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Africa’s Challenge to International Relations Theory by Kevin C. Dunn, Timothy M. Shaw (eds.)

By Kevin C. Dunn, Timothy M. Shaw (eds.)

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Sample text

Once seen as the best example of democratic `freedom fighters' deserving support from the Washington, UNITA was now seen as a poor loser in a democratic process partly sponsored by the USA. After UNITA's electoral defeat and its return to war, American involvement changed dramatically. The Republican administration of George Bush initiated a constructive relationship with the MPLA government which was further strengthened by President Bill Clinton. The new Democratic administration in the USA granted diplomatic recognition to the Angolan state.

The norms applied to the interactions among European communities within the boundaries of Western Christendom formed a particular body of law known as Jus Gentilis. By design, this law differed from the rules and procedures applicable the transactions among Christian merchants, settlers, and adventurers abroad. These two sets of laws bore no resemblance to yet a third, which governed the dynamics between Westerners and non-Europeans (see Davidson 1961: 53; Alexandrowicz 1967: 150± 57; Reynolds 1992: 1±54).

The case of UNITA highlights the perils of ignoring nationalism and ethnicity. In Angola, state decay has been partly the result of the unwillingness of the post-colonial state to adequately address issues of nationalism and ethnicity. 28 Reformulating IR Theory A de-emphasis of the state in African(ist) analysis and praxis will not, in and of itself, solve Africa's current problems. This chapter suggests, however, that this may be an important first step in dethroning the hegemony of the Westphalian framework imposed on Africa through colonialism.

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