As competition between the U.S. and China and Russia ramps up, Africa is once more becoming a geopolitical battlefield.

U.S. special operations forces have long had a presence in Africa. Over the last 20 years, American commandos have focused on fighting terrorism, mainly in North and East Africa.

Now, in addition to fighting violent extremist groups, they have to counter Chinese and Russian overtures in a region where great powers are increasingly competing for access, influence, and resources.

Competing With Different Rules

Putin Africa Summit
Russian President Vladimir Putin with African leaders at the 2019 Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, October 24, 2019. (Photo by Sergei Chirikov/Pool via Reuters)

The U.S. has a vastly different approach to Africa than its competitors.