Friday, January 29, 2010

African conflicts and choices for U.S. diplomacy

The Center for Strategic and International Studies and the American Academy of Diplomacy co-hosted a conference on October 29, 2009, to examine the role of diplomacy in U.S. relations with Africa. The final report titled "African Conflicts and U.S. Diplomacy: Roles and Choices" (PDF file) appeared in January 2010. I made the presentation at the conference concerning the Horn of Africa. The participants concluded that the United States faces a far more competitive environment in Africa than in previous decades, with emerging powers — most notably China, India, Brazil and a number of smaller Asian states — making major political and economic plays, and with regional organizations, transnational influences and African civil societies asserting themselves more and more in national affairs. As a result, the United States will need to identify how best to use its influence in Africa, which policy areas and places it should prioritize and how to balance effectively the use of diplomatic, military, and developmental tools. The report picks out the major topics to emerge from the conference and presents a collage of the main opinions and the points of consensus that emerged. Click here to listen to a recording of the conference.

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