Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Shaping Input: Africa's Horn in Foreign Affairs

The new issue of Foreign Affairs features a fine article on the conflicts – present and lurking – on Africa’s Horn, and the weaknesses of US policy ("Blowing the Horn", subscription required).

People at JFCOM currently working on the coming Shaping JOC are well advised to read John Prendergast and Colin Thomas-Jensen’s article. The challenges and solutions that they outline are basically what the JOC will have to address: learning full-scale diplomacy not in its diplomatic sense, but rather as a holistic problem-solving approach, which includes addressing grievances and issues over livelihoods.

The essential lessons of U.S. counterterrorism policy over the last five years – apparently unheeded by the Bush administration – is that in order for local Muslim populations to take the United States’ counterterrorism agenda seriously, the United States must take their state-building and power-sharing agenda seriously, too. Ironically, the strategy is already there on paper. In its 2002 National Security Strategy and elsewhere, the Bush administration has argued that failing states foster terrorism and has laid out a comprehensive approach to counterterrorism that involves promoting peace building, state reconstruction, and good governance. When it comes to the Greater African Horn, however, the Bush administration has simply not implemented its own policies. By relying on sporadic military strikes and continued support for autocrats without broader political planning, it has combined the worst elements of its current strategy in Iraq with the Cold War-era policy of cronyism. Conflict resolution and good governance are, in fact, the keys to countering terrorism in the Greater Horn of over the long term.

More on the Shaping JOC in this post – including the natural African focus of the JOC and here especially the CJFT-HOA. People who should also read their article include the CIA analysts involved not only with HOA related stuff, but also those working on projects similar to the Shaping JOC.

A final aside: Not surprisingly, the sharpest minds on the intricacies of policy development are no longer to be found in academia: they are more often at the best think tanks – and among them evidently the ICG where both authors reside.

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