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Whether the United States Should Robustly Support Pan-African Organizations

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Research paper

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This monograph examines whether it should be U.S. policy to support pan-African sub-regional organizations that seek to have Africans help themselves. It analyzes one sub-regional organization, the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS, using the furtherance of American policy for peace in the region as a litmus test. ECOWAS guiding principles and record of accomplishment are highlighted relative to U.S. goals for Africa as promulgated in the National Security Strategy. The author argues that it is in the United States interest to support sub-regional organizations such as ECOWAS as a viable way to promote a self-sufficient Africa. A stable and prosperous Africa provides the conditions for political and economic growth and counters the incidence of failed states, which can serve as terrorist breeding grounds. It contrasts the sub-regional organization, ECOWAS, with the regional organization, the African Union AU, in terms of policies and performance and concludes that supporting sub-regional organizations offers a greater return on investment. Supporting a focused transnational organization such as ECOWAS is a rational strategy to symmetrically defeat a stateless foe such as al-Qaida. Finally, the author recommends that the United States provide financial and logistical support through third party organizations and nations that have existing working relationships with ECOWAS. It is in the national self-interest of the United States to promote democracy, safeguard human rights, and foster development in sub-Saharan Africa to promote a peaceful and pro-America region. Collaterally, there are compelling economic and humanitarian incentives to actively engaging African sub-regional organizations. In its assessment, the monograph not only considers ECOWAS policy and performance, but also its stability and the extent to which it is networked with other international organizations and sovereign states.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Unconventional Warfare

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