chapter  9
14 Pages

Rethinking U.S.–Africa security relations: The lessons

ByGEORGE KLAY KIEH, JR.

During the Cold War, African states were used as pawns by both the U.S. and the Soviet Union in their epic competition for global hegemony. The ubiquity of the Cold War shaped and conditioned the U.S.’s bilateral security relations with various African states. On a continent that was adorned with authoritarian regimes, the U.S. contradicted its pro-democracy rhetoric by establishing asymmetrical, neo-colonial, and paternalistic relationships with some of Africa’s most repressive regimes-Mobutu (Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Barre (Somalia), Arap Moi (Kenya), Doe (Liberia), and Mubarak (Egypt). The ostensible purpose of these relationships was to use these regimes and the strategic assets of their various states to advance the U.S.’s national interests. Overall, as Boni Yao Gebe aptly observes, “the Cold War period was counter-productive to Africa’s long-term interests, and did not promote regional security in terms of the foundations for political stability, peace and economic development.”1