Peace and security implications of American military presence in Africa: the case of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM).
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This study analyses the peace and security implications of an American military presence in Africa with particular focus on the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM). The problem was that AFRICOM was created by the USA without consulting any African state. This raised a lot of suspicion about the US motive since the relationship between the US and African states had previously been one were the US was associated with the assassination of African government leaders, the violent and illegal removal of African governments, the support of opposition parties at the expense of ruling parties and interference in African governance. The study sought to identify the rationale for AFRICOM‘s establishment, unpack the reasons and strategies used by America in penetrating the African continent, examine AFRICOMs effectiveness in enhancing regional peace and security in Africa and analyse the challenges and implications of US operations in Africa. The study utilised qualitative methodology coupled with documentary search and in-depth interviews with key informants. The study is based on the power theory with particular emphasis on smart power. Findings show that despite its military might, the US opted to use all its smart power tools at its disposal such as military, civilians and diplomacy to ensure its entry and acceptance in Africa. This resulted in a unified force called AFRICOM whose organogram include military, civilians and diplomats. Its primary occupation is to protect US interests in Africa such as the fight against terrorism, ensure safety of Americans in Africa, guarantee safe exploitation and repatriation of natural resources to the US, and to counter Chinese influence in Africa. Findings also showed that the US is making a positive impact in assisting African governments in form of humanitarian aid, drought relief, fight against diseases such as Ebola, HIV, military hardware, and training exercises. This positive impact is however, overshadowed by the negative peace and security implications of hosting AFRICOM that include an increase in terrorist activities, political interference, rise in insecurity of African workers following company closures and dependence by African militaries on US assistance. The study also highlights that despite AFRICOM making inroads in its being established in Africa, the African people and their governments would rather work with the US from a distance. Generally, the study indicates that the hosting of AFRICOM on African soil has negative implications on African peace and security. It is therefore recommended that African states should speak with one voice in their dealings with the international world; the US should try to understand issues from an African perspective before prescribing a solution to a problem and that African states should avoid hosting military component of AFRICOM.
The University of Zambia
SubjectUnited States. Africa Command.
Military assistance, American--Africa.
United States--Military relations--Africa.
Africa--Military relations--United States.
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