16 Sep 2011
The African Union (AU) met in Pretoria this week. Columbia University professor and Africa scholar Mahmood Mamdani is interviewed by Democracy Now. He gives his take on the regional and global implications of NATO’s intervention in Libya, which he says threatens to increase the militarization of the African continent.
Mamdani argues,"The contention over Africa has become intense over the last decade. There has almost been a complete reversal of positions that existed during the Cold War, because, if you remember, in the Cold War we used to think of the Soviet Union as typifying a military approach and the U.S.A. standing up for some kind of development. Now it’s the opposite. Now it’s the Western Alliance—the U.S., NATO, etc.—which typify a military approach, and China is building roads all over Africa, and India is investing in industries all over Africa. So, the prospect of increased militarization of the continent is another great fear."
With respect to the AU, he contends, "The African Union is in deep crisis itself. Without the vote of two of its leading members, South Africa and Nigeria, there would have been no U.N. intervention, no NATO intervention. And they know it. Having voted in favor of that intervention, now they are crying foul and saying that our efforts to mediate were ignored. So they appeared like a—just a useless body, a gathering where people can air their grievances, but nothing more than that. So they have to salvage themselves. The reluctance to recognize the transitional government in Libya is an admission that they don’t see an easy way out of this dilemma. So, they will probably—they will have to recognize it, if not today, then tomorrow."
Find the complete transcript of this interview at Democracy Now.