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War in The Democratic Republic of Congo. Lecture 13. The Logic of War in the Liberal Vision. Deteriorating Economic Conditions Zero-Sum Politics No Democratic Tradition of Compromise and Power Sharing Politics Becomes a Winner Take All Affair

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The Logic of War in the Liberal Vision

  • Deteriorating Economic Conditions

  • Zero-Sum Politics

    • No Democratic Tradition of Compromise and Power Sharing

    • Politics Becomes a Winner Take All Affair

  • Conflict in Environment of Economic Deprivation Often Produces War.


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Adding Realism

  • In the Absence of Prosperity and Democracy, Peace Becomes Dependent Upon Characteristics of the International System.

  • The Power Structure of the International System—Bipolarity vs. Multipolarity.

  • The Ability of International Organizations to Act as Effective Deterrents to War.

  • Thus, the End of the Cold War May Have Contributed to Warfare in Regions Outside of Western Europe.


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African Stability During the Cold War

  • External

    • Colonial Interests and Involvement

    • Superpower Competition

  • Pan-African

    • The Organization of African Unity (OAU) Pledge:

    • Respect Colonial Borders

    • Non-interference in Domestic Politics of Other Countries

  • Result: Relative Stability in Africa.

  • Very “Mearsheimer-esque:” Cold War Conflict Imposed Stable Borders on African Nations.


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Anarchy in Post Cold War Africa

  • External: Withdrawal of US and Soviet Support

  • Regional: Very Weak Regional Institutions

  • Domestic:

    • Economic Collapse—Negative Per Capita GDP Growth during 1980s and 1990s.

    • Collapse of State Authority and Transitions to New Political Regimes.

  • Emergence of Pervasive Conflict.

  • Also Very “Mearsheimer-esque:” End of the Cold War Brings About Resurgent Conflict.


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Zaire: The Mobutu Regime

  • Mobutu and the Kleptocrats, 1960-1990

  • US Support as Bulwark Against Socialism in Africa.

  • End of Cold War Ends US Financial Support.

  • Economic Collapse

    • GDP growth negative since 1989, estimated at -8.0 percent in 1992.

  • Collapse of Political Authority

Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu waza Banga, or, “The

all-conquering warrior who, because of his endurance and

inflexible will to win, will go from conquest to conquest leaving fire in his wake”


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The “Mobutu Effect”

Per Capita Income

Source: World Bank. World Development Indicators on CD-ROM


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War in Zaire

  • Precipitating Causes Lie in 1994 Rwandan Conflict.

  • Refugees and Hutu Extremists in Zaire.

  • Rwanda and Uganda join Forces with Zairian Tutsis to Overthrow Mobutu


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Laurent Kabila


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  • Angola Supports Kabila. of Congo.

    • Involved in Civil War with UNITA

    • Mobutu had supported UNITA, thus Angolan Government Supports Kabila and UNITA supports the RCD


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  • 700,000 Refugees Kabila.

  • 2 Million Dead (?)

  • Ceasefire, July 1999

  • UN Peacekeepers Put in Place (5,537)

  • Fighting Continues

  • January 2001, Kabila Assassinated by Bodyguard

  • Kabila’s Son Installed as President


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The Role of the UN Kabila.

  • During the War, Role Restricted to Humanitarian Aid

  • Since the War, Involved in Peacekeeping and Peacemaking

  • Implications for Liberal Vision?


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Bigger Point 1 Kabila.

  • Collapse of the Cold War Created Anarchic Environment in Large Parts of Africa.

  • Lack Effective Regional Institutions.

  • Conducive to Balance of Power Politics.

  • Increasing Importance of the United Nations.


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Bigger Point 2 Kabila.

  • Mearsheimer Right, but for the Wrong Continent?

  • In the Absence of the Liberal Conditions

    • Prosperity

    • Representative Democracy

    • Institutions

      The End of the Cold War has Ushered in a Period of Anarchy in African Politics.

      Peace Appears to Depend Upon Ability of UN to Act as Effective Deterrent.


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