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The Iraqization of Africa? Looking at AFRICOM from a South African Perspective

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The South African government has openly expressed its opposition towards the creation of the U.S. Africa Command AFRICOM. Whats more, South Africa presents its position on AFRICOM as representative of the country as a whole, but particularly on behalf of a group of African countries -- the Southern African Development Community SADC -- that holds an aversive stance towards U.S. plans in this regard. This does not represent a radical change in South Africas ruling African National Congresss ANC general policy stance towards the United States over the last 10 or more years. While this is not the place to dissect South Africas policy towards the United States in general, it is important to ask critical questions about the legitimacy of the South African governments position -- and that of some other African countries -- towards AFRICOM. This discussion is an effort to examine some of the considerations that underpin this skepticism about U.S. motives towards Africa. The U.S. military has to overcome a number of obstacles in the creation of AFRICOM, both in Africa and the United States. On one side of the Atlantic, the United States has to deal with an aggressive, militarized image of U.S. foreign policy linked to the history of unsustainable U.S. military involvement. This image is rooted in a very real fear in certain parts of Africa that it may become the victim of Iraqization. This undermines U.S. military credibility and makes it a legitimate target. On the other side of the Atlantic, given the bad publicity of the U.S. military in Africa in the past, the Somalia syndrome may still dictate U.S. military thinking and attitudes. The article is divided into the following sections Is This Something Mutually Beneficial Difficulty of Understanding the U.S. Politico-Military Bureaucracy Providing Military Support to Africa and Confronting African Challenges.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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