As a measure of the importance Washington attaches to [deposed President] Bazoum’s rehabilitation, none other than Victoria “Cookies” Nuland flew to Niamey earlier this week for several hours of talks with some of Niger’s military officials, though Tchiani and others leading the coup reportedly refused to see her. The State Department’s acting No. 2 got nowhere, even by her own account, having warned again that all U.S. aid to Niger hung in the balance.

“We don’t want your money,” the new government tweeted afterward. “Use it to fund a weight loss program for Victoria Nuland.”

Good for the Nigeriens. Now the rest of the article, from Patrick Kennedy at

Nigerien protestors rally in streets. Screenshot from YouTube video.

How shall we understand the July 26 coup in Niger, in which military officers ousted Mohamed Bazoum, the nation’s Western-tilted president? It is the sixth putsch of this kind in or next to the Sahel in the past four years. Shall we write off this band across sub–Saharan Africa as coup country and trouble no more about it? The thought is implicit in a lot of the media coverage, but how often do our media dedicate themselves to enhancing our understanding of global events and how often to cultivating our ignorance of them?

Do not take this latest development in Africa as an isolated event, if I may offer a suggestion. Its significance lies in the larger context in which it has occurred—its global surround, so to say. The West is besieged by the accumulating coherence and influence of the non–West and its version of the 21st century. Our media cannot bear writing or broadcasting about this. Niger, in my read, has just declared itself part of this historic phenomenon. And mainstream media can’t bear mentioning this, either.   Those who deposed Bazoum are led by Abdourahamane Tchiani, former head of the Presidential Guard, and plainly nurse a deep resentment of the postcolonial presence of the French. There are also reports—in the media, those coming out of the think tanks—that Bazoum was about to give Tchiani the sack, and the events of late July were driven, mostly or primarily, by personal rivalries, resentments, or both. 

Continue reading