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Oh the Hypocrisy!: Hillary Clinton's morally superior speech in Africa was deluded

Reports on Hillary Clinton's trip to Africa describe her as warning African leaders about co-operation with countries that want to exploit the continent's resources. In the pious and slightly smug tone that people in Africa – and, indeed, the rest of the developing world – are only too used to hearing from North Atlantic leaders, Clinton apparently went on to say the US would stand up for democracy and universal human rights "even when it might be easier or more profitable to look the other way, to keep the resources flowing … Not every partner makes that choice, but we do and we will."

The subtext was all too clear, and the Chinese government was predictably swift to react. China's official news agency, Xinhua, said the statements were part of a hidden agenda "aimed at least partly at discrediting China's engagement with the continent and curbing China's influence there".

Even non-official, non-Chinese observers can be forgiven more than a twinge of scepticism. Leaving aside for a moment the morally superior tenor of the US secretary of state's speech, how true are her statements, especially coming from the representative of a country that has systematically exploited global resources for the better part of the past century, and supported dictatorships in that enterprise?


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