Rethinking U.S. Africa Policy Amid Changing Geopolitical Realities (Spring 2024)

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2024

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Texas National Security Review

Abstract

Since 2020, Africa has seen more political unrest, violent extremism, and democratic reversals than any other region in the world. A wave of coups has washed across the Sahel and West Africa, leaving authoritarians in power in numerous countries. In addition, the continent has served as a stage for the escalating great-power competition between China, Russia, and the United States. U.S. engagement with Africa has long been deprioritized in Washington, with successive administrations devoting scant attention and resources to advancing democracy and resolving conflicts. Thus far, the Biden administration has maintained this pattern, which reflects the persistent tension between an interests-based and values-based U.S. foreign policy. Nevertheless, there are a few actions the United States can take to reinvigorate democracy and stabilize the region, such as emphasizing development and diplomacy over military responses and stepping up cooperation with allies and partners to reduce the influence of China and Russia.

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