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Selected Publications written or edited by William Minter

2011 - African Migration, Global Inequalities, and Human Rights: Connecting the Dots.
Current African Issues Paper for Nordic Africa Institute.


August 1, 2010 - Oped in Providence Journal U.S.-Africa 'reset' requires honesty about America's wrongs
President Obama has inspired hope in Africa and around the world. Africans who heed his call to build the future, however, must still reckon with the stubborn fact that the United States can be an obstacle as well as a partner.


Spring, 2010 - Foreword to issue of Articulate - End "Aid," Invest in Global Public Goods
Let us agree that the "aid paradigm" is fundamentally flawed, in that it is based on a model of the rich "helping" the poor. But the paradigm advanced by free-market fundamentalism, that poor countries and poor people can and should lift themselves up by their bootstraps, without benefit of support from the wider society, is also fallacious.

April, 2010 - Zimbabwe: Demystifying Sanctions and Strengthening Solidarity, by Briggs Bomba and William Minter
In the case of Zimbabwe today, both supporters and opponents of sanctions exaggerate their importance. The international community, both global and regional, has other tools as well.

October, 2009 - Africa: Climate Change and Natural Resources, by William Minter and Anita Wheeler
Africa will suffer consequences out of all proportion to its contribution to global warming, which is primarily caused by greenhouse gas emissions from wealthy countries. But Africa can also make significant contributions to mitigating (i.e. limiting) climate change, by stopping tropical deforestation and ending gas flaring from oil production.

March, 2009 - Making Peace or Fueling War in Africa, by Daniel Volman and William Minter, for Foreign Policy in Focus html | pdf (283K)
Will de facto U.S. security policy toward the continent focus on anti-terrorism and access to natural resources and prioritize bilateral military relations with African countries? Or will the United States give priority to enhancing multilateral capacity to respond to Africa's own urgent security needs? If the first option is taken, it will undermine rather than advance both U.S. and African security.

February, 2009 - Inclusive Human Security: U. S. National Security Policy, Africa, and the African Diaspora, edited for TransAfrica Forum html (150K) | pdf (2.8M)
Fundamentally, it is necessary not only to present a new foreign policy face to the world, but to shape an international agenda that shows more and more Americans how our own security depends on that of others. The old civil rights adage that "none of us are free until all of us are free" has its corollary in an inclusive human security framework: "None of us can be secure until all of us are secure. "

April, 2008 - Migration and Global Justice, pamphlet written for American Friends Service Committee html | pdf (379K)
"As the global economy drives global inequality, movement across borders inevitably increases. If legal ways are closed, people trying to survive and to support their families will cross fences or set sail on dangerous seas regardless of the risks. "

December, 2007 - "The Armored Bubble: Military Memoirs from Apartheid's Warriors," pp. 147-152 in African Studies Review html | pdf (70K)
"The books reviewed in this essay are a small sample of one genre of war literature: detailed accounts of battle from the perspective of those among South Africa's military veterans who have no question that they were fighting a just cause in defense of their country. "

Jan 31, 2007 - Oped in Providence Journal "Don't replay Iraq in Horn of Africa"
"Somalia is not Iraq, of course. ... But the similarities are nevertheless substantial. The United States and Ethiopia cut short efforts at reconciliation ... They disregarded Somali and wider African opinion in an effort to kill alleged terrorists. And while chalking up military "victories," they aggravated long-term problems."

Jul 8, 2002 - "Invisible Hierarchies: Africa, Race, and Continuities in the World Order" (pdf)
"The failure to acknowledge race as a fundamental feature of today’s unequal world order remains a striking weakness of radical as well as conventional analyses of that order. Current global and national socioeconomic hierarchies are not mere residues of a bygone era of primitive accumulation. Just as it should be inconceivable to address the past, present, and future of American society without giving central attention to the role of African American struggles, so analyzing and addressing 21st-century structures of global inequality requires giving central attention to Africa."
In Science & Society, July, 2005

Jul 8, 2002 - "Aid—Let's Get Real"
"There is an urgent need to pay for such global public needs as the battles against AIDS and poverty by increasing the flow of real resources from rich to poor. But the old rationales and the old aid system will not do. ... For a real partnership, the concept of "aid" should be replaced by a common obligation to finance international public investment for common needs."
In The Nation, July 8, 2002, with Salih Booker.

Nov 3, 1992 - Oped in Christian Science Monitor "Savimbi Should Accept That Democracy Worked in Angola"
"Just one month after Angolans peacefully thronged polling stations in their first multiparty election ever, the conflict-battered Southern African country is on the brink of all-out war. ... The international community, including the US, has been unanimous, in urging Savimbi to accept the election results, but Savimbi and his close-knit group of top officers remain both unpredictable and militarily potent. The new conflict, which appears to the starting, will be hard to contain."

April, 1988 - "When Sanctions Worked: The Case of Rhodesia Reconsidered", with Elizabeth Schimdt, in African Affairs html (97K) | pdf (3.4M)
"Sanctions, while not the only factor in bringing majority rule to Rhodesia, made a significant long-term contribution to that result. ... Moreover, more strongly enforced sanctions could have been even more effective. If Rhodesia's petroleum lifeline had been severed and if South Africa had not served as a back door to international trade, ... the country could not have survived for more than a matter of months."

1968 - "Action against Apartheid," in Bruce Douglas, ed., Reflections on Protest: Student Presence in Political Conflict
"But the government usually seems to be a very distant and unresponsive target [for anti-apartheid protests]. Therefore exposure of U.S.A. business involvement in Southern Africa - by demonstrations, withdrawal campaigns, etc. - is at least equally important.

Editor's Commentary

Savimbi Should Accept That Democracy Worked in Angola

Thursday, November 3, 1992

William Minter

For additional background, analysis, and links on Angola, see http://www.africafocus.org/country/angola.php.

This commentary originally appeared in The Christian Science Monitor (http://www.csmonitor.com).

JUST one month after Angolans peacefully thronged polling stations in their first multiparty election ever, the conflict-battered southern African country is on the brink of all-out war. Even if international condemnation persuades the rebel group UNITA to halt its present offensive, months of uncertainty could pass before a runoff is held between President Eduardo dos Santos, who won 49.6 percent of the vote, and UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi, who got 40.1 percent.

Although Mr. Savimbi was persuaded to accept the election results, which also gave the ruling MPLA a 129-to-70 margin over UNITA in the 220-seat legislature, he still claims the election was marked by massive fraud. Despite lack of support from his former patrons in the United States and South Africa, he has repeatedly threatened to take up arms again.

After the late September vote, UNITA generals withdrew from the formally merged national Army. Savimbi's threats delayed release of the vote totals for two weeks, and incidents of violence have increased ominously.

The international community, including the US, has been unanimous in urging Savimbi to accept the election results. But Savimbi and his closely knit group of top officers remain both unpredictable and militarily potent. Wartime suspicion is close to the surface, and there are abundant arms and trained men left from earlier years. The new conflict, which appears to be starting, will be hard to contain.

If that happens, it will be a tragic sequel to what was an exemplary cease-fire and election process. Coming just 16 months after the May 1991 cease-fire, the Angolan elections faced enormous practical difficulties. Roads are mined; the country's population is almost 60 percent illiterate; and there has been large-scale movement of rural people since the last census in 1970. The country still has separate armies despite the peace-accord proviso that they be demobilized and that a new national Army be created.

International support of the elections was minimal, given the size of the country and level of war devastation. Only an estimated 800 international observes were present, as compared with 6,000 for the 1989 elections in Namibia, a country with less than one- fifth the population.

Nevertheless, international observers were highly impressed with the organization of the election process. The National Electoral Council, including representatives of all parties, made an extraordinary effort to demonstrate openness and impartiality.

AFTER careful study of all the specific complaints received, United Nations observers concluded that the elections were "generally free and fair," and that there was no evidence of "major, systematic or widespread fraud" or of irregularities that could have significantly influenced the result.

Nongovernmental observers agreed. The International Republican Institute, for example, congratulated the "professionalism across the 5,804 polling sites by the electoral officials and party poll watchers." The 39-member delegation of the US-based International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), in which I participated, reported that the elections "constituted a proper and effective application of the mechanism of elective choice of political representatives."

At polling stations, which I with three others observed in the province of Kuanza Norte and other IFES teams monitored in seven other provinces, the voting was directed by five-member teams of electoral officials, chosen for their educational qualifications without regard to party. Party poll watchers were also present in each station. The ruling MPLA and UNITA were represented at almost every station; four parties were represented on average at the 25 polling stations our team visited.

The experience of all the IFES teams, and of other international observers with whom we later compared notes, was that electoral officials and party representatives shared a commitment to the process, taking care that every step be visible to every participant.

The counting process was laborious, due in part to inexperience and to lack of electric light and of transport, but also because of insistence on transparency and consensus. At each station copies of the tallies were available for officials and for each party;everyone present had to sign each copy, providing multiple options for rechecking results.

Even UNITA supporters among US officials stationed in Luanda commented that Savimbi had only himself to blame for the loss. His belligerent campaign, in which he often appeared in uniform armed with a pistol, jarred with Angolans' desire for peace and was exploited by President dos Santos, who projected a peacemaker image.

Despite his grudging concession to the UN verdict and intermittent dialogue with international mediators, Savimbi has never abandoned his threats to resort to war to insure his leadership of Angola. If peace is to prevail, the international community - particularly UNITA's former patrons - must be ready to back up their insistence that Savimbi adhere to peaceful democratic competition. That may mean not only economic sanctions but also military assistance to help keep the peace.

* William Minter, is a scholar in residence at the School of International Service, American University, Washington, D.C.