Africa and Shifting Global Power Relationships

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dc.contributor.author Munene, Macharia
dc.date.accessioned 2015-06-22T16:00:20Z
dc.date.available 2015-06-22T16:00:20Z
dc.date.issued 2005
dc.identifier.uri http://erepo.usiu.ac.ke/11732/362
dc.description An Article by Macharia Munene, School of Humanities & Social Sciences, USIU in The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs en_US
dc.description.abstract The last 10 years have brought unexpected shifts in global power relationships as traditionally powerful states have lost legitimacy and ceded authority to new players. The power of the United States and United Kingdom (UK) seems to be in decline since having defied the United Nations by attacking Iraq without UN approval. The United States and UK lost the respect of other states and the moral authority to lead. On the other hand, France, in upholding the ideals of the UN, has gained global influence. Some African countries, like South Africa and Kenya, also benefited from insisting on respect for the UN. South African leader Nelson Mandel's authoritative voice was able to erode the U.S.-UK military arguments because he derived power from his ethical and moral standing, rather than from military prominence. His criticism encouraged people across the globe to openly oppose the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. After Mandela criticized countries whose leaders disappointingly "just keep quiet when the U.S. wants to sideline the UN," French, German, and even Russian opposition to the Bush-Blair designs on Iraq became more apparent.1 When the United States and the UK decided to invade Iraq without convincing reasons for doing so, many countries were opposed to the action, but some were afraid to speak out.' Among the countries whose leaders wanted to keep quiet was Japan, at a time when the Japanese people wished their government would be as defiant as the governments of France and Germany. France and Germany refused to go along with the United States and the UK because their concerns about morality, ethics, and reputation dictated otherwise. The French in particular appeared to enjoy defying the Anglo-American effort to manipulate the UN to legitimize their attack on Iraq. France resented playing second fiddle to the United States and the UK. The Iraq issue offered France a chance to overshadow both the British and the Americans in terms of influence and credibility and to offer itself as an alternative-around which other countries could rally to the Anglo-American hegemony. The conflict over Iraq was the latest issue in the contest for global influence. The feud had intensified after the Cold War, with the French resenting an imposition of an American hegemony detrimental to French interests. "The U.S.," President Jacques Chirac asserted in 1998, "has the pretension to want to direct everything, it wants to rule the whole world."' In attempting to impose its New World Order, the United States was stealing French clients and promoting self-determination and democratization in the French sphere of influence, thus undermining French interests. France then tried to retaliate by infiltrating the U.S. sphere of influence through the organization of Euro-Latin American conferences.4 By opposing American saber-rattling over Iraq, France emerged as a reasonable leader ready to use its veto power to save the UN from committing a moral blunder. en_US
dc.publisher The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs en_US
dc.subject Africa en_US
dc.subject Global Power en_US
dc.title Africa and Shifting Global Power Relationships en_US
dc.type Article en_US

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