chapter  4
32 Pages

The United States in the Horn of Africa, 1988–1994

WithFlavia Gasbarri

The chapter investigates the course of US foreign policy in the Horn of Africa in the aftermath of the 1988 watershed until 1994. It deals with the US mediation effort and military intervention in the civil wars that inflamed Ethiopia and Somalia after the resumption of the insurgencies in 1988. The chapter argues that the imperative linked to relations with the USSR was again one of the main guidelines that led the United States to become involved in Ethiopia. This involvement was in fact stimulated in part by the desire to cooperate with Moscow in resolving those regional conflicts in the Third World that had poisoned US-Soviet relations. On the other hand, the unprecedented US humanitarian military intervention in Somalia in 1992 became instead one of the first tests for US foreign policy in Africa in the “unipolar moment”. The failure of that intervention showed the challenges and contradictions in redefining US strategies and priorities in the region after the disappearance of the USSR.