Why Europe intervenes in Africa : security, prestige and the legacy of colonialism

Gegout, Catherine, 1973- author

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  • Creator Catherine Gegout
  • Format Books
  • Publication New York, NY : Oxford University Press, [2017] ©2017
  • Physical Details
    • xiii, 400 pages : illustrations, map ; 23 cm
  • ISBNs 9780190845162, 0190845163
  • OCLC ocn982093031


  • Analyzes the underlying causes of all European decisions for and against military interventions in conflicts in African states since the late 1980s. It focuses on the main European actors who have deployed troops in Africa: France, the United Kingdom and the European Union. When conflict occurs in Africa, the response of European actors is generally inaction. This can be explained in several ways: the absence of strategic and economic interests, the unwillingness of European leaders to become involved in conflicts in former colonies of other European states, and sometimes the Eurocentric assumption that conflict in Africa is a normal event which does not require intervention. When European actors do decide to intervene, it is primarily for motives of security and prestige, and not primarily for economic or humanitarian reasons. The weight of past relations with Africa can also be a driver for European military intervention, but the impact of that past is changing. This book offers a theory of European intervention based mainly on realist and post-colonial approaches. It refutes the assumptions of liberals and constructivists who posit that states and organizations intervene primarily in order to respect the principle of the 'responsibility to protect'.


  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 315-370) and index.


  • Acknowledgements -- List of illustrations and tables. Introduction : Theorizing European military intervention -- Security, prestige and weight of neo-colonialism -- A new light on intervention, and rejection of Eurocentrism -- Research design and methodology -- Context: conflict and politics in Africa. 1 A theory of European military intervention : Defining military intervention -- Realism -- Constructivism -- Post-colonialism. 2 Historical background : Colonialism or "robbery with violence" -- Post-decolonization: Europe's protected zones of influence. 3 Actors in military intervention: a global perspective : The developing role of African actors -- Increasing UN presence -- The rising influence of China -- The United States and military expansion. 4 The persistence of the French pré Carré : La Françafrique, French exceptionalism -- A substantial military presence -- Neo-colonial constraints, convenience relations and prestige. 5 The United Kingdom: the colonial legacy, and international prestige : Limited economic and diplomatic presence -- Multilateral military intervention -- "Africa for Africans" and international legitimacy. 6 The European Union: indifference, security and economic interests, prestige : Massive aid and waning trade -- The rise of security diplomacy and civilian crisis management -- Minimal military intervention -- Prestige, security and waning of neo-colonialism. 7 European intervention in Africa: the past and the future : A summary of findings -- Conditions for future interventions, and implications for Africa. Appendix : Situating "why Europe Intervenes in Africa" in the literature. Bibliography -- Index
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