African Security and the African Command: Viewpoints on the US Role in Africa

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9781565494138: African Security and the African Command: Viewpoints on the US Role in Africa

After the end of the Cold War and a failed mission in Somalia, the US decided to wash its hands of major military operations in Africa. Within the past few years, however, strategic interests in the region have grown, based largely on the threat of international terrorist group activities there. In 2007, the Bush Administration created a new military presence in Africa, AFRICOM (United States Africa Command), professed to be based not on occupying military or fixed bases, but rather on capacity building for and collaboration with African security forces.

Some see AFRICOM as the answer to an African security system crippled by a lack of resources, widespread politicization and institutional weakness. Others claim the program is nothing more than a characteristic attempt by the US to secure its own interests in the region without regard to the actual needs of Africans. A variety of viewpoints on the debate, both from the US and Africa, come together in this collection to examine the objectives and activities of AFRICOM. The result provides the reader with a well-rounded picture of longstanding security challenges in Africa and what might be done to address them.

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About the Author:

Terry Buss is distinguished professor of public policy at the Heinz College of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University, Adelaide, Australia.

Louis Picard is Professor in the Division of International Development, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh.

Joseph Adjaye is Professor of Africana Studies, History and Public and International Affairs and Director of the African Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh. Professor Adjaye specializes in African and Diasporan affairs, history and cultures. He is a recipient of numerous grants and awards including Fulbright awards and the NEH, and is the author of dozens of articles and several books on Africa and the Caribbean, including the award-winning Diplomacy and Diplomats in 19th Century Asante. Adjaye has given over 400 invited lectures and presentations on campuses and in cities across the US and around the world.

Donald Goldstein is Professor of International Affairs and Interim Director of the Mathew B. Ridgeway Center for International Security in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh. His areas of study include military history, public administration, political science, arms control, national interest and national security, theory and practice of international affairs, foreign policy process, international relations, administrative theory. He is the author of many books on the Second World War, Korea and related areas of military history.

Review:

"With 18 academic and practictioner contributors covering 13 chapters, the book provides a wide set of Africa-relevant themes: U.S. interagency imbalances, Al-Qaeda in Africa, private security contractors, small arms proliferation, Chinese inroads and the scramble for the continent's resources, to name just a few. I recommend it to academics, policymakers, and military and interagency professionals with a focus on Africa security, politics and development."

"This volume contains 13 papers debating issues of African security development and the US military's African Command (AFRICOM), which was initiated by the George W. Bush administration in 2007. The papers include papers arguing the value of AFRICOM for African security and development, if offering advice on how certain elements can be better balanced, such as between diplomacy, development, and "defense," as well as a few papers giving voice to the frequently skeptical views of Africans, many of whom believe the US to not be particularly interested in the well-being, as opposed to resources, of Africans. Other topics addressed within the context of these debates are China's role in Africa, energy issues, the role of private contractors in African security policy, so-called "counterterrorism" policy in the Horn of Africa, small-arms proliferation, al-Qaeda "affiliated" groups in Africa, and the Obama administration's possible approach to future AFRICOM policy."

“This book is one of very positive outcomes of the AFRICOM debate; a debate that has raised serious questions about the role of the US military in Africa, the unequal balance among the 'three Ds' (Diplomacy, Defense and Development) and the meaning of 'African security' (military needs versus human needs). This scholarly and easy-to-read collection provides insights into the origins of the Africa Command, the arguments used by parties on both sides of the debate, and the complexities of the ever-changing African security landscape. Best of all, the book offers well-researched policy proposals on how the U.S. Government, including AFRICOM, can work more effectively with African partners in addressing Africa's urgent security needs -- a remarkable book that says it all.”

"Offers a remarkably thorough, scholarly, topical and captivating analysis of America’s military policy and options regarding security issues in Africa. Every imaginable aspect of Africa’s political, economic and social context that helps to explain Africa’s current security weaknesses is subject to intense scrutiny from a multiplicity of perspectives. In-depth dissection of America’s military institutions and agencies involved in African security affairs – and the military role played by the U.S. in Africa to date – is followed by enlightening critiques of America’s current military policies. The book chapters are characterized by thought-provoking, intriguing and creative policy options so that America henceforth plays a constructive role not only in securing political stability but also economic growth in Africa. This study opens a new field of analysis linking American military policy with Africa’s development, and is a must read for anyone interested in U.S. foreign policy, African governance, and global security."

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