America’s Tyrant: The CIA and Mobutu of Zaire
By Sean Kelly
American University Press, 1993, 273 pp.
This lively book by a retired Voice of America journalist recounts the shameful 30-year saga of U.S. support for Mobutu, drawing on interview material and unpublished documents in the presidential libraries of Kennedy, Johnson, and Ford, as well as on the extensive existing literature on postcolonial Zaire. Zaire watchers will not find a great deal that is new here, however, and policy watchers may be disappointed at how little the author has actually unearthed about the processes in Washington that produced a foreign policy record as dismal as this one. Mobutu, dubbed an African Caligula by some, remains shadowy as a personality, and the American role in subsidizing him via the World Bank and the IMF is barely mentioned.