Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Jennifer Taw

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Rights Information

© 2014 Carolyn S. Lenderts


This paper aims to examine the nature and major causes of American foreign policy in Africa since the end of the Cold War. Among these is a tendency to view African states, threats, and crises in terms of American strategic interests, not as events with independent relevance to American priorities. The post-9/11 fervor muddled many important distinctions about the relationship between African states, state power, and international terrorist groups. The United States acted too quickly, helping African states militarize without understanding the nature of the threat and the way in which a heavily militarized response would entrench rebel groups. Seeing Africa as tangential to the larger issue of terrorism led to policies that were ineffective and counterproductive. The success of future foreign policy towards Africa depends on careful consideration of the aims and motives of various actors and strong focus on good governance efforts.