Carr on Piombo, ‘The US Military in Africa: Enhancing Security and Development’

AFRICOM, Global War on Terror, Military, Security  |  03.23.18   By admin

U.S. Soldiers assigned to the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) Communications Directorate and members of the Djibouti Armed Forces

It may be stated that the US defense establishment rediscovered the African continent after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC. The end of the Cold War changed the dynamic between the United States and many African countries as US foreign engagement with the continent retrenched. Whereas the United States had provided substantial military and economic support to allied countries in an effort to counter the Soviet Union’s presence on the continent, the Cold War’s conclusion ended the need for those arrangements. In addition, the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone that began in 1989 and 1991 respectively, coupled with the loss of US servicemen in Somalia and the genocide in Rwanda, gave credence to Robert Kaplan’s controversial exposition entitled “The Coming Anarchy.” Kaplan’s article had a profound effect on the US foreign policy establishment, such that President Bill Clinton ordered the US State Department to disseminate it to all US embassies. It could be argued that sentiments such as these contributed to the reluctance of the United States to engage substantially with Africa after the Berlin Wall fell. Sounding the alarm on what he perceived as the dawn of unparalleled instability and chaos in the global South, Kaplan invoked stereotypes of Africa as the dark continent. His imagery of sub-Saharan Africa depicted a savage and dangerous place where notions of “civilization” had collapsed.[1] Continue reading »

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