American Policy in Africa

Courtesy Reuters

The United States is far freer from commitments in Africa south of the Sahara than in any other region of the world. Everywhere else American policy operates in a setting of old-established friendships and understandings, supplemented in the postwar years by a network of alliances such as those creating NATO, CENTO and SEATO; and American bases are scattered about the globe. In Africa to an unprecedented degree the United States is not bound by established positions or traditions, by fixed agreements or vested interests. While in any given situation it may find itself hemmed in by extra-African considerations and by the particular circumstances of the case, it still has a unique freedom, indeed a necessity, constantly to create policies to meet the issues presented by what for American diplomacy is virtually a new continent.

Although the United States has long been associated with some parts of North Africa, it is

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