chapter
7 Pages

Conclusion

WithFlavia Gasbarri

The chapter draws conclusions with regard to the two questions posed by the book: when and how did the Cold War end in Africa and what impact did this process have on US foreign policy in this area of the Third World?

As for the first question, the book identifies 1988 as the watershed year that marked the beginning of the collapse of the Cold War paradigm in Africa. Due to the scope of the events and of the regional and international dynamics that happened in the continent in 1988, this year can be considered for Africa what 1989 was for Europe. As for the second question, the book argues that US foreign policy in Africa after 1988 was characterized by a complex interaction between two different and coexisting themes: on the one hand the need to manage the legacy of the Cold War, on the other the need to face new challenges and imperatives and to find a new approach for Washington’s involvement on the continent. US strategy in Africa was more consistent and committed for as long as the first theme (managing the legacy of the Cold War) still offered a guideline. As such, the collapse of the USSR in 1991 was another important turning point for US foreign policy in Africa. After the disappearance of the other global actor, and as a new international system shaped by just one superpower was emerging, discrepancies in US action became more evident, showing the difficulties in finding new general rules of conduct in an area where the end of the Cold War had removed an important, overall strategic imperative.