Cassandara Rachel Veney, Ed. 2014. U.S.-Africa Relations: From Clinton to Obama

By Botlhale, Emmanuel | African Studies Quarterly, September 2015 | Go to article overview

Cassandara Rachel Veney, Ed. 2014. U.S.-Africa Relations: From Clinton to Obama


Botlhale, Emmanuel, African Studies Quarterly


Cassandara Rachel Veney, ed. 2014. U.S.-Africa Relations: From Clinton to Obama. Lanham, Boulder, New York, and London: Lexington Books. 200 pp.

Discussions on U.S.-Africa relations receive a lot of attention in the literature; see for example, Robert Waters' Historical Dictionary of United States-Africa Relations, Adebayo Oyebade's The United States' Foreign Policy in Africa in the 21st Century, and Donald Rothchild and Edmond Keller's Africa-US Relations: Strategic Encounters. Thus, whenever one comes across a new book on U.S.-Africa relations, one must ask: "what is its value-addition?" In this case, one needs to ask, '"does Veney add value to the literature?"

While U.S.-Africa relations have a long history as sufficiently instanced by Morocco becoming the first country to recognise United States in 1777 and the 1798-1808 period that saw approximately 200,000 African slaves brought to the United States, they assumed greater importance during the cold war, post-cold war period, and post-11 September 2011 attacks. At the same time, the US is facing stiff competition from China, India, and other members of the BRICS family such as Brazil and South Africa as well as Japan in what Padraig Carmody calls the "The New Scramble for Africa" (also the title of Carmody's 2011 book). All these factors, particularly 'the new scramble for Africa', mean that U.S.-Africa relations have to be re-defined least the US loses ground to emerging super competitors such as China (NB; during the 2000 presidential campaign, George Bush stated that China was a "strategic competitor," not a "strategic partner"). Following the tradition of books on U.S.-Africa relations, Veney's book explores U.S.-African political, economic, diplomatic and cultural relations. It uses various lenses: cold war, neo-liberal economic policies, the U.S. war on terrorism and the expansion of Africa's trading relations with Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, to refract the issue. The book argues that political, economic, diplomatic and cultural relations "... provide an opportunity and challenge for the United States to craft new economic and diplomatic initiatives toward Africa" (p. 1).

The book examines U.S.-Africa relations by focusing on U.S. relations with Africa's regional powers such as Nigeria, South Africa and Ethiopia. Relatedly, it discusses conflicts in the Great Lakes region and the Arab Spring in North Africa, particularly, Egypt. In addition, it discusses topical issues such as the siting of the U. …

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