March 21st 2013
African International Politics
Failure of Organizations
Throughout modern history, Western powers such as the United States and Europe have always assisted weaker nations in order for those countries to maintain internal stability and external relations with other nations. Most often, Western powers to aid states with failing democratic systems or nations that are strategic allies in certain regions of the world. For Western powers, it is important to promote the ideals of Democracy, and assist other nations deemed as crucial to Democracy’s development. Democracies and its expansion are vital for several reasons Democratic nations foster ...view middle of the document...
The West’s interest in Africa dates back to the late 19th century, where European powers openly engaged in major territorial scramble in order to control as much as Africa as possible. With each European nation vying for hegemonic status within Africa, it allowed for the integration of both European and African cultures. Several imperialist countries, such as France, Britain, Portugal, and Belgium created borders based on Euro-national lines, instead the more natural tribal lines. The newly drawn borders would eventually pose as a problem for African nations in the future. However, the author of Bismarck, Europe and Africa: The Berlin Africa Conference, 1884-1885, and the Onset of Partition, asserts that initially the partition was tremendously beneficial for the Western powers. The author rights this on the situation, “successful partition of their own: diplomatic, economic, ideological and legal aspects of the Conference are covered, as are the national interests of Germany, Britain, France, Belgium, Portugal and the United States.” As alluded to earlier this harmony did not last within Africa. Once the Western states began to relinquish their imperialist grip over Africa, the seemingly well drawn out borders were now a major source of conflict. The borders were drawn along the lines of Western nations as opposed to tribal communities and their members. Essentially the borders now spilt tribes between countries. The borders did not help foster any sort of nationalistic pride for the newly independent African states because many Africans still allied with their tribes.
Africa as continent has had an exceptionally sporadic history in terms of its stability. There are periods in its history where the continent is stable and others where civil war is rampant throughout many countries. Referring to the aforementioned theory of Western involvement, or lack there of, a prime example to analyze is Somalia, a country rated number one on Fund For Peace’s failed state index. Similar to other nations within Africa, Somalia has a troubled history. Starting in the late 1980’s, Western powers, specifically the United States are in diplomatic contact with Somalia, and is even supporting it monetarily and militaristically. This newfound support from the United States allowed for the Somali government to amass a particularly large military presence in comparison to other African nations. According to a Washington Post article the author quotes the amount the United States provided Somalia was approximately 700 million dollars, in order combat Soviet influence. Despite the new relations between Somalia and the United States, the impending Somali Civil War will permanently change the landscape and relationship between the two countries. This is the beginning of the West, particularly the United States deserting its interests in Sub-Saharan Africa and the rise of ineffective regional organizations that are still in place today.
One of the most significant...