In This Review

African Conflict Resolution: The U.S. Role in Peacemaking
African Conflict Resolution: The U.S. Role in Peacemaking
Edited by David R. Smock and Chester A. Crocker
U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 1995, 163 pp

An overview of America's actions and options in promoting peace in Africa. The contributors propose building the capacity of Africans -- in governments, military establishments, universities, nongovernmental organizations, regional bodies, and especially the Organization of African Unity -- to prevent and resolve conflicts, with practical suggestions for diplomatic action, training, logistical backup, and institutional support. Unfortunately, the book is marred by shamelessly distorted presentations of Reagan administration policies of "constructive engagement" and "linkage" in southern Africa. Crocker, who was assistant secretary of state for African affairs from 1981 to 1989, claims these policies were successful "leadership in African peacemaking," but most Africa experts blame them for prolonging the wars in Angola and Namibia and encouraging South Africa's aggression and intransigence. Robert Oakley, U.S. special envoy to Somalia in 1992-93, turns the "success" story into an even more imaginative fable in which South Africa "actively discussed and negotiated rather than . . . relying on the use of military force."