October 21, 2020

No Competition Without Presence: Should the U.S. Leave Africa?

Originally published in PRISM Vol. 9, No. 1

American blood and treasure should be prioritized to secure U.S. national interests. The United States military is not the world’s police force, and where others can share the burden, the United States should add only its unique capabilities. But defending U.S. interests extends even into faraway lands, including Africa. While Africa may never be a top national security concern for the United States, a convergence of gains by state and nonstate actors alike there affect U.S. security and economic interests globally. Yet the Pentagon’s recent effort to rebalance its resources against great power competitors—especially China and Russia—after almost two decades of counterterrorism dominance places the commitment of U.S. military resources to Africa in question. Drawing down too far militarily in Africa risks losing influence on the continent to those very same state actors, erasing hard–fought counterterrorism gains, and compromising U.S. global interests.

This article was originally published in PRISM, Vol. 9, No. 1. Access the full version of the article here and read the PDF here.