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Deploying Development to Counter Terrorism: Post-9/11 Transformation of U.S. Foreign Aid to Africa

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 October 2013

Abstract:

Since September 11, 2001, the aid component of American foreign policy toward Africa has undergone a significant evolution: U.S. security has come to rival development as an increasingly explicit rationale. Development programming and project implementation now contain a security dimension that is underpinned by Pentagon strategists working through AFRICOM as much as by USAID officers partnering with the State Department. This article argues that given the potential of terrorism for undermining development in Africa itself, soft counterterrorism should be envisioned as a strategic developmental defense activity. Making use of unpublished country risk assessments and the author's participant observation during USAID field mission consultancies in the Sahel, as well as the scholarly literature and relevant policy documents of the Bush and Obama administrations, this article explores the new agenda and grassroots dynamics of development projects as tools for terrorism prevention. It contends that policy and institutional responses to 9/11 have resulted in a greater convergence of operational goals among U.S. government agencies that in the past, at least according to publicly stated goals, had pursued distinctly different missions in Africa. Normative implications of this change are mixed. Because of differing expectations with respect to separation of powers, African public opinion, paradoxically, may be more sympathetic to U.S. military engagement with civilians for developmental purposes than American public opinion is.

Résumé:

Résumé:

Depuis le 11 septembre 2001, la politique étrangère d'aide humanitaire des États-Unis en Afrique a encouru des changements considérables: sa politique de sécurité nationale a commencé à rivaliser avec sa politique de développement de plus en plus ouvertement. La programmation de développement et l'implémentation des projets contiennent désormais une dimension sécuritaire soutenue autant par les stratèges du Pentagone oeuvrant via AFRICOM que par les responsables d'USAID travaillant conjointement avec le gouvernement. Cet essai soutient qu'étant donné la capacité du terrorisme à compromettre le développement en Afrique même, des mesures modérées de contre-terrorisme devraient être envisagées pour constituer une activité stratégique défensive de développement. En utilisant des évaluations nationales de risques terroristes non publiées, les observations de l'auteur lors de sa participation à des missions USAID de conseil sur le terrain au Sahel, et la documentation érudite et politique de l'administration des présidents Bush et Obama, cet article explore le nouvel agenda et les dynamiques populaires des projets de développement utilisés comme armes préventives contre le terrorisme. Cet article soutient que les réactions institutionnelles et politiques à l'attentat de 9/11 ont engendré une convergence plus grande que dans le passé entre les objectifs opérationnels parmi les agences gouvernementales américaines qui, au moins selon les objectifs publiés, avaient poursuivi jusque-là des missions complètement différentes en Afrique. Les implications normatives de ce changement sont mixtes. À cause des attentes différentes concernant la séparation des pouvoirs, l'opinion publique en Afrique, paradoxalement, est peut-être plus favorable que l'opinion publique aux États-Unis à l'engagement militaire des Américains auprès des civils pour des enjeux de développement.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © African Studies Association 2012

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