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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Policy Paper 13: African Conflict Management and the New World Order


With the end of the Cold War, a New World Order is in the process of being formed. Africa has not been immune to the dramatic shifts in the world economic and political order. The end of superpower competition on the continent has had significant implications for African regional security. One of the defining features of the new order is the increased scope and intensity of domestic conflicts that have spilled, or have the potential to spill, over national borders into neighboring states. Conflicts such as those occurring in Somalia, Rwanda, Liberia, and Sudan have attracted the involvement of international and regional actors in the quest for conflict management and prevention. In the process, the notions of state sovereignty and the norms of external intervention in domestic disputes are currently being reconsidered in international and regional fora. It is clear that mechanisms must be developed to allow Africans to address the most severe domestic tensions and conflicts before they become regionalized or internationalized. The United States, through the United Nations, has a special role to play in assisting the OAU to develop such a capacity. As a matter of national interest, the U.S. should take the lead in providing the resources, technical expertise and political support that is necessary for this to happen in a timely fashion.

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