‘Forget the Rhetoric and Boost the Geopolitics’: Emerging Trends in the Bush Administration’s Policy towards Africa, 2001

Written five months after President Bush’s inauguration in January 2001, this article assesses emerging trends in the Bush administration’s self-proclaimed ‘realist’ policy towards Africa, the essential thrust of which is captured by the motto: ‘forget the rhetoric and boost the geopolitics’. The emerging tendencies of this policy are analysed by treating the US policymaking establishment as a series of three concentric circles: 1) the inner circle of the White House; 2) a second circle comprising the bureaucracies of the executive branch; and 3) an outer circle inclusive of the US Congress and the larger African affairs constituency. The author demonstrates that an important result of White House and Congressional neglect of Africa is that the Bush administration’s foreign policy towards Africa, perhaps more so than that directed towards any other region of the world, essentially will be delegated to the high-level bureaucrats and political appointees within the executive branch, leading to an outcome best characterized as ‘bureaucratic incrementalism’ in which continuity rather than change will mark the administration’s policies towards Africa. Notes, ref., sum.

Title: ‘Forget the Rhetoric and Boost the Geopolitics’: Emerging Trends in the Bush Administration’s Policy towards Africa, 2001
Author: Schraeder, Peter J.
Year: 2001
Periodical: African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society
Volume: 100
Issue: 400
Period: July
Pages: 387-404
Language: English
Geographic terms: Africa
United States
External link: http://ejournals.ebsco.com/direct.asp?ArticleID=QL02R0ATH1V7LUG3YRHE
Abstract: Written five months after President Bush’s inauguration in January 2001, this article assesses emerging trends in the Bush administration’s self-proclaimed ‘realist’ policy towards Africa, the essential thrust of which is captured by the motto: ‘forget the rhetoric and boost the geopolitics’. The emerging tendencies of this policy are analysed by treating the US policymaking establishment as a series of three concentric circles: 1) the inner circle of the White House; 2) a second circle comprising the bureaucracies of the executive branch; and 3) an outer circle inclusive of the US Congress and the larger African affairs constituency. The author demonstrates that an important result of White House and Congressional neglect of Africa is that the Bush administration’s foreign policy towards Africa, perhaps more so than that directed towards any other region of the world, essentially will be delegated to the high-level bureaucrats and political appointees within the executive branch, leading to an outcome best characterized as ‘bureaucratic incrementalism’ in which continuity rather than change will mark the administration’s policies towards Africa. Notes, ref., sum.