1st Edition

US Foreign Policy and the End of the Cold War in Africa A Bridge between Global Conflict and the New World Order, 1988-1994

By Flavia Gasbarri Copyright 2020
    196 Pages
    by Routledge

    196 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book investigates the end of the Cold War in Africa and its impact on post-Cold War US foreign policy in the continent.

    The fall of the Berlin Wall is widely considered the end of the Cold War; however, it documents just one of the many "ends", since the Cold War was a global conflict. This book looks at one of the most neglected extra-European battlegrounds, the African continent, and explores how American foreign policy developed in this region between the late 1980s and the early 1990s. Drawing on a wide range of recently disclosed documents, the book shows that the Cold War in Africa ended in 1988, preceding the fall of the Berlin Wall. It also reveals how, since then, some of the most controversial and inconsistent episodes of post-Cold War US foreign policy in Africa have been deeply rooted in the unique process whereby American rivalry with the USSR found its end in the continent. The book challenges the traditional narrative by presenting an original perspective on the study of the end of the Cold War and provides new insights into the shaping of US foreign policy during the so-called ‘unipolar moment’.

    This book will be of much interest to students of Cold War history, US foreign policy, African politics and international relations.


    1. The United States and the Cold War in Africa

    2. 1988: The Rupture of the Cold War Paradigm in Africa

    3. The United States in Southern Africa, 1988–1994

    4. The United States in the Horn of Africa, 1988–1994



    Flavia Gasbarri is Lecturer in War Studies, Co-chair of the Africa Research Group and a member of the Centre for Grand Strategy at the War Studies Department, King’s College London, UK.

    'This study examines US foreign policy during the transition from Cold War politics toward a more fragmented and regional approach. Focusing on the Horn of Africa and southern Africa, Gasbarri (King’s College London, UK) contends that 1988 marked a watershed between older Cold War politics and a brief period of US-Soviet cooperation in conflicts such as the Angolan civil war. Since this book relies heavily on US diplomatic records and former US State Department officials, the role of Soviet and African stakeholders tends to be overshadowed by US perspectives. Readers should be forewarned that this is not at all an overview of US foreign policy toward the entire African continent. For example, there is no reference to the wave of democratic protest movements that swept much of Francophone Africa in the early 1990s. Even the collapsing fortunes of pro-Western Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in the wake of the US government’s withdrawal of support in 1991 barely receives attention. On the other hand, in the case of Somalia, Gasbarri effectively shows how the end of Cold War competition left US policy makers ill-equipped to develop new approaches. Readable and clearly organized. Summing Up: Recommended. Advanced undergraduates through faculty; professionals.'--J. M. Rich, Marywood University, Choice October 2021