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Title:American policymaking in the Democratic Republic of the Congo 1996-1999: the anti-Kabila bias and the crushing neutrality of the Lusaka Accords
Author:Cook, Christopher R.ISNI
Periodical:African and Asian Studies (ISSN 1569-2094)
Geographic terms:Congo (Democratic Republic of)
United States
Subjects:foreign policy
About person:Laurent-Désiré Kabila (1939-2001)ISNI
Abstract:This article examines the development of American policy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the period 1996-1999. Why did the US become involved in the DRC? What role did the US have in supporting the goals of Rwanda and Uganda at the expense of Congolese sovereignty? The article first examines the Congolese conflict in the context of the Clinton administration policies towards Africa in the 1990s. Then it breaks down American policymaking toward the DRC into three parts: at the end of the Mobutu regime, during the interregnum period under Laurent Kabila (1997-1998), and during the Second Congo War until the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement of July 1999. The author argues that Washington's policy was based on how it framed the conflict: it chose to see it through the prism of Rwandan and Ugandan security needs, favouring the narrative of genocide instead of contemplating a war of 'partition and plunder'. This may not be surprising because Washington often privileges a Westphalian approach to security and ignores the role of economic sub-State actors. However, by doing so the US exhibited a 'crushing neutrality' towards Laurent Kabila. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]