Past failures undermine the credibility of U.N. peacekeeping missions in Africa and demonstrate the struggles experienced by the blue-helmets are caused by both the context in which they operate and a long process of transition towards new forms of peacekeeping that contradict their core principles.
Taken as a whole, this work offers a critical means to analyze coup success and introduces a layer of analysis that has been greatly needed. Above all his work underscores the need for scholars to work harder at differentiating between the motivation behind a coup and the probability of its tactical success.
Despite progress since the height of Boko Haram in 2014, this violent extremist organization remains a significant threat to Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region. The eight-year conflict is now responsible for over 20,000 deaths, and the large-scale humanitarian crisis is on the verge of famine status. Nigeria’s long-term success is critically important to the United States in the strategic battleground of the African continent. Both the evolving Boko Haram threat and the decreasing patience of war-weary regional allies suggests a revitalized strategy is needed.
We are in a heady age for nonsense about African state institutions. Portland State University political scientist Bruce Gilley launched a firestorm recently with his analytically incoherent article “The Case for Colonialism,” arguing colonial institutions produced better outcomes than post-colonial ones have and most who lived under those institutions think so. In my area of research, Mozambique, the World Bank added its own voice to the chorus of nonsense, announcing that it now considers the country to be in a “fragile situation” for the first time. The newfound fragility came as news to Mozambicans, who have seen their country rocked by both renewed civil conflict and massive financial scandal in the past three years but are now in the midst of a seemingly durable ceasefire and a slow but steady economic recovery. Western misconceptions about how African states actually function are as widespread now as they’ve ever been, even as Western engagement in Africa continues to grow.
McCain has usefully drawn our attention to a case that teaches by negative example. In the same way that the United States thought that anti-terrorism operations in Southwest Asia and Africa would contribute to strategic victory in the global war on terrorism, South African leaders believed that that the use of highly trained and mobile forces in operations against Cuban forces and insurgents would ensure the survival of white majority rule and domination over Namibia. The end result demonstrates the difficulty of devising a grand strategy in the face of great uncertainty and flux.
Within lies both the necessary pragmatism with which a practitioner must approach thinking about African wars, but also the necessary idealism of “African Solutions to African Problems,” which is what Barlow ultimately desires. If only as a way to frame the conversation about the nature of intervention in Africa, the significance of the book moves from useful to indispensable.
The waning weeks of 2016 and the first month of 2017 witnessed one of the most strategically effective uses of military force in the 21st century. When long-time President of the Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, refused to step down after being voted out of office, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sponsored a Senegalese-led intervention that forced Jammeh to leave the country. This intervention upheld the integrity of the Gambian democratic process and allowed the victor, Adama Barrow, to assume leadership of the small West African country. The ECOWAS intervention force assembled the means to impose its will on their opponent, formulated and executed a strategy calibrated to achieve the political effects desired, and achieved all of its policy goals--all without firing a single shot.
Sub-Saharan Africa’s civil aviation industry represents a potential bright spot in a region facing several economic challenges...However, regional policymakers, airline carriers, and international aviation regulators must address numerous security, safety, and governance challenges if this potential is to be more fully realized.
Robert Mugabe — the 90-year-old despot, long time leader of Zimbabwe, and recently selected African Union chairman — takes every opportunity he can to deride the U.S. He has spoken out against the ‘imperialist’ U.S. throughout Africa and on the stage of the UN. The quintessential autocratic dictator remains a pesky thorn in our side. For many, the fact that he remains in power represents a failure of U.S. policy. While his existence may not be palatable to the western world writ large, a well-developed U.S strategy has limited his nefarious behavior and caused his influence to dwindle. He has been reduced to a silly old man spending his remaining years criticizing what he calls American imperialism. U.S. policy towards Zimbabwe, with no military force, and very little assets, has neutralized him. In an age of limited resources, U.S. policy towards Zimbabwe provides a blueprint for containing rogue states.