Despite its impressive logistics, the army makes only a marginal contribution to international disaster relief—and often makes things worse. Nor do soldiers “fight” pathogens—and the language of warfare risks turning infected people and their caretakers into objects of fear and stigma. But, because of America’s politics of public finance, the army is the only tool we have. If civilian health programs were properly funded, they could have prevented the disaster.Continue Reading →
How did perhaps the most reviled African head of state of his generation manage to rehabilitate himself as a statesman? This act of political escapism—a “stay out of jail free” card—is the greatest accomplishment of former Blaise Compaoré, former president of Burkina Faso. A more appropriate title for him—and one that better captures his ability [...]Continue Reading →
International peacekeeping operations are deployed to complicated and troubled places. Often, reliable information is scarce, rumors and poorly-founded allegations are common, and interpretation of events is highly politicized. Recent controversies around what is going on in Darfur illuminate the need for much better data.
A former UN official, Aicha Elbasri, has made much-publicized allegations that [...]Continue Reading →
Memorandum prepared for the WPF’s seminar held 12 – 13 June, 2014: “The Political Marketplace”: Developing a Framework for Addressing the Real Politics of Coercion and Corruption. Memo also available as a pdf: Political Marketplace_de Waal.
This memorandum is intended to serve as an introduction to the framework of the “political marketplace,” [...]Continue Reading →
Fifteen years ago, when African leaders set up their own peace and security system within what later became the African Union, they tried to balance diplomacy and armed enforcement. In case of a conflict, they would hold negotiations with all parties; sending in peacekeeping troops would only be a fallback option. But Western countries like the United States and France have tended to favor military approaches instead. During the civil war in Libya in 2011, a panel of five African presidents, established by the African Union and chaired by Jacob Zuma of South Africa, proposed letting Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi go into exile in an African country and then setting up an interim government. But the plan was spurned by NATO, which preferred regime change by way of foreign intervention.Continue Reading →
Alex de Waal has published a newly released article in African Affairs, “When kleptocracy becomes insolvent: Brute causes of the civil war in South Sudan.” Below is the abstract, full text available through the journal:
South Sudan obtained independence in July 2011 as a kleptocracy – a militarized, corrupt neo-patrimonial system of governance. By the [...]Continue Reading →
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