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Title: The Carter administration and the Horn of Africa
Author: Jackson, D.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2002
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Ethiopia, seen as the most important nation in the Horn strategically, broke its ties with the United States in 1977 and formed an alliance with the Soviet Union. With the USSR already firmly ensconced in Ethiopia's neighbour, Somalia, the potential existed for an expansion of the communist sphere of influence. However, Jimmy Carter, determined to emphasise issues such as regionalism and human rights in his foreign policy rather than traditional Cold War and East-West concerns, ignored the Soviet presence in the Horn and condemned the government-sponsored violence in Ethiopia. He applied the same principles when the Somali leader, Mohammed Siad Barré, launched an attack on neighbouring Ethiopia, hoping to annex the Somali-inhabited Ogaden. Despite Soviet and Cuban support for Ethiopia, Carter insisted that the United States remain neutral, refused to support Somalia in its territorial quest, and called for a negotiated solution to the war. However, the early success enjoyed by the Carter administration in basing policy towards Ethiopia and Somalia on regionalism and human rights did not continue. From 1979, both the rhetoric and policies of the administration began to emphasise American national security within a Cold War perspective, with a corresponding deprioritisation of human rights and regionalism in policy formulation. The Ethiopian alliance with the Soviet Union became increasingly unacceptable, and by 1980 both military and economic aid had been terminated, and the American ambassador recalled. The administration also decided that an American military presence was necessary in the Horn to counter the presence of the USSR in Ethiopia. Having previously refused to form an alliance with Somalia because of Siad's violations of human rights and international law, in August 1980 the United States reached an agreement for the use of Somali military facilities in return for American aid. By the end of the Carter administration, the Horn of Africa had become a microcosm of the Cold War, with the Soviets and Cubans in Ethiopia and the Americans supporting Somalia. It appeared that national security concerns had taken precedence over issues of human rights, and globalism had triumphed over regionalism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available