TITLE

LESSONS OF ANGOLA

AUTHOR(S)
Marcum, John A.
PUB. DATE
April 1976
SOURCE
Foreign Affairs;Apr1976, Vol. 54 Issue 3, p407
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This article discusses the lessons learned from the United States' foreign policy towards Angola during its intervention wars in 1975. The long-term U.S. miscalculation, which was premised on the longevity of European rule, proved a costly error. But the significance of this faulty vision, which discounted African and overestimated European capabilities, may be of even greater moment if it also proves to reflect an unconscious racial bias. Restraining a propensity for moral posturing and self-righteousness, and avoiding the traps of commitment for or against any partisan solutions, be they radical, moderate or particularistic, the U.S. count achieve essentials of a constructive policy by adopting some comprehensive guidelines. And in many years of difficult choice, whether, for example, to recognize or extend economic or educational assistance to an independent homeland, the U.S. would do best to be guided by the collective judgment of African states as expressed through the OAU. The U.S. must be responsible for the consequences of its own actions and inactions. It cannot control those of others. If the Angolan experience brings home the need to base the U.S. African policy of African realities; if it alerts the U.S. to avoid the traps inherent in the past policies, stimulating a greater willingness to relate to others, however radical, on a basis of mutuality of interest--then, despite its agonies, it will yet have served us well. More difficult to rationalize will be the cost--in human suffering, death, displacement and destruction--sustained by Angolans.
ACCESSION #
4854145

 

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