Africa: Trends in U S Imperialism
THE U S INVOLVEMENT in Africa in economic as also politico-military terms has been deepening steadily since 1970. A number of factors or combination of factors have been cumulatively responsible for this development. To begin with, the wave of anti-imperialist struggles in different parts of Africa rocked the traditional colonial structures of the metropolitan powers of Europe after the Second World War and formally dismantled the colonial empires. Between the late fifties and the mid-seventies, a majority of the African countries achieved independent stateliood. The formal political independence of the new states and their emergence in the arena of world politics permitted the U S to establish direct rapport with them instead of seeking connections via any intermediary among its West European allies. Second, the relatively weaker position of its West European allies after decolonisation prompted the U S to put its best foot forward in integrating the continent of Africa within the world capitalist economy. Thus, US began to prop up pro-West regimes such as Zaire, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Sudan and Morocco, which welcomed free enterprise as a medium to promote developmental efforts. Third, the Soviet Union, one of the greatest rivals of Western capitalism, contiuned to widen its support in black Africa since 1960. Its persistent support to anti-imperialist and anti-racist crusades as also the African leaders' fascination for socialist models of development substantially contributed towards making the Soviet Union a force to be reckoned with in African affairs. The rise of Soviet backed movements such as the African National Congress (ANG) in South Africa, South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO) in Namibia and the Front for the Liberation ofSaguia El Hamaraand Rio de Oro (Polisario) in Western Saliara as well as the pro-Soviet regimes such as Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique and Congo-Brazzaville threatened to frustrate the neo-colonial designs of the erstwhile European colonial powers on the one hand and to arrest the possible expansionary ventures of the U S on the other. Cuba, a Soviet ally, joined the Soviets in an endeavour to challange the Western Powers and in consolidating the so-called socialist models in Angola, Mozambique and Ethiopia.
* Reader, Depaitment of Political Science, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad.