Interesting article in BusinessWeek about the increasing importance of African business to American defense contractors.
I'm posting this mostly to emphasize the importance of Africa in the first half of this century as the site of a new Great Game between the U.S. and China, as we maneuver around the resources still locked in the ground there. At the same time it bears keeping in mind that the militarization of parts of Africa has not done people there many favors, especially in places like Democratic Republic of the Congo and Darfur (where, after extending pressure, at least the Chinese government has finally started talking with the West about how to improve the situation).
China's strategy has been two-pronged: they don't just hand shiploads of weapons over to whatever leader is willing to make a deal with them, brutal thug or otherwise. They also directly build transportation infrastructure that not only gets commodities to ports, it helps Africans through free trade is exactly what the US">economic development. The U.S. has a golden opportunity here to focus on trade and economics over weapons delivery and retain the mantle of "the good guys".