Africa Policy in Obama's Second Administration: From Sudan to Mali to DRC

By Cohen, Herman J. | Stability Operations, January/February 2013 | Go to article overview

Africa Policy in Obama's Second Administration: From Sudan to Mali to DRC


Cohen, Herman J., Stability Operations


UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY worldwide has always suffered from the syndrome that I call, "we don't want to get involved, but we can't stay out." This applied to both Republican and Democratic administrations, and to all continents.

A good example in Africa was the long 30-year Sudanese civil war between the Arab government in Khartoum and the Southern Peoples Liberation Movement. During the 1980s and 1990s, the US regarded this war as essentially a humanitarian issue. When George W. Bush became President in 2001, he decided to begin a comprehensive and vigorous mediation effort that led to a peace treaty in 2005, and the final separation into two separate states in 201 1 . What happened? Bush was under heavy pressure from his political base to do something to save the mainly Christian population of south Sudan from the horrors of Khartoum's scorched earth policy.

During his first four years, Obama did an excellent job of refraining from taking charge of Africa's crises. He did make sure that his administration kept up the momentum in Sudan generated by his predecessor right through to the separation into two states. And even after that momentous moment in 2011, the US has maintained two special representatives to assist the two parties to solve ongoing tensions in the south and in the province of Darfur. But this is anticlimactic. Bush did the real job.

But, apart from Sudan, Obama managed to keep the US from taking charge of major crises in Africa during his first four years. But that does not mean the US has been totally uninvolved.

In Somalia, where African troops, under the auspices of the African Union, have been fighting the al-Shebab jihad Islamists connected to el-Qaeda, the US has been providing money, training and intelligence. But the US role has been very low key.

The US role in regime change in Libya in 201 1 was more prominent in that we insisted on international action to stop Gaddhafi from committing genocide in Cyrenaica , his eastern province. In this case, the administration coined the term, "leading from behind." We were pushing the international community to act, but when the action started, we could not avoid playing a supporting role behind France, Italy, and the UK. The complexity of implementing a "no fly zone" turned out to require more direct US involvement that we had anticipated.

There has been a major crisis in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo since mis2012, with army mutineers wreaking havoc on the population of North Kivu, and neighboring regimes pillaging the province's vast mineral resources. The American role in the DRC has been the least proactive in history. We have been hiding inside the UN Security Council, and we have been encouraging sub-regional solutions. The DRC is one quagmire we seem to be avoiding like the plague.

What is facing President Obama in Africa as he enters his second term?

Historically, our highest priority in Africa has always been economic development. Every administration has emphasized this. Obama was wise to maintain Bush's two main programs: PEPFAR to combat HIV, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation to provide significant extra support to governments making a serious effort to reform their economies and their governance.

In addition, Obama needs to continue, or even beef up, his own program called "Feed the Future." With Chinese and Indians growing their economies at fast rates, their food consumption will be increasing rapidly. Couple this phenomenon with droughts in Africa and the USA, and we will be witnessing high world food prices indefinitely. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Africa Policy in Obama's Second Administration: From Sudan to Mali to DRC
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.