US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s seven-country tour of Africa is going swimmingly–no protesters; like her boss, President Barack Obama, she can get away with platitudes about corruption and democracy; South Africa, whose former President Thabo Mbeki, had a schizophrenic relationship with Obama’s predecessor, is back on board; and human rights is a relative term in Angola.

And she has time to hand out cash to random people.

She still needs to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria–two very unstable countries whose natural resources drive the US economy–but so far so good.

Which may be why Clinton is dancing; as she did 27 seconds into this news report, above, from Kenya’s NTV, filmed during her visit to Nairobi. (She did so again during a visit to a housing project outside Cape Town, in South Africa).

But don’t be fooled. She has bigger things on her mind. The trip is also driven by larger concerns: the US’s energy needs (by 2025 at least 25% of crude oil or petroleum imports will come from African countries (Nigeria and Angola are top of that list; they are currently the 6th and 7th largest exporter of crude oil and petrolium to the USA);  Somalia is a breeding ground for terrorists; and the US is struggling to sell the idea of a permanent military presence (AFRICOM) on the continent. Finally, there’s China’s increasing political and economic role (it is currently the second largest trading partner of Africa, and will probably overtake the United States shortly).

If you want to get some good analysis of Clinton’s trip (that is if you want to get beyond the nonsense about her ego or her battles with Bill Clinton), I’d suggest the following (I don’t agree with everything they say, but found them thoughtful): Texas in Africa (especially her open letter to Hillary Clinton), Todd Moss (including his blog), World Focus, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Foreign Policy in Focus, among others.

Further Reading

No more caricatures

Engaging seriously with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life could help us understand how South Africa got where it is and where it’s going.