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AcademicJournals.org: The US informal empire: US African Command expanding the US economic-frontier

Posted by: Berhane Habtemariam

Date: Friday, 09 February 2018

The US informal empire, through the US African Command (AFRICOM, is expanding the US economic-frontier by discursively securitising Africa using exceptional speech acts.

The mission statement of US African Command (AFRICOM), articulated by President George Bush in 2007, declared African underdevelopment and human insecurities as a threat to US national security. Since ten years have elapsed from the time of AFRICOM’s inauguration, this paper seeks to highlight that the organisation has fallen short in realising its mission statement. This unnerving reality has given credence to intellectuals who adopt an apocalyptic position vis-à-vis the organisation. Intellectual skeptics disconcerted with AFRICOM located in the global South and global North have come to the conclusion that AFRICOM’s actuality as an organisation primarily advanced American economic interest and perceived issues of African development as trivial. In the 21st century, US security experts discursively shifted Africa from being a politicised issue to a securitised issue thereby constructing the continent as posing an existential threat not only to American geostrategic interest, but also American identity of exceptionalism. By using the work of New Left historian William Appleman Williams and by referencing speech actors with political capital, this paper highlights that the process of securitising Africa using exceptional speech acts to expand corporate capitalism is not unique to Africa since there are historical discursive parallels between early and current speech acts deliberated during junctures involving US foreign ventures................

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