Africa and the Big Powers

September 3, 1976

Report Outline
Rising East-West Rivalry in Africa
Roots of Current African Conflict
Meeting Ground of Foreign Interests
Special Focus

Rising East-West Rivalry in Africa

Implications of New U.S. Policy Toward Africa

In the midst of a presidential campaign, the Ford administration is trying to forge a new U.S. policy toward the divided and diverse nations of Africa. The task is difficult and carries inherent dangers for the President, both in domestic politics and foreign affairs. For more than a decade the United States pursued a passive strategy, defending its strategic and commercial interests in Africa while maintaining the appearance of impartial relations with both the white-ruled states of southern Africa and the black nations that surround them. Within the past year the United States has been forced out of its passive posture by a series of events seemingly beyond its control.

The collapse of the Portuguese empire in Mozambique and Angola strengthened the black nationalist cause in southern Africa. Violence has erupted along the Mozambique-Rhodesia border, in South Africa and in Namibia (South West Africa) as restive blacks seek to break the centuries-old grip of the dominant white minorities. At the same time, open intervention and aid to African liberation movements by the Soviet Union and its client state, Cuba, have inserted a new and dangerous factor into the international balance-of-power equation. The Soviet and Cuban presence on the African continent is viewed in Washington as a challenge to U.S. aims in many parts of the world.

Washington is aware that any change in African policy has domestic, as well as foreign, implications. Last December, over the protests of President Ford and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, Congress cut off covert American aid for U.S.-backed factions in the Angolan civil war. Since then, Congress has kept a sharp eye on the administration's African maneuvers. The Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs has scheduled hearings, beginning Sept. 8, on U.S. policy in Africa.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Africa
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Apr. 05, 2011  Conflict in Congo
Aug. 2009  Attacking Piracy
Jun. 2009  The Troubled Horn of Africa
Sep. 2008  Crisis in Darfur
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Sep. 09, 2005  Ending Poverty
Aug. 27, 2004  Stopping Genocide
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Nov. 08, 2002  Famine in Africa
Mar. 24, 1995  Democracy in Africa
Jan. 14, 1994  South Africa's Future
Mar. 23, 1990  U.S. Role in South Africa's Future
Nov. 07, 1986  Economic Turnabout In Africa
Jan. 17, 1986  Angola and the Reagan Doctrine
Sep. 09, 1983  South Africa's ‘Total Strategy’
Jul. 14, 1978  African Policy Reversal
Sep. 03, 1976  Africa and the Big Powers
Apr. 04, 1975  Southern Africa in Transition
Dec. 06, 1974  Ethiopia in Turmoil
May 09, 1973  African Nation Building
Feb. 28, 1968  Nigeria at War
Nov. 02, 1966  White Outposts in Southern Africa
Feb. 03, 1965  Congo Dilemma
Aug. 12, 1964  Red Rivalry in Africa
May 22, 1963  Political Turmoil in Southern Africa
Nov. 02, 1960  Tribalism and Nationalism in Africa
Sep. 28, 1960  Education for Africans
Apr. 10, 1959  Power Struggles in Colonial Africa
Aug. 20, 1958  Algerian Conflicts
Apr. 09, 1958  White Supremacy in South Africa
Sep. 11, 1957  Future of Algeria
Apr. 03, 1957  Political Awakening of Black Africa
Sep. 17, 1952  Africa and the West
Feb. 20, 1952  Nationalism in North Africa
Dec. 04, 1942  War Resources in Africa
May 29, 1935  Pre-War and Post-War Imperialism in Africa
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Cold War
Conflicts in Africa
Regional Political Affairs: Africa
U.S. at War: Cold War
War and Conflict