The resource-scarce post-COVID environment will accelerate
competition between these powers and lead them into
intersecting spheres of influence. Even with an incoming
Joseph Biden administration, the United States is set for
declining influence on the continent, creating a vacuum
for Europe and China to either willingly or begrudgingly
fill. Budget constraints on aid and defense, complemented
by a shifting strategic emphasis toward great power competition,
will lead the United States to scale down its security
and development assistance in nonstrategic nations,
instead urging American businesses to compete head
on with Chinese firms in the marketplace. China, in turn,
will be faced with an opportunity to ramp up its security
assistance and will try to forge a new soft power advantage.
This will be meant to overcome growing reputational
concerns over debt relief and as a means to maintain the
support of the African voting bloc in the United Nations as
China faces enhanced global scrutiny. Europe may diverge
more from the United States as it, too, is forced to carry a
greater counterterrorism burden and seeks to combat a
new surge of irregular migration, possibly nudging NATO
to expand its footprint as well. And India will emerge from
COVID-19 with a compelling value proposition for African
nations seeking new economic partnerships.

You May Also Like