J. Peter Pham, director of the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, contributed a chapter on Africa to the comprehensive study on the future of the United States European Command (EUCOM) recently concluded by the National Defense University’s Center for Transatlantic Security and the Atlantic Council.
The year-long initiative, co-chaired by Hans Binnendijk, Robert Hunter, Council Senior Advisor Harlan Ullman, and Barry Pavel, director of the Council’s International Security Program, was undertaken to provide EUCOM with an assessment of the intended, likely, and uncertain consequences of recent events and trends in defense policy. The findings of this project will be presented today at a major conference on The Future of the U.S. European Command in a Post-Afghanistan, Post-Arab Spring, Chaotic, Unpredictable and Financially-Constrained “New, New World.”
Pham’s paper on “Africa in the ‘New, New World’” looks at the place of Africa and the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) in this strategic landscape and argues against the idea advanced be some defense planners that AFRICOM might be operationally folded back into EUCOM, possibly as a subordinate command. Rather, the essay contends, the growing engagements of China, India, Russia, and other countries across the continent ought to signal to U.S. policymakers that Africa is no longer a place where conflict and humanitarian sentiments are the exclusive drivers of engagement, but rather a land of opportunity where the burgeoning potential for mutual benefit forms the basis for true partnerships and that what is needed is committed, consistent, and sustained engagement to promote long-term American interests – economic, political, and, most definitely, defense and security.