tv Foreign Intervention in Africa During the Cold War CSPAN April 23, 2016 8:30am-10:01am EDT
schedule, or watch a recent program. >> history professor and author elizabeth schmidt talked about how war influenced africa during the cold war. she talks about how colonial powers dealt with these countries as they gained independence. she talks about tensions within the u.s. government over how to respond to africa's decolonization. the wilson center and the africa history center cohosted this event which is about an hour and a half. >> thank you for coming out this afternoon. it is my pleasure to introduce this afternoon's speaker elizabeth schmidt who is a professor at the university of loyola maryland. a professor of history. she received her phd from the university of wisconsin madison. she has books, "from the cold
war to the war on terror," which fyi is available for purchase outside of this room today. she is also the author of "cold war and the colonization in guinea." in 2007, " mobilizing the 1946-1958. masses." the author of "peasants, 1939-1958. traders, and wives." and "decoding corporate camouflage," published in the committee. -- in her next book is "foreign 1980. intervention in africa after the cold war, sovereignty, and responsibility in the war on terror." this book will be published right ohio university press. today's talk is based on the last book, and is entitled, foreign intervention in africa during the cold war.
the struggle for the global south. >> thank you very much for the kind introduction. thank you for coming. i had a list of organizations that i was also going to think -- thank. but he has done that for me. i will proceed to the talk. as eric indicated, my talk is primarily based on my -- on information and topics covered in my 2013 book. i do have a case study taken from my "cold war and decolonization in guinea." i want to start by looking at the collapse of colonialism and how the periods of decolonization in the cold war overlapped one another, and the impact that foreign intervention had on africa during that period. not looking at the whole continent, but a couple interesting case studies. colonialism and africa collapsed
after world war ii. by the mid-1960's, most had achieved their independence. the. -- the period of decolonization coincided with the end of the cold war. which was characterized by political competition, economic rival tree -- rivalry and friction between the united states and the soviet union, and their respective allies. the united states which hoped to replace the imperial powers wavered between the major colonial powers, all members of the nato alliance, and modern african nationalists whome washington hoped to court to keep radical nationalism and communism at bay. during this period, african nationalists were not paused on a global chessboard, but were -- were not ponds on a global chest toward, but were historical agents in their own right. they courted outside powers and limited their seville ability to
impose solutions optimal -- their ability to impose solutions optimal to them alone. washington broke ranks when the former imperial powers by discounting the legitimacy -- threatened to bring about a major conflagration. france resisted american agendas happened. france resisted american encroachment on its african sphere of influence. just as the united states sometimes disagreed with its allies for the best strategy to pursue decolonization in the cold war, so to in the american government. high-level officials in the administration considered anticolonial movement to be the product of external communist
version. -- sub version. within the kennedy, johnson, and carter administration, minority voices stress the responsibility to national concerns and to the future. even these officials opposed political movements that the united states could not control. the maintenance of good relationship with european allies and the containment of radicalism remained powermad. in the end, even liberal democratic organizations backed away from any action that might threaten the fundamental objective. the nixon-ford, -- the nixon, ford, and reagan administrations -- they considered radical considered radical nationalisto movements to be soviet proxies. because the balance of forces changes over time, the united states has pursued contradictory
african policies. on the one hand, has an early proponent of decolonization, the us government -- the u.s. government reportedly championed democratization. factions within the government have sympathized with the concerns of white settlers, and at times their voices were dominant. there was often a misunderstanding of nationalist movements. radical nationalism was frequent reviewed as communism or as an equal threat to western movement. fear of communism, real or imagined, led the u.s. government to support many unsavory dictatorships. though they were pro-western and anti-communist, they did not promote freedom and democracy. the southern area, home to a significant portion of white settlers, conflicting -- rather
than proposed colonialism and white minority rule. the three case studies that follow ask for the tensions that emerged from the dual missions of decolonization and the cold war and illuminate the activities of northern industrialized powers in the global south. the first case focuses on an uneasy alliance among western plow -- powers as they confronted the eastern block in africa. zeroing in on the suez crisis in egypt, one response was driven by conflicting colonial and cold war concerns. the second case explores the attempted to manage decolonization in the context of the cold war, reluctantly offering reforms to salvage what was left. it focuses on french response to guinea, which a loan among french territories, resisted the
offer of a partnership and struck out on its own. the third regards problems within the western government. kennedy in the united states as it responded to the cold war crisis. it examines tensions with in the government and their congressional allies and sought either to accommodate portugal as it waged african colonial wars or to distance themselves from it seeking alliance with modern nationalists. the first case explores tensions within the western alliance, zeroing in on egypt during the suez crisis. in 1956. of the contested territories undergoing decolonization, those in north africa and the middle east were closest geographically to europe and the soviet union. they were strategic because of
their location and their wealth and oil, in which britain and the united states had considerable investment. in egypt in the middle east, radical nationalists challenge the oppressive regimes that remained in power largely due to american support. egypt have figured prominently, where participants voiced their opposition to all forms of racism, colonialism, and imperialism. they pledged support for a --sive terry movements emancipatory movements in the southern hemisphere. in the years that followed, participants formed the core of intergovernmental non-alliance movement, whose members refute to take sides in the cold war. the suez crisis in egypt example feisty inherent conflicting -- exemplifies the tensions inherent in conflicting missions between the former colonial
powers and the emerging superpower. an alliance emerged when france and britain joined by israel behaved as imperial powers, where is the united states saw accommodations with egyptian nationalists to forestall soviet encroachment. built during the colonial era, the suez canal was controlled by the suez canal company, which was dominated by french and british investors. it was considered vital to those country's french and economic interests, particularly oil. in july, military ranking officers led by colonel of the lesser -- colonel abdal naser led the movement. a broad-based popular movement including leftists, radical nationalists, and islamic groups demanded the withdrawal of 85,000 british troops from the suez canal zone, and transfer the canal to egyptian control. in the months following the coup, naser asked the united
states for help. in pressuring britain to leave. distrustful of nasser, the eisenhower administration was unwilling to jeopardize its relationship to the britons and refused to provide military assistance, even after israel using french equipment attacked bases in the gaza strip. i don't know how well you can see this from back there, but this is a photograph of some of the participants in the conference from 1955. pictured along with the chinese representative and the liberian and ethiopian representative. next, these are the founding fathers of the nonaligned movement, nehru, ghana, egypt, indonesia, and yugoslavia.
naser was right in there in the thick of things in the 1960's. -- in the 1950's and early 1960's. meanwhile, at the conference in april, 1955, naser helped formulate the philosophy of neutralism and nonalignment. that was embraced by the african continent. convinced that nonalignment was really a facade of reorientation toward the east, the united states rebuffed those associated with the movement. while many were courted, hoping to undermine western imperialism, -- soviet officials remained ambivalent about the egyptian leader. nasser was staunchly anti-communist and considered egyptian communists to be rivals for power and influence. even as he negotiated an arms deal with the soviet union and
jew, nasser arrested key members -- in nasser arrested key june, 1955, members of the egyptian communist party. his primary objective was the eradication of british imperialism from the middle east. nasser had hoped to avoid reliance on the soviet union by obtaining influence from the united states. in an attempt to balance the superpowers, he asked the united states to assist in a dam project, which was designed to increase the amount of arable land for cultivation and industrialization. when egypt recognize the communist people's public of china, in lieu of the taiwan-based republic of china, congress barred the use of funds for the dam. in response nasser asserted that the canal revenues from the suez
canal would henceforth be used to finance the dam. here is a picture of nasser being cheered by a crowd in cairo after the nationalization of the suez canal. despite fear of nasser's growing influence, the western powers were divided in the response. britain and france responded as old-style imperialist powers and were determined to overthrow him. the initiated plans of a military attack and were supported by israel with its own regional concerns. the united states and contrast saw the conflict as one rooted in the cold war. the refusal of western powers to embark on decolonization played into soviet hands. moreover, any threat to egypt would strain relations with arab countries and to jeopardize american access to oil. as long as egypt agreed to pay for the suez canal, and to permit international navigation, washington claimed that it had
the right to nationalize the company. the united states refused to join its allies in military action against egypt. they declined a plot to assassinate nasser. here is a picture of oil installations burning as british troops advanced during the anglo-french invasion. i have taken these pictures from my book. if you have the book, if you want to go to the library and read the book, you have the pictures. in late october, israel used planes and tanks to attack egypt. under enormous pressure from asian and african countries, washington broke from its allies and introduced a you and security council resolution -- a un security council resolution. moscow supported the american resolution, while britain and
france vetoed it and bombed installations and invaded by air and sea. condemned by that he went general assembly -- by the un general assembly, britain, france, and israel were eventually forced to withdraw. the denouement was successful for nasser. his prestige among arab nations and nonaligned countries grew enormously. the next case study focuses on form and repression in the french empire, specifically focused on the case of guinea. i am told that i can use this? here is guinea. within french west africa, done
here is french equatorial africa. most of the french empire also controlled madagascar and djibouti, which are not on this map. france was faced with multiple demands to implement reforms in its vast african and asian empires. the united states pressed for change to gain economic advantage and to thwart communist influence. colonized peoples who had sustained the world war ii effort demanded a greater voice in the management of their own affairs in this aftermath. having long justified empire as part of a great civilizing mission, france was determined to convince the world of the worthiness of its stewardship. in the veriest francophone territories, military veterans, trade unionists, and members of political parties responded to
incremental colonial reforms by demanding equal rights for all french citizens, whether in europe or the overseas territories. after 1956, french subjects became citizens. the rights and privileges of citizens in the metropole became their new yardstick. in an effort to demonstrate the success of reformed imperialism and to justify the continuation of empire, france began to invest heavily in economic development after world war ii. by the mid-1950's, these expenditures were taking their toll on the national budget. some critics argue that the cost of empire far outweighed the benefits. paris was determined to transfer local control and responsibility for paying the new spec system elected african government. in 1956, -- which were expected
-- a new legal framework lent itself to overseas territories which were expected to shoulder a greater share of the burden of economic development and to bare the brunt of political discontent. all of those military members, trade unions, and political parties agitating for equal pay and benefits, now the local governments have to deal with them. with the commencement of armed forces in algeria, and other conflict elsewhere, forced france to reconsider its options. in 1958, charles de gaulle spearheaded the enactment of a new constitution to address the crisis. french territories were offered two choices. accept the constitution the provided junior partnership in a french community, or reject the constitution in favor of immediate independence. in an empire-wide referendum, only guinea chose independence.
here is a map of guinea. i will show you a few slides photographed from the referendum campaign. i don't think people in the back can see, but there is a motorcade. motorcyclists in the front and a convertible with charles de gaulle standing and apparently the national leader sitting by his side. the streets are lined with the rda, a political party that had branches and most of the territories of french west and equatorial africa, and spearheaded the no vote rejecting partnership in guinea. in other territories, the usually supported the yes vote.
when de gaulle saw this welcome, he thought things were going his way. he had no idea this was just african hospitality. these are slides taken in senegal. it says vote no, advocating the no vote. there were many people who advocated a no vote, but they lost senegal. there were members of different political parties, no the rda. here is graffiti in a store window advocating the yes vote, which ultimately carried in senegal, and finally a woman voting in the referendum, also in senegal. universal suffrage was fully implemented in 1966, so women did have the right to vote. you might ask why i don't have
slides of guinea if the referendum campaign was a vigorous. it was. when guinea voted no and france left, they burned the archives. there are few photographs left. i was able to get documents for my research from senegal, the headquarters of french west africa, and police reports and that sort of thing had been sent and carbon copied to senegal. most of what was in guinea was destroyed, so i was unable to find photographs. this was the nationalist leader, the head of the rda in guinea. you get the sense that he was a charismatic person. he was quite speaker, and he could really rally the crowds. he was a radical nationalist, he was close to the congo and ghana.
as i said earlier, the u.s. often confuse radical nationalism with communism. he was perceived to be a threat, in part because of his charisma. in part, because of what he had to say. back to the referendum. for guinea, the consequences of the no vote were devastating as france retaliated politically and economically, and the new country's efforts to establish the country as a coequal partnership were rebuffed. french teachers and other social services were withdrawn and capital was transferred to other territories. commercial transactions and credits were suspended, and cargo ships bound for guinea wort rerouted to other west african territories. immediately following the referendum, the french suspended all economic ties to guinea, and cooperative endeavors.
suspending bank credits, development assistance and cooperative endeavors. there was a dam left partially built, for instance. technical services and equipment were sabotaged. french personnel were ordered to leave the territory and destroy what they left behind. telephone wires were cut. cranes at the port disappeared. military camps were stripped of their equipment and hospitals of their medicine. large sums of money were transferred out of the country. the bank of france transferred guinea's old country, will panic wered currency and they peppering the country with counterfeit bills. it was designed to create panic, political unrest, and civil on -- political discontentment, and civil unrest. in 1958, paris refused to
recognize the new nation and instructed its allies to do also. as a result, britain, with germany, and the united states delayed recognition. in making an example of guina, which had refused junior partnership in the french community, paris hoped to demonstrate the nation's inability to assume the responsibility of independence and to dissuade other territories of following its path. the french victory was short-lived. by the end of 1960, virtually all french sub-saharan territories had become sovereign independent nations. having devised the means to maintain dominance through economic and military agreements, france was ready to relinquish political and troll and to unburden itself of the -- political control and to unburden itself of the onus of colonial rule. none of the territories that
achieved independence in 1960 were subjected to the dire consequences imposed on guinea-bissau. -- two years previously. the third and final case study focuses on tensions within the u.s. government over the role of portugal in africa. meanwhile, in the united states, tensions emerged within the government as various interests emerged challenging -- offering ways to challenge the cold war crises. by the 1960's, it was clear that france, britain, and belgium could maintain neocolonial -- economic relations with their african colonies without the hassle of political control. for portugal, ruled by the fascist dictatorship, african independence was out of the question. portugal was an impoverished country with an underdeveloped economy. without the cheap labor and raw materials that resulted from a harsh, forced labor regime,
portugal's industries would not be possible. -- profitable. unable to compete in an unprotected market, portugal was determined to retain political control of its colonies, and it waged devastating colonial wars to do some. american colonies, toward portugal and its colonies, underwent transformation. th eisenhower administration had joinede imperial powers in europe in sustaining the general assembly resolution, which called for self-determination and independence for all colonized people. believing that the nationalist movements were simply a front for communism. however, as the winds of change blew, the kennedy administration retroactively endorsed the resolution, and used it repeatedly to challenge portuguese rule in africa. convinced that unwavering
support for imperialism strengthens the hand of communism, kennedy was determined first and foremost to present communist success. -- to prevent communist success. he hoped to out flank radicalism through reforms that catered to radical lists -- radicalists' rising expectations. without undermining washington's relationship with its european allies which was hard. he sought relationships with so-called moderate nationalists who would promote western interests while -- mollifying discontent. this africa centered policy sparked significant debate within the kennedy administration, and was effectively sidelined by late acting 62 as u.s.sought -- by late 1962, as the u.s. saw -- i have included a slide that may be out of place. this is the picture president kennedy with general mobutu.
of the congo later renamed zaire and now the democratic republic of congo. this is after a white house meeting in may, 1963. obviously he is not from angola, but he was someone whom kennedy deemed to be a moderate nationalist who might be palatable to african governments. as many of you know, he was responsible for a behind-the-scenes military coup, in 1960 and an upfront coup in 1965. he had a strong hand in the prime minister of patrice molumba. -- in that assassination. that was also due to the work of the cia and belgian intelligence. he finally came to power without a civilian facade and ruled a brutal, corrupt regime until 1996.
this was someone whom kennedy thought might be acceptable, but he was wrong. he stayed in power with western support. back to portugal, kennedy's balancing act was challenged after he took office. in february, 1961, national -- -- nationalist partisans attacked the capital of rwanda in an attempt to free political prisoners. several police officers were killed and hundreds were massacred in retaliation. in march, conscript workers and nationalists killed 250 portuguese settlers in the coffee producing areas north of the capital. portugal hit back, using american weapons, tanks, planes, and napalm, as well as 25,000
portuguese nato soldiers in a brutal campaign that killed thousands of angolans and caused an outcry from the african state. anxious to win favor with african countries, and press from portugal to intimate reforms that would underline radical nationalism, the kennedy administration took a long-standing tradition of support for portugal in the human -- in the u.n. in march, they supported an investigation calling for an investigation into portuguese repression. in june, they voted for another resolution that "deeply deplored the large-scale killings and severely suppressive measures in a angola," and urged a speedy end to cold war rule. the european colonial powers and the western superpower stood on opposing sides.
while the u.s. joined the eu in both resolutions, britain and france sustained. -- abstained. increased weapons sales to africa. as tensions threatened the western alliance, fractions surfaced. -- fractures surfaced in the kennedy administration. the secretaries of defense and state supported by the european division emphasize the importance to nato. during the kennedy years, three quarters of american military traffic to europe and the middle east, pass through portugal's zora island air base. the ambassador to the u.n. the vehemently -- u.n. and united states vehemently disagreed. kennedy sought a middle ground.
his administration quietly reduced aid to portugal, and in 1971 banned weapons to africa. henceforth, military aid could only be used for nato purposes and only as described in the nato treaty. no part of africa fell within these boundaries. washington began to court the portuguese political operation. young, mid-level army officers, and african nationalists hoping to turn away from the communist struggle. there was an immediate act last. in congress, and eclectic group of communists -- anti-communists and segregationists supported the portugal position. they teamed up in the state departments to champion the u.s. access to the zora airbase and
-- the azores airbase and its that special relationship to portugal. it was the ongoing crisis in 1961 and the cuban missile crisis that sidelined the african mess and pushed the president inside. -- to the side of lisbon. by fall of 1962,. the kennedy administration know longer protested one portugal used equipment in africa. and no longer called for determination in their african colonies. kennedy's u.n. delegation sustained in all resolutions critical of portugal. american tanks, planes, and weapons continued to be diverted for use in portugal's african wars. in july, 1963, the united states joined france and britain in abstaining on a security council resolution, imposing an embargo on portugal.
in conclusion, the periods of decolonization were characterized by political competition, economic rivalry, and military friction between the united states and the soviet union. they also bore tensions between the soviets and western alliance. france in particular resisted american encroachment on its african sphere of influence and forged a two prong strategy even as it was forced to yield to the demands of political involvement. just as the united states challenged allies on strategies, the american government was fraught with division. although old foreign-policy hands often viewed nationalism
with suspicion, minority voices in the kennedy administration stressed response to nashville -- national concerns. and befriending the governments of the future. however these opposed political movements that united states could not control and the maintenance of european allies in the containment radicalism remained paramount. despite their differences, democratic, republican administrations all favored those who are friendly to american foreign and business policy interests. their disagreement centered on the most effective way to achieve these objectives. thank you very much. [applause]. >> thank you, for this sweeping survey of foreign and u.s. intervention in africa
especially in the cold war. we will focus on three case studies. i will start off, since you are here at the home of the cold war project, where we hold archives very dear. let me use the hook you provided by talking about burning archives. of course, it's a terrible thing. to talk a little bit -- i know your presentation was focused on international, especially the u.s. perspective on intervention in africa, but if you could talk a bit about what is the archival situation, in some of the cases you have looked at, in new international history, we like to look at all the sides. archivally speaking.
if you could talk about the archival section for your study. -- setting for your study. >> i must confess, i was mentioning to erica before the presentation, that this is the first book i have written that is a synthetic work. all of my other works were based on -- not "decoding corporate camouflage," that used some secret cup and he reports, but the book on zimbabwe and the two on guinea were based on materials where i went to zimbabwe, britain, france, guina, and senegal and i used there archives. nothing was digitized in those days. i conducted oral interviews. i naively thought, when i embarked on this current book, that it is a synthetic work and was not be that difficult.
i am using other people's work. they have done the hard work of looking at those archives, and much to my chagrin, it was a different task, and was perhaps not more difficult, but i had to become, what i hoped would be, somewhat of a specialist for each study, but i'm sure some specialist will quibble with what i say. i realized that it would be very hard to write for a nonspecialist audience. to make it accessible, but not simplistic. that was my long way of making an excuse for not answering your question. i did not do archival research. other people did. i think that you have some of the materials, and the national security archive has some of the materials, for example this work on the role of cuba in various
african countries. my work on guinea did include archival materials, which i found mostly in senegal. there was a wonderful archive in paris, that is also perhaps lost. it was called the center for african research and documentation, but it conveniently had its initials crda, which is also c and rda, the political party that led the independence movement. that had been funded by -- the french. when he died, they decided to ship the archives back that had been lost in the last that i heard, nobody knew where it was. that did have photographs. i think that other people, many
of whom have had fellowships here would have a much better idea than i do about the state of some of the archives. i know that the soviet archives have been opened and used by many of your scholars. mine has much more of a u.s. perspective, in part, because i was hoping to influence foreign policymakers and ngo workers, and undergraduate and maybe graduate students and professors, in the work. it does have a u.s. focus. >> let me slip in my question. before we open this up. you have offered a small number of case studies. the book has many more. each one, just that much more depressing or horrific than the one that precedes it. this is a story with almost no silver linings to the very dark clouds. one comes away profoundly depressed reading this story.
you focus on the cold war period. almost everything is negative. in the book, you fast-forward closer to the present to deal with the war on terror, and more contemporary, humanitarian intervention. even there, you issue bold letter caution to those who might step into humanitarian disaster areas. saying, in essence, interventions often cause more harm than good. you say that she medicare in -- you say that humanitarian intervention often puts the spotlight on atrocities. so, more harm than good. could you elaborate a bit more on the more recent part that you
write about in the book and amplify those cautions? >> yes. the last chapter of the book that focuses on the cold war period, talks about the economic crises of the 1980's and 1990's, that set the stage for massive civil discontent, pro-democracy movements, and at the same time, at the end of the cold war, western support dictate -- dissipated. there was no reason to support the strong man who had been regional policeman during the cold war. the soviet union no longer existed and was not there to bolster regimes, so all hell broke loose effectively. some of the case studies and look at, including somalia, were that was certainly presented to the american people as a case of humanitarian intervention.
it was far more than that. i'm not saying it wasn't a component, but it was a lot more complicated than that. backtrack a little bit. during the cold war -- many of you know this, somalia was additionally supported by the soviet union while ethiopia was supported by the united states. then by the military coup in ethiopia when the military government declared it was marxist-leninist. the soviet union decided to support the ethiopian military government and the u.s., after some hesitation, threw its weight behind somalia. which had been a socialist government. the military government in somalia now had american support. as soon as the cold war was over, and the u.s. cut him off, he was challenged by a lot of kinds of opposition forces.
somewhere clan-based, somewhere radical islamic, somewhere pro-democracy, secular. he was essentially driven from power. this was someone who had barred all political parties, all opposition. he was very oppressive while being supported by the west. this is complicated. dictators are supported by the west, the support is withdrawn, so what is there? it is usually a power vacuum. we seem to think time and time again that we can go in militarily, get rid of a dictator, and throw the elections. i know that is a little simplistic, but in the case of somalia, there was a severe humanitarian crisis. in late 1992, the warlords vying for control were controlling food supplies.
they were using food as a weapon and the people who were dodging were civilians, many of whom did -- who were dying were civilians, many of whom did not support any of these parties. the u.s., and the u.n. decided to send a military force to ensure that food got to the people who needed it. at the same time, the u.s. confirmed that one of the warlordss was the obstacle, and they got into a civil war between the warlords, during support to one another. people were killed who were not supporting the warlord. people who were trying to negotiate peace. the u.s. military wasn't clear on who some of the people were. i'm sure you are familiar with "black hawk down," at which point the u.s. said, we are pulling out.
somalia has had difficulties ever since. in 2006, when ethiopia invaded, the cia helped the invasion in 2006. that was essentially an invasion to oust the islamic court's union, which was muslim, but not linked to any terrorism. they had a fair amount of support, but the u.s. saw this as a threat in the post-9/11 which was a long-standing enemy of somalia, to invade. al-shabaab was a reaction to that invasion. similarly, we can take a look at libya. that was supposed to be a nato intervention to protect civilian
lives, but no one thought about what happened after qaddafi is gone. who is protecting his arsenals? many of the weapons flooded into west africa. fighters had recruited from sub-saharan africa, returned home with their weapons. hence, we have the collapse of mali. coming in to mali, are al qaeda and islamic state forces that had not previously been there. my argument is, we don't know enough history, we don't know enoug culture. we assume that we can go in and remake the middle east or remake north africa. the counterterrorism strategy that seems to be hind even the humanitarian initiative isn't working. i do understand the dire need or desire to do something in the face of one of these crises, but what is going to work as
long-term, especially with actors on the ground, being in control. not people outside telling them what they ought to be doing. the quick fixes are not quick, and they get very messy, very quickly. >> we can open this up. two simple rules, please wait for the microphone to reach you before you speak, and please identify yourself. we will start with don in the back.
>> i am done with the woodrow wilson center. thank you for your talk. a couple things that will buck up eric's spirits of little bit about the cold war, i did not hear any mention of the peace corps which was sent in by many numbers and kennedy. i was in the peace corps in 1960 it, and i went into a mud hut and there was kennedy's picture there, i said what is this? they said, he saved us from starvation. other things that your book touches on, but i would like to hear more about, the chinese president. they were there building a railroad in tanzania. they had doctors and nurses in the hospital where i served. lastly, do you get in at all to g soapy williams. kennedy -- he was sent as our ambassador to africa at large, but i don't know -- i don't know what the outcome of his mission was. >> my apologies. in the beginning of my book i lay out what i get into in terms of foreign intervention. one could get into the world bank, imf, or peace corps. i do say in the introduction
that i focus on political and military intervention which is what you did not hear me talk about the peace corps. it is also true that where we tend to focus economic involvement was where we had strategic concern. that is one place where they intersect. the chinese, yes, it is more their economic involvement. building a railroad was very important for the liberation struggle. they built a railroad and a highway from zambia to tanzania. so the zambian copper belt could get its goods out through tanzania, which was sympathetic to the struggles of portuguese colonialism and white minority rule in rhodesia, south africa, and namibia.
south africa at the time was barring the export of goods through angola and mozambique. portuguese colonialism was, and later south african, supporting guerrilla movement that blew up the railroads and the roads. building the railroad by the chinese was really critical. people were very grateful for that. i also heard about those photographs of kennedy. i even saw some in the 80's, and people's homes. he was beloved in many ways. i also went into the home of an elderly -- in guinea, who was dressed all in black and prayed at the mosque everyday. she had pictures of mouse a tongue -- mao tse tung and fidel castro. we have a bit of a balance there. did i miss one of your questions?
it is really not the focus of my book. i apologize for that. >> this gentleman in the back? >> thank you very much. i work with a group called african immigrants caucus. i was an editor at "transafrica" in the 1980's and i published a couple of your essays. i am an immigrant from ghana, so i remember many of these from the leaders coming through. my question is actually, i guess a request disguised as a question. the ambassador, a career ambassador and assistant secretary for bush 41, just did a book "the mind of the african strongman." he covered the same area that you have.
his picture of the role the u.s. played in that time took me aback. he stated that the cold war was kept out of africa, that the u.s. was bent on helping africans develop, and i did not listen. here is the request i have for you, will you please review his book? thank you. [laughter] >> that is not a bad idea. i thank you very much for that. i had a chance in 1990 to ask a similar question of him. i was on my way to guinea as a fulbright scholar, and he was addressing the fulbright scholars in washington at orientation. i raised my hand and asked about your support for these dictators in the cold war and specifically mentioned mobutu. he said, we don't support him. i think that perhaps by august 1990, we had cut off our
support, but he was sort of overlooking several decades of support. it would be interesting to see what he said. his boss, not his boss, but his predecessor, secretary of state kerry kissinger under the nixon and ford administrations also said that we were not engaged in angola in military action, but we were seeking a nonviolent solution. he said that under oath to congress. >> right up here, if we can do the microphone. >> how influential was chester bowles who wrote the book "africa's challenge to america"?
was one of the first people to resign from the kennedy administration, supposedly because he disagreed with what the administration was doing in vietnam. i wonder how much disagreement about africa policy might have played a part? >> thank you, that is what i forgot. your other question was about soapy williams. both of those men were the so-called "africanists" in the state department. they were key to trying to push -- push kennedy to recognize that africans had legitimate political aspirations, that nationalism was a reality, it was going to take root, and it was our job to get on the correct side of history. williams was the assistant secretary of state for african affairs before he was the
ambassador in africa. he was very influential. during the period when kennedy was still open to hearing these things. as i said, the berlin crisis of 1961, and the cuban missile crisis of 1962, immediately tipped those folks out. chester bowles. at least evenson -- and lise adlai stevenson had to vote for some revisions he made that kennedy ordered them to vote against it. then of course, there were these lobbies. there was a pro portugal lobby, a catania lobby. - a catanga lobby.
then the rhodesia lobby which supported the ian smith regime in the late 1960's, after kennedy, after the universal declaration of independence. >> [inaudible] >> there were a lot of them, and they were anti-communist, and pro-segregation, and they stood up for the rights and southern africa -- right in southern africa. >> over here. >> i believe that i agree with you that we have -- from decolonization we have independence, but in africa today we see talk about new colonialism, especially in the french african countries. there is very little difference between decolonization and neocolonialism. anyway you can look at it, in africa today. to me, it is more or less a figment of our imagination to think that decolonization is the end of it.
it is going on as we speak. >> i would agree. usually, when i say independence, i say when the countries achieve political independence, as opposed to just independents. to make that distinction. because there was one of the early intellectuals who spoke about africans, who were in office, but not in power. they did not have control of their economy in many cases. these economic and military agreements were signed that bound them closely to france, and france intervened militarily many times in the decades after independence and still does. sometimes to support a government, sometimes to overthrow a government.
sometimes to support a rebel revolution and sometimes not. during the cold war, while there was a lot of concern in the west but cuban troops in africa, rarely was it stated that the country with the second largest number of foreign troops in africa at the time was france. the root of many of the problems in africa is economic. to beountries continued commodity exporters an expert in capital goods and manufactured goods that are quite expensive. -- and a lot of discontent, and a thatf room for movements nobody wants really to make their influence felt. >> next, the lady in the red
jacket and upfront here. >> can you hear me? rat.n up an embassy my concern is the creeping militarization of the u.s. in africa under the radar. i guess we have one base in djibouti. i'm concerned about the creeping u.s. presence in africa for various reasons and why that is so to the reason -- the radar, given that djibouti is the big base. but in fact, almost every country has a presence. some of theecause troops who are in their cities, who come to country such as ali and say they are
building wealth when they are doing other functions. elizabeth: that is a big concern. many people have been writing about the militarization of africa. it is kind of a combined effort, combined counterterrorism effort in some of these countries were locals -- you don't necessarily make a distinction between the different kinds of american personnel. and some of the u.s. a, cuban iturity agenda items are not as well-funded as the military for the military agenda and it
is all part of this africa command. ricom is that u.s. africa command. we have rights to use airports .n different countries self -- special operations forces and lots of countries operating under the radar. sometimes we hear about those who are helping to train african troops. unfortunately, we find that any of the troops trained -- they train still have serious issues with human rights abuses and sexual violence.
in this case, it was french troops in the central african republic, but some american troops as well. battalions doing egregious things against civilians. the military coup in mali was conducted by american military-trained officers. we are training army to have them strengthen the region against terrorism but it is shortsighted in how it is being done. sometimes we will lay off and not give military aid for a while. it was suspended in egypt. we didn't call it a coup. we did suspend the aid for a while, but it is back. whether the army will be more cognizant of human rights, we are helping the nigerian army. it is clearly a major concern. i understand why they would feel worried about it.
>> my name is herbert weiss. i'm an emeritus professor. my focus is the congo. you might be interested to know my first professional job was with the division of intelligence and research in 1958 when i was entirely focused on guinea, for obvious reasons. we can discuss that. dr. schmidt: at length. [laughter] >> my concern with your approach is it does not distinguish itself very clearly in two things.
foreign policy essentially is classically the interest of the country, the policies. you do not clearly distinguish between where we succeeded and where we failed. secondly, your call for long-term involvement and different kinds of involvement, it raises the question of where does african sovereignty come in? we need to put them into full focus.
sometimes in this cold war period, we have old policy of self-interest that exceed it. in some times, we were absurdly self defeating. in all cases, of course, we were interventionists of one kind or another. the active intervention should not be the only focus of analysis in my opinion. first of all, if you're speaking about foreign policy, what were the alternatives? and were there better ones? not in terms of the welfare of the people over there, because that is not the focus of any foreign policy. it is unrealistic. unfortunately. to look at foreign policy that way, unless you are a colonial power.
if you are a colonial power, you are responsible for the civilian population. >> in the long term, it is not in american self interest to not be concerned about the welfare of the people where we intervened. our long-term national security means we have to be very concerned about that. the question to my mind, how we demonstrate that concern and what actions we might take, whom we support, what we do and don't do. our problem has been we have looked at immediate things, he looks like he is a threat. i'm sure you look at the way patrice was characterized. when he came to the state department looking for help in 1960, when the belgians had reoccupied the congo, the state
department decided he wasn't trustworthy because when he spoke to high-level officials he would not look them in the eye. he looked down. to an american, -- >> [inaudible] >> but they did say that. i have seen the declassified documents. >> [inaudible] documents show that they were againstplotting them. [inaudible] >> of course, they were. we agree on that. it is a done deal. it did show the culural lack of understanding they wouldn't realize someone speaking to someone they considered higher
than they are, would show respect by averting their gaze. that is important. people go into countries without really understanding how to interact with the leaders, with the civilians, what works, what doesn't. that is in our long-term natural disinterest. >> you have a question? >> ok. >> hello. periods, most of the for intervention seems to be by non-african. closer to the present, you find out, not only is there non-african intervention but also african intervention. it has not worked out any better. uganda is no picnic today. i wonder if you would talk about that at all. >> thank you. the last chapter is a preview of the book i am near finishing now.
it's about foreign intervention after the cold war. most of the intervention from the 1990's on was multilateral as opposed to the u.s. and soviet union, france, china. often it would be a subregional organization like the economic community of west african states sending peacekeeping forces to liberia or sierra leone, or countries around the democratic republic of congo got involved in their wars. to make a distinction between the countries that got involved in the congo. many had very clear national interests in a narrowly defined way. they wanted the minerals. they cleaned out the eastern congo of minerals. rwanda built itself with the wealth of the congo.
post-genocide. we don't talk much about that either. in the case of sierra leone and liberia, these were forces were troops were coming from multiple west african countries to maintain the peace that had been agreed upon and to monitor it. the problem is, while the objectives were good, different nations within had different objectives. france was very concerned with the dominance of nigeria. therefore, francophone west african countries were often vying for influence. there was a lot of corruption amongst individual troops even if at the top, there was an attempt to bring about peace and stability. guineaned to be in
during part of this. we had friends who lived near the military camp. we were visiting a friend and we saw all these truckloads coming and offloading tv's and stereos into the military camp. another friend had a technical repair shop. he was forever fixing the equipment. into theplugged it wrong fuses and blowing the televisions. it turned out they were just stealing from the civilians they were being told to protect. refugees were coming into the ports. i was in there and they told stories of having been, refrigerators and cars taken from them in exchange for safe passage.
all of these things are complicated. i'm afraid that special emphasis on the military solutions without doing the peace building. i'm not saying we should go in and do it. we need to allow room and protection for local people to do it. we too often look for the quick military fix and then we leave. too often, that doesn't work. >> there was someone against the wall here. >> my name is kim clark. the question was asked. i was looking for a preview of the next book and the premise of how you look forward into some of the interventions that have taken place since then. i think you have answered my question.
if you want to elaborate further, i'd love to hear more. >> i could just mention the case studies. i look at somalia, sudan and darfur. of southendence sudan. i look at the congo again. first, i look at rwanda in the way the genocide in rwanda played into the subsequent contact in the congo still going on to this day. i look at liberia and sierra leone. i look at cote d'ivoire. then there is a chapter on the arab spring. looking at a little bit on tunisia, focusing on egypt and libya. the fallout of the arab spring from libya and a chapter on what
happened in mali and boko haram in nigeria. one thing i didn't mention is that a lot of boko haram trained fighters in mali after the mali afterined in the overthrow of the democratically elected government, after al qaeda and the islamic state came in when the weapons and the fighters came in from libya. that has spread now to northern nigeria. there are all these connections. that is the focus of the second book. >> i'm a retired u.s. army. i worked at africom for five years in the strategy division. i will make a quick statement of the previous question. it's an overstatement to say we have militarized our foreign policy. the amount of money compared to usaid is a miniscule.
it competes worldwide for funding some training effort, which is what i did in africa. so it's not very large. every training activity is required to train soldiers and their leadership in the right ways to handle civilian populations. we don't always succeed. you're right. that doesn't mean we don't try. my question, what is your strategy to take what you clearly make a great case that the u.s. does not learn from history and is not good at picking winners, and will invest in losing propositions, not just in africa, but worldwide. your military will do what you ask it to. if you ask us to help someone
overthrow a libyan dictator, we will do that. the key is to make sure the civilian policymakers understand the nuanced argument you have just made and there ought to be, from the wilson center, a strategy to ensure at least the next -- i don't think the past has been bad. the next administration is well-versed in africa where we do not have a big presence, militarily or otherwise. we can make big mistakes. how do you plan to do that? >> thank you. i appreciate that question. realize that the
military does take its orders, so to speak, from the civilian government. if there is a policy, you are told to implement certain things. it's not the policy you make. with the nato bombing of libya, it wasn't supposed to be for a regime change. it was very clear that that was the intent of many of the western powers. the big three on the un security council, they did want to get rid of gadaffi. the u.s. defense department opposed that, predicted that. i'm sure it doesn't surprise you. it was hillary clinton, susan rice, and samantha power who pushed for that. counsel, therity secretary of state, u.n. ambassador pushed for that. again, i could not understand what would happen when gaddafi was overthrown. i don't know what the strategy is to make sure people in foreign policy actually read history. i'm having a hard enough time getting my students to do it.
except there's one int he audience. he did. but i do think that people who understand more deeply the complexities are less likely -- and kennedy was one of those people. he made some smart moves against the advisors, the cuban missile crisis of course one. others he said wait a minute. if you do this, they will do this. ion the few moves ahead chess board. we need to find a face-saving method to resolve this and not go to the brink. he got that idea from his reading of history. it was world war i if i am not mistaken. so, i do that. i am not a policy maker myself. that might sound like a copout but i am simply an academic
scholar trying to get information that corrects distorted views. i then want to hand it off to other people who can take that material and come up with policies that are more africa-centered. i'm not naive. nations do develop foreign policies with their own interests at stake. we need to redefine what is in our national interest. that would be my role, to get different information out there. thank you. >> back to where you started. i'm curious about france in 1958. was there articulated in the french government any rationale for this scorched earth policy? what were they trying to do?
>> de gaulle was insulted. he -- in fact, it's interesting because some of the french colonial officials, the governor of guinea and the high commissioner of west french africa had read secretary speech before, de gaulle as the honored guest. secretary -- he was a bit of -- he was a very the said first speaker. he talked about colonialism man about thelism and equality of all people. they were used to him. they knew what he was doing. he had to play to the crowd. they knew he would want to sit down afterwards and talk to the french government and say ok. we want to develop trade relations. we want investment. we want to do it as equal partners.
we don't want to do it as a junior partner in this situation. the secretary had said that. he said it in advance. when de gaulle was insulted by this speech and suddenly realized they were going to vote the other way, most likely, he said that is it. i have had it. he did make the decision he would withdraw, he would stop the economic aid. all of this happened in the month before the referendum and then more afterward. people who know about him know he would get that way. the governor and high commissioner tried to convince him otherwise. it will be fine. he refused to see him when he came to france. interestingly and ironically, france's worst nightmare came true.
they turned to the east. first they went to france. alliesnt to the nato of france. they wre spurned. they were -- the kennedy administration did eventually give aid. so did some other countries who did recognize that it was delayed. kennedy realized de gaulle was not correct about this approach. so, guinea turned to the east. there were development workers there from the soviet union, north vietnam. cuba. i met many and knew many who had been taught by teachers from these areas. french communists came back. they were the largest political party in france after world war ii. they spearheaded the internal resistance. they were free to come help guinea, sort of like the abraham lincoln brigade.
so, really it was that personal. >> i am afraid we have to leave it at that. we are at the end of our time. thank you for joining us today. many of the documents that have been referred to are on the center's digital archives. at digitalarchive.org. let eric and me invite you to a small reception outside to continue the conversation more informally. not before thanking our featured speaker. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much. next, the church committee 40 years later.
beginning next weekend on american history tv, we will show extended segments of the 1975 hearings that investigated cia, fbi, irs, and nsa activities. next weekend at 10:00 p.m. and sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern time. all on american history tv on c-span 3. >> madam secretary, we proudly give 72 of our delegate votes to the next president of the united states.
announcer: this sunday night, historian ron turnout talks about the broadway musical "hamilton." >> he said to me, ron, i was inding your book on vacation mexico. and as i was reading, a hip-hop song started rising off the page. and now is thinking, what on earth is this guy talking about? i think back then he had a world-class ignoramus on his on the spot. he said to me on the spot, could hip-hop be the vehicle to tell this complex story.
, ron, i'm going to educate you on hip-hop. rub a lot of information because hip-hop is very fast. he started educating me in all these different devices that are 6 -- that are the success of the show. >> saturday april 23 is the anniversary of william shakespeare's death. we will be hosting an event and hisating his life impact on our literature, our language, and our history. book tv will cover that event
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jeb bush identified himself american. announcer: beginning at six a quote p.m. eastern on c-span. announcer: each week, and american artifacts takes viewers into historic sites around the country. of -- t face we visited the newseum's pulitzer prize photographs gallery. we will hear about the hunt gary and immigrant who created a newspaper empire in the late 19th century and the prices that carry his name. we will in the story behind his images. >> i'm the director behind this