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From Kennedy to Obama: The United States Foreign Policy in Africa

(22) From Kennedy to Obama: The United States Foreign Policy in Africa - Boubacar N’Diaye, Departments of Political Science and Africana Studies

The election of President Barack Obama constituted a milestone in US domestic politics.  However, the significance and impact of his election (and reelection) for the relations between the U.S. and Africa, the home of President Obama’s Kenyan father, has not been straightforwardly and appropriately examined and appreciated.  This seminar will examine these relations more closely in light of this historical event (and President Obama’s June 2013 visit to Africa).  As we do so, we will keep in mind the context and parameters of U.S.-Africa relations:  The United States, a major world power with 13percent  of its population of African ancestry and African states, emerging as independent nations some 50 years ago confronted with various daunting challenges, in a foreboding international system.  These relations will be examined as they evolved across ten U/S/ administrations, starting with President John F. Kennedy, and spanned the Cold War, the immediate post-Cold War, and the post-9/11 world discrete periods.  This seminar will comparatively and critically examine the foreign policies successive U.S. presidents carried out in Africa, the objectives they pursued, and the extent to which these policies benefited African peoples and their quest for socioeconomic development, security, and democracy.