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Negotiations are not held in a vacuum. A nation that sits around the table without prior knowledge and appreciation of its own strengths and weaknesses in its counterpart’s mind has provided gaping holes in its negotiation armoury and is bound to come out with a bad deal.

A good deal depends on both an understanding of the cards in your hands and your opponent’s, and the skilful and strategic play of these cards. The first of these cards that the Ghanaian government must not fail to appreciate is the fact that Superpower America now sees West Africa as a zone of strategic importance – it’s no longer a question of just us needing them, but they now also need us.

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Furthermore, the U.S. is, understandably, bent on establishing a regional command for Africa, similar to U.S. Forces Korea, with a homeport situated on the African continent to protect their interests. West Africa is its natural home, given the need to protect energy interests in the Gulf of Guinea. Liberia has offered but simply cannot match the kind of convenience available in Ghana. It can be a win-win situation.

AFRICOM can protect U.S. investments in our region. But, those investments (regardless of our percentage share of ownership) are also fundamentally our investments – and thus the assistance in their protection will be a welcome boon. U.S. military presence can also help improve the level of military professionalism of our already well-respected troops. It is interesting to note that in the six decades since World War II in which America has maintained a military presence in other sovereign nations, none of the host nations has suffered instability or military takeovers, as the presence of U.S. troops helps entrench the subordination of soldiers to civil leadership. Moreover the presence of U.S. troops boosts social and economic activities in the host countries, too.

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This all points to the fact that the United States sees Ghana as having all the vital statistics and morphological features of a ‘natural’ ally. We have the oil reserves, we are in the stable centre of the ‘New Gulf’ and we have the military discipline and stable atmosphere to make us the perfect hosts for America’s first major military migration to our continent.

America is strategically placed to maintain and deepen its stronger footing here, ensuring it rather than China becomes our dominant ally. As one analyst confirmed, Washington has no interest in seeing China’s presence in Africa extended to Ghana. The fact, however, is that China is already here and the recent dealings between the Mills administration and the ruling Chinese Communist Party means the U.S. needs to act sooner rather than later.

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