INAF-312 US-Africa Relations
Fall for 2010-2011
Before the end of the colonial period, the United States’ relationship with Africa was quite limited, as US policymakers were largely content to leave Africa to the European powers. During the Cold War, Africa’s importance to the US increased exponentially, when the continent became a site for superpower rivalry between the US and Soviet Union. In the post-Cold War period, policy toward Africa has undergone many changes: at various stages, US policymakers have been preoccupied with democracy promotion, humanitarian assistance, petroleum and wider economic interests, and recently, security cooperation and the war on terrorism. US presidents Clinton and Bush took a more active interest in Africa, and former President Carter has been a regular presence on the continent. Yet throughout the history of US-Africa relations, even the positive, promising rhetoric of recent administrations has seldom matched a reality characterized by occasionally contradictory and often controversial policies. What should we make of this history? If Africa truly is important to US interests, as recent presidents have stated, why has the US approach to the continent resulted in little change? Although “national interest” is a vital motivator of foreign policy decision making, how is the US national interest defined when it comes to Africa? Finally, how do U.S. policy decisions actually impact African states and African peoples? This course will explore these questions by looking at the broad scope of US-Africa relations from the 19^th century to the present.
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