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Title: US foreign policy towards West Africa after September 11 attacks
Author: Akinwande, F. O.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 8688
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2014
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The United States foreign policy towards West Africa experienced a significant shift after the terrorist attacks of US strategic institutions in September 11, 2001. This was marked by the securitization of US foreign policy beyond the military-security context of security into other aspects of US security strategy after the Cold War. In that context, political, economic and environmental sectors became part of US security agenda, as reflected in the post-9/11 US War on Terror in global regions. The United States therefore securitized West African states through the policies of aid, trade and military assistance. Within West Africa, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had restructured the security pattern of West Africa since the end of the Cold War. The United States policy therefore coincided with ECOWAS’ regional security efforts. Among other things, ECOWAS’ policy of regional integration was revived with pragmatic approaches to securing West Africa from threats of terrorists, smuggling, poverty, corruption and state collapse. The challenge for ECOWAS had been how to securitize successfully against these threats within the context of a sustainable regional security planning without the need for external assistance. Whether the United States and ECOWAS could cooperate to maintain security and stability in West Africa depended on US agenda and ECOWAS capacity as a regional security complex. The question is, why and how did the US securitize in West Africa if indeed the region had a security complex such as ECOWAS that had the capability to do so? Secondly, were the security issues resolved in the process of US securitization? The methodology adopted in this research is wide-ranging, including the use of qualitative content analysis for exploring theoretical texts of scholars and empirical cases of speeches, official pronouncements and policy documents. An analysis of the philosophy of Jurgen Habermas was undertaken to appraise the influence of his critical theory on explanations of social inclusion, community, security; his ideal speech act theory, which suggests approaches to resolving crises through inclusive dialogues, was considered. Although Habermas based his philosophy on communication, justice, and ethics, his speech act resonates with the idea of securitization and the interactions between a powerful state and Third World regions. But it was not found to be as helpful in explanation as initially proposed. Using qualitative content analysis, it was possible to combine elements of regional security complex theory (RSCT) of the Copenhagen School with a pragmatic approach to the reconceptualization of the audience in the process of securitization. The result of the research shows that, first, the United States policies had success in a few areas, whereas in majority of the cases, the security situation in the region had been largely the same or worsened. The US Congress was willing to legitimate the securitizing claims of the core executive without challenging it. Secondly, ECOWAS Member States depended on external powers for survival and this hindered their capacities to integrate at the regional level. ECOWAS elite considered the organization to be instruments for maintaining personal political control in their states. Thirdly, in terms of US West African cooperation, the lack of sufficient security interaction rendered ECOWAS a weak security complex thereby making it vulnerable to external intervention. The intervention of the US and other external powers in the region challenged the reality of the sovereignty of ECOWAS Member States and further constrained ECOWAS ability to construct regional security architecture for West Africa. The complexity of the nexus of issues and institutions addressing security agendas including human and developmental security also undermined many of the goals: at least to a significant measure, the way security was pursued by key actors were self-defeating, although other factors also always influenced outcomes too.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available