Ten Reasons why United States Intervenes in Political Crisis in African Countries: Survey Throughout its timeline as a superpower i.e. when it shared the title with the USSR and now as sole super power, United States has intervened in the affairs of other countries in several ways including militarily…
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Africa has received its fair share of US military influence in times of humanitarian emergencies and during the race for supremacy against the USSR. US military activities have in recent times taken three courses. The first being a direct approach through the US military outfit AFRICOM (Warner 6), military support through the American-led African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI) (Omach 73) and lastly, in conjunction with other countries such as the recent intervention into Libya through NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) (Shah 2011). US military involvement in Africa is a subject of much debate due to a number of factors. This study will analyze the reasons for US military intervention in Africa as put forth in literature and opinions before establishing a hypothesis to be tested through a survey to determine the reasons behind US military intervention. One of the reasons that the US has strongly used to justify or legitimize its military intervention in Africa is for the purposes of humanitarian aid. On several occasions, African states have degenerated into chaos and civil crisis with governments unable to protect their citizens such as Somalia and Comoros (Ramuhala 1). In my view, this explanation does not stand scrutiny since the US failed to intervene in Rwanda where genocide unfolded. In other instances, the US has intervened using military force in a bid to protect its own national security due to the advent of terrorism. African states may provide fertile grounds for terrorism breeding in two ways; direct support to terrorists or poor law enforcement. Libya, Somalia and Sudan have all been observed to train and facilitate terrorist activities such as Al Qaeda cells (Carafano and Gardina 3). This appears as a strong reason behind military intervention in Africa. Critiques of US military intervention in other countries including in Africa point out that it does so solely for own interests especially for the vast African resources. Political turbulence in the Middle East are shifting the attention of the US and other economic powers to African oil resources, with Dixon (2007) arguing that humanitarian intervention through military action is just a scapegoat for the US. I believe this is a strong reason especially in light of the fact that the US failed to intervene in Rwanda, the reason being lack of US national interests. A reason related to the previous one is based on global economic dominance. China, India and a resurgent Russia have made advances into Africa and placed themselves in a good position to gain access to important resources. Specifically, China has emerged as a strong challenger to the US. Africa is a key player in global economics, and the US uses military intervention whenever they get the opportunity to counter such competition (Dixon 2007). This to me appears to be a plausible explanation since the US position, as an economic superpower, is clearly under threat from the likes of China. Besides economic hegemony, the US is interested in maintaining its position as the world’s sole superpower, which involves diplomatic means, aid and economic partnerships. However, this objective may be pursued through military intervention in African states where political upheavals may be precipitated to dispose uncooperative governments, or cooperative governments supported against rebelling elements seen as not sharing similar ideologies to the US (Wright 2011). This is also a strong explanation since it was clearly at play during the Cold War. The US may also take advantage of political crises in Africa to accomplish revenge or removal of enemy governments from power. It is well documented that the US has on several occasions tried to remove Muammar Gaddafi
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