What Northern Uganda Peace Advocates Rarely Talk About
The United States, with very little effort, could drastically increase the possibility of a permanent resolution of the conflict in northern Uganda. Why Washington hasn't made an effort has been a matter of speculation in policy and development circles since the peace talks began in August 2006.
John Prendergast and Colin Thomas-Jansen, in their recent Foreign Affairs article 'Blowing the Horn,' explain why the answer becomes clear when one considers America's priorities in the greater Horn of Africa, and the interconnectedness of the conflicts in the region. Money quote:
"Stemming the spread of terrorism and extremist ideologies has become such an overwhelming strategic objective for Washington that it has overshadowed U.S. efforts to resolve conflicts and promote good governance; in everything but rhetoric, counterterrorism now consumes U.S. policy in the Greater Horn as totally as anticommunism did a generation ago."
The article argues that the false god of anti-terrorism has led America to take a myopic view of the region that not only increases the places where terrorism thrives, but also does little to resolve the conflicts in 8 countries that leave 16 million people to face chronic insecurity. The article provides concrete policy alternatives that place anti-terrorism within the context of statebuilding and broader security. This is a must read for anyone who wants to imagine how the next American administration could be better in Africa.