Some time ago, back in 2013, China sent troops traveled en route to Mali. A Chinese presence has remained ever since. Russia continues to exasperate Ukraine’s military forces. Mali’s extremist problem has grown in recent years. French interests in Africa are no way in retreat, and the U.S. is at a time when European reassurance is of the essence.

At what point does China make a more apparent, maybe kinetic, effort to shape nations of interest in their long-term strategic interests, or have they already begun in a way too faint for most to notice? Like Russia in Ukraine might have been before events there escalated like they have, today.

For nation states – overt violence and activities are not en-vogue. Russia has championed a mode of warfare that’s utilitarian. Their war runs the gamut of their capability just short of overt and blatant activity. Meddling is in no way new.  However, looking at the results of the aggressive actions in Ukraine; they can be devastating.

The Donbass in Ukraine has become a dystopian rebel-held land. The West has yet to intervene in a meaningful way, and Ukraine’s future hangs in the balance. What happens when things go south in an African nation? By most international standards Africa was and is the most unstable environment. All the dominos could fall, and Africa’s geopolitical barely landscape could be inextricably different. But, in truth, many in the world won’t care. Even so, we don’t know the consequences in full.