevents them from attracting investment from the business sector. Imagine that the United States declared Somaliland to be a sovereign nation. In that event, the newly formed country would be able to reap the rewards of foreign investment on a scale not before possible. As a result, Somalilanders will experience economic progress, and this will strengthen American business links to East Africa.
American relations with Somalia would surely suffer as a result of Somaliland’s possible recognition. However, as things are, the United States gains little from that alliance. However, given that Somaliland has successfully run itself for the previous 30 years, it appears doubtful that Somaliland will disintegrate and end up as a failed state. There are other dangers, but none of them is greater than the potential gain of a democratic ally in an area where China is expanding.
Whether they like it or not, the United States and China are engaged in a protracted Cold War, and the American government’s recognition of Somaliland would assist the country position itself to prevail in this conflict of ideologies. America has been given a wonderful opportunity by President Abdi, and it should seize it.