An Application of Strategic Culture Concepts in U.S.-African Foreign Policy: Mutual Understanding Can Yield Mutual Interests
MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLL QUANTICO VA
Pagination or Media Count:
Recent adaptations in policy indicate that Africa has become a U.S. national interest. Consequently, global speculation has ignited over interests in a continent that the U.S. has ignored for so long. A myriad of explanations for American interests in Africa have surfaced to spread political freedom that will yield improvements in economic and social development to fight terrorism and transnational threats abroad and to capitalize on the economic potential of the oil and resource-rich region. Regardless of the motive, the U.S. adjustment in its foreign policy has been fraught with African apprehension and speculation. By analyzing the perspectives and perceptions of U.S. strategic culture, the notions of American exceptionalism versus American exploitation continually clash. The U.S. has historically wrestled with reconciling and communicating the divergent perceptions of America as either an ideological city on the hill or a selfish exploitive state. If not properly addressed, the current dissonance between the American views of its strategic cultural identity and African interpretation of U.S. strategic culture could lead to the failure of established foreign policy. African leaders have developed an attitude of indignation and skepticism regarding American intentions on the continent, based upon hundreds of years of political manipulation, social disregard, and resourceeconomic exploitation by Western states. American leaders must understand that Africas historical relationships with Westerners have led to perilous situations, eliciting a justified cause for suspicion and antagonism.
- Government and Political Science