Sovereignty as Responsibility: Conflict Management in Africa

By Francis M. Deng; Sadikiel Kimaro et al. | Go to book overview

6
International Actors

DURING the cold war confrontations of the 1970s and 1980s, the United States and the Soviet Union were critical actors on the African scene, intervening directly or indirectly in many of Africa's conflicts. At times, as in Angola, these interventions exacerbated the struggle on the ground between the army and insurgent forces. However, with the waning of adversarial relations between the great powers and their adoption of more pragmatic perceptions of each other's intentions in the late 1980s, the situation changed dramatically. At that point, the great powers, with enormous political and economic resources at their disposal, were in an advantageous position to cooperate in settling regional conflicts. But in the next phase of the evolution of world politics, that cooperation too has waned, as Russia sees less reason for interaction with Africa, and with that the United States has lost some of its interest as well.

It is important to explore the implications of this shift in great power roles for the management of conflict in Africa. In the changing world context of the 1990s, Africa has little choice but to confront a wide variety of clashes on the continent and to do so increasingly on its own. In Francis Deng's words, the "aggravating external factor" had been removed, but so had "the moderating role of the superpowers, both as third parties and as mutually neutralizing allies." 1 Given Africa's resource constraints, who can assume the mantle of peacemaker when state actors fail to govern responsibly? There are certainly many skillful African diplomats and intermediaries ready to take on a variety of management activities. However, mediatory skill is not likely in itself to prove sufficient to bring about a return to routinized politics. Skill must be complemented with leverage in order to overcome the stalemates that plague many conflict situations and to push the process

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Sovereignty as Responsibility: Conflict Management in Africa
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Publications of the Brookings Institution's Conflict Resolution in Africa Project ii
  • Title Page iii
  • The Brookings Institution v
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Normative Framework of Sovereignty 1
  • 2 - Governance 34
  • 3 - Identity 61
  • 4 - Economics 93
  • 5 - Regional Dynamics 131
  • 6 - International Actors 168
  • 7 - Conclusion 211
  • Index 255
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