Africa and the International System: The Politics of State by Christopher Clapham

By Christopher Clapham

African independence embarked on foreign politics a bunch of the world's poorest, weakest and such a lot synthetic states. How have such states controlled to outlive? To what volume is their survival now threatened? Christopher Clapham indicates how an in the beginning supportive overseas setting has develop into more and more threatening to African rulers and the states over which they preside. the writer finds how foreign conventions designed to uphold country sovereignty have frequently been appropriated and subverted by means of rulers to reinforce their family regulate, and the way African states were undermined via guerrilla insurgencies and using diplomacy to serve primarily deepest ends.

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Sample text

Armed conflicts resulting from the failure of decolonisation required the warring parties to seek help from outside allies, and often induced a level of militarisation which was extremely difficult to reverse. Such conflicts often extended across artificial frontiers, into the territories of neighbouring states. Though the decolonisation settlements might plausibly be regarded as bringing African states into the global order under the subordinate status established by colonial rule, the absence of a post-colonial settlement created still more problematic relationships between newly independent states and the international system.

The option of an 'autonomous7 independent state, not heavily reliant on any significant external relationship, was simply not available. Both the search for new relationships, and the forms which such relationships took, made them more likely to generate international conflict than the maintenance of the old connection with the former colonial regime. Alliance with one or other of the superpowers, for example, almost automatically brought the African state concerned, and also very often its neighbours, into global structures of competition.

Each of them - Ethiopia under Emperor Haile-Selassie, Liberia under the True Whig Party oligarchy, and South Africa under the National Party's apartheid regime - had an elitist and exploitative domestic power structure, which was threatened by the surge in political participation among its neighbours, and the installation of regimes which depended on popular suffrage. The two northern governments, most notably Ethiopia, sought by swift diplomatic footwork to establish good relations with the emerging independent states, on terms which insulated them so far as possible from demands to apply to their own territories the principles of self-determination which were^being implemented elsewhere.

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