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Professor Nsia-Pepra Presents Paper on U.S. Foreign Policy toward Africa

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dr Kofi Nsia-Pepra on November 6, 2010 presented a paper titled ‘America’s Militarized Foreign Policy in Africa- Backlash to Its Strategic Interests” at the International Studies Association Midwest Conference in St Louis, Missouri. The paper examined the inherent contradictions in US foreign policy of pursuing its idealist goals using realist mechanisms and the effects on its strategic interests on the African continent.

The paper argued that the US assumes that it can promote its objectives by securing human rights, human dignity, and international justice by advancing the respect of rule of law. However, instead of employing liberal mechanisms to achieve such idealistic ends, America employs realist mechanisms, especially the use of military force, to achieve its putative liberal goals, thereby undermining the attainment of those liberal ends.

In the post 9/11 era, America’s heightened, but selective, military involvement in Africa in the pursuit of its strategic interests has backfired due in large part to the inherent contradiction between the use of realist means to achieve liberal ends. To meet its strategic goals on the continent, it would be prudent for America to deemphasize “hard power” and heighten “soft power” in its foreign policy.