Africa Center Assistant Director Josh Meservey writes in the Hill on the United States’ inability to pressure Uganda’s president to not sign a controversial anti-gay bill:
The tens of millions of dollars in aid the United States gives Uganda every year has recently bought it precious little influence with the East African country’s president, Yoweri Museveni. His February signing of the draconian anti-gay bill was an explicit rebuff of U.S. pressure; National Security Advisor Susan Rice had urged him “at length” not to sign the bill, and President Obama warned that the bill would “complicate” the bilateral relationship.
Museveni’s decision is the latest instance of Washington being unable to influence an allied African leader, the result of shifting geopolitical trends and blundering diplomacy. Limited influence over our friends is a challenge that will remain and may well grow, and policymakers need to adopt far smarter and more strategic ways to apply effective pressure at critical moments.