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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, 2005 - "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, with Salih Booker.

Jun 21, 2001 - "Global Apartheid" (pdf)
"The concept captures fundamental characteristics of today's world order."
In The Nation, 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.

Inclusive Human Security: U.S. National Security Policy, Africa, and the African Diaspora

February 2009, 64 pages pdf (2.8 M)
pdf and other related reports also available on
contents | theme | introduction | threats & opportunities | inclusive human security
implications for national security | implications for policy toward africa & african diaspora

Produced by TransAfrica Forum with the assistance of
the TransAfrica Forum Scholars Council
Clarence Lusane, Ph.D., American University, Council Co-Chair
Joseph Jordan, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Council Co-Chair
William Minter, Ph.D., Editor

With support from:
Brown University Africana Studies Department
Anthony Bogues, Ph.D., Chair

A report of The Human Security Project:
Fostering Debate and Building Consensus for a New National Security Framework



Inclusive Human Security: U.S. National Security Policy, Africa, and the African Diaspora represents TransAfrica Forum's first set of comprehensive recommendations for U.S. policy towards Africa and the African Diaspora. This document comes at a critical time in our country's history. Market fundamentalism, the dominant economic model for over twenty years, has collapsed. Our country's economic future is more uncertain than at any time since the Great Depression.

Since the ascendency of this right-wing economic model, under President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher, the reaction from Africa and the Diaspora has been consistent: these policies known as neo-liberalism have impoverished millions and profoundly damaged prospects for development in the Global South. The current global economic crisis and U.S. recession are now further demonstrating its failure in the United States and other rich countries as well.

While this economic model has been exposed as a failure, the ability of the new administration of Barack H. Obama to make dramatic shift s from these entrenched politics is limited. The Obama victory in and of itself is historic, and cause for celebration if only as a testament to the dramatic distance the country has traveled along the path of social justice. But the new president is constrained by realpolitik and objective economic realities—including a massive national debt, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the costs, now overdue, of decades of under-investment in our domestic infrastructure. Globally, the need for an aggressive and proactive environmental agenda adds new daunting demands. There is a danger that relying on past experience and a large infusion of personnel tied to past policies will suffocate the change that is needed.

Nonetheless, at TransAfrica Forum, we also see tremendous opportunity, if those of us who support a different vision of the future can make our voices heard.

As a nation, we have choices: we can recognize our global interdependence and work in a coordinated fashion with our neighbors and friends around the globe. Unilateralism is costly, inefficient, and, quite frankly, has not worked. In our work with partners throughout the Global South we see that unilateralism has been counterproductive. Millions in Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and other regions of the Global South have paid the highest price; the result has been less rather than more security for the United States.

Charting a new course will not be easy, but it is essential.

This report outlines a bold new framework and agenda for U.S. national security policy. Based upon the principles of human security, it advocates an inclusive vision to replace the narrow focus dominated by traditional security themes. The programs grouped under "foreign assistance" and diplomacy must not only be given higher priority and made more effi cient. They must also be reframed as United States contributions to solving common global problems instead of as optional "charity" or "soft " alternatives to saber-rattling. The report also stresses that in addition to change in administration policies, Congress must reclaim its oversight responsibilities, and American civil society must insist on being included in building new reciprocal and mutually beneficial ties with other countries.

TransAfrica Forum is the oldest and largest African American social justice and human rights organization focused on international affairs. With this report we continue a long tradition of African American engagement in international affairs. From William Sheppard, African-American missionary in the Congo who exposed King Leopold's atrocities at the opening of the 20th century, to the millions who were involved in the antiapartheid movement in the final decades of that century, people of African descent have worked for self-determination of the African continent and for a better world for all. The fates of African descendants in the Americas have been closely linked from the beginning of the slave trade through the late 18th century revolutions in Haiti and North America and into the anti-colonial and anti-racist struggles of recent decades.

TransAfrica Forum has been assisted in this current project by scholars from a number of universities, led by the co-chairs of our Scholars Council, Clarence Lusane and Joseph Jordan. We are grateful for their leadership and scholarship. We are also particularly indebted to Dr. Anthony Bogues, along with the staff of the Africana Studies Department and the Office of International Affairs at Brown University, for their support, and to all members of the TransAfrica Forum staff, who participated in conceptualizing and reviewing the report. William Minter took on the task of editing and integrating multiple drafts into a single document.

The document is intended as the beginning rather than the end of a debate, a first step in what we hope will be an ongoing dialogue. We look forward to real dialogue with policymakers and the public, and to changes that can provide for the human security of both our citizens and those around the world who also long for change that can make a diff erence.

Danny Glover, Chairman of the Board
Nicole C. Lee, Esq., Executive Director


Theme Statement


Section One: Threats and Opportunities in Today's Global Security Environment

Section Two: The Elements of Inclusive Human Security
Human Security
Inclusive Human Security

Section Three: Implications for National Security Policy
Traditional Security: The Role of Arms Control
Conventional Weapons, Including Small Arms
Nuclear Weapons and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Development Policy and Human Security
Transforming U.S. Foreign Policy Institutions

Section Four: Implications for Policy toward Africa and the African Diaspora
U.S.-Africa Relations
U.S. Caribbean Relations
U.S. Relations with Latin American Countries
Immigration and Foreign Policy: The Neglected Links



The election victory of President Barack Obama is historic in and of itself, a cause for celebration if only as a testament to the dramatic distance our country has traveled along the path of social justice. The market fundamentalism and unilateral militarism that have shaped the U.S. stance towards the rest of the world in recent years have clearly failed. Africa and the entire world, as well as the American people, hold enormous expectations for real change.

But the new administration will be constrained by hard economic, strategic, and political realities. It will be weighed down by the bureaucratic and mental inertia of the past, and influenced by vested interests trying to preserve privilege while giving the appearance of change. Despite historic victories and new opportunities, neither our country nor our world is "post-racial." On the contrary, the racially defined history of injustice still shapes today's realities, both national and international.

Charting a new course is essential. But it will not be easy, and it will require fundamental shifts in our thinking:

  • From unilateralism to recognition of our interdependence with other nations and of the urgency of building sustainable multilateral cooperation.
  • From seeking security in narrow military responses to understanding that our long-term security depends on working together with others to find ways to increase common security.
  • From focusing exclusively on threats from violent enemies to paying attention to less conventional threats that endanger us all—climate change, epidemics, natural disasters, economic disasters, and even the unpredictable side effects of accelerating technological changes.
  • From assuming that markets will take care of themselves and that the rich can find security in building higher walls to accepting that both self-interest and our common humanity require investment in basic economic and social rights for all.
  • From privileging U.S. relations with powerful friends and enemies in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, while continuing to treat historically marginalized regions such as Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America as afterthoughts, to accepting the fact that a truly global vision requires overcoming the historical, racial, and geographical inequities from which these regions still suffer.
New Approaches for U.S. National Security Policy

Implementing such a vision requires building popular understanding and pressure, as well as step-by-step action in both executive and legislative arenas. It is essential to begin now. Changing overall policy structures and guidelines should go hand-in-hand with new initiatives for Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America. TransAfrica Forum recommends that the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress consider the following four strategies as stepping stones toward a new relationship with Africa and the Diaspora:

1. Reduce U.S. Military Spending and Invest in Reducing Threats Through Cooperative Security Measures, Arms Reduction, and Multilateral Peace Initiatives

Congress and the new administration should thoroughly review the U.S. security budget, with a view to systematically reassessing what programs actually serve U.S. interests and redirecting resources to diplomatic initiatives, threat reduction, arms reduction, and multilateral programs covering the full range of threats to human security.

With respect to Africa, the United States should stop the militarization of policy by reversing the decision to establish AFRICOM and reviewing all bilateral military cooperation with African states and anti-terrorism initiatives to ensure they do not reinforce non-democratic regimes, contribute to ongoing conflicts, or stimulate new conflicts. Instead, U.S. security policy towards Africa should focus on strengthening multilateral peacemaking and peacekeeping capacity, by the African Union, African regional groups, and the United Nations.

With respect to the Caribbean and Latin America, the United States should stop the militarization of the "war on drugs" and concomitant collaboration with repressive military forces. Instead, it should focus on regional cooperation to meet the threats of drug smuggling and other criminal activities. In the case of Colombia, the United States should cease funding for military operations in Colombia carried out by U.S. or Colombian governments or private military contractors and redirect those funds toward beneficiary-driven, alternative economic development programs. It is also important for the U.S. to undertake diplomatic initiatives to find common ground and reduce tensions with states currently perceived as enemies, particularly Cuba and Venezuela.

2. Reform Structures for Economic Recovery to Refl ect Interdependence and Cooperation Rather Than Blind Reliance on Market Forces

The economic collapse experienced this year has forced even the most rigid believer in the magic of free markets to recognize the need for public action to stabilize the economy, provide emergency assistance to industries and families struggling to survive, create new transparent regulatory structures, and promote public and private investment for a sustainable future. This is an opportunity that must not be missed. It is time to recast free trade agreements based on the false premise of self-regulating markets and to establish more democratic and accountable international mechanisms for economic cooperation. Reductions in subsidies and other trade barriers should ensure protection of the most vulnerable rather than defer to privileged economic interests. It is imperative that these new initiatives take account not only of the interests of established powers and rising new powers such as China, India, and Brazil, but also of regions and sectors that have been left behind. Moreover, a narrow focus on short- term growth must be broadened to take into account the impact on the environment and long-term sustainability of resources.

With respect to Africa, the United States should accelerate bilateral and international actions to cancel unsustainable debt of African countries. It should also support reform of international financial agencies dealing with Africa to promote democratization and transparency of decision-making, open dialogue on economic policies without ideological preconceptions, and accountability to and input from national and regional civil society and legislative bodies. It should cooperate with UN specialized agencies and African policy analysts, instead of privileging narrow macroeconomic prescriptions from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

With respect to the Caribbean and Latin America, with their particularly close ties with the United States, U.S. policy should be directed at mutually benefi cial economic ties that respect the rights of workers and the public interest, including protections for indigenous and Afro-descendant territorial rights and for other marginalized population groups. Whether the U.S. is engaging with large economic powers, such as Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela, or smaller countries, such as Haiti, it should seek partnerships based on mutual respect and common-ground issues. While approximately half of U.S. aid in Latin America is dedicated to military and related programs, economies are increasingly vulnerable and inequality is on the rise. U.S. policy should also include the prompt, unconditional cancellation of Haiti's debt, and providing long-term support to address infrastructure capacity and humanitarian needs.

Immigration and refugee policy is an essential component of U.S. economic, political, and security relations with the Caribbean and Latin America, and increasingly with some African countries as well. This issue must be addressed both in terms of respect for human rights and due process and in terms of the economic interests of workers in both the United States and immigrant-sending countries. A particularly urgent example of needed policy change is to extend temporary protected status to Haitians. While deportations were suspended in the summer of 2008 aft er repeated hurricane damage, they have now resumed, imposing an extraordinary burden on both the deportees and the devastated Haitian economy.

3. Restructure U.S. Foreign Assistance Agencies to Foster Cooperative Engagement with Other Countries and International Agencies to Confront Global Problems

Despite the size of U.S. foreign assistance programs, leading the world at over $21 billion in 2007, our country consistently ranks at the bottom among other rich countries in the percentage of national income devoted to official development aid (0.16 percent as compared to the international commitment of 0.7 percent). Independent evaluations also rank the United States below average in measures of aid effectiveness, such as prioritizing sustainability, use of local resources, and results-based accountability over political and commercial considerations and ideologically driven policy conditions. Management of aid is spread among more than 45 U.S. agencies, and genuine cooperation with international and local authorities is more the exception than the rule.

It is essential not only to restructure foreign assistance programs for greater efficiency, but also to reframe U.S. contributions to internationally agreed efforts to meet common goals. The United States should contribute its fair share to meet the needs defined by institutions representing all stakeholders in critical sectors, following models such as that pioneered by the innovative work of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. Bilateral programs should be coordinated with international programs to confront priority issues, as defined in the universally agreed Millennium Development Goals. U.S. assistance programs must also be accountable to democratic institutions and civil society in the countries where programs are implemented.

With respect to Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America, programs currently defined as falling under foreign assistance must be integrated within broader frameworks of regional and bilateral cooperation. Th is cooperation should aim to bolster growth at the country level and advance bold reforms to tackle poverty and inequality. These must be based on dialogue, transparency, and maximizing eff orts to reach common goals. There must be recognition of the close interrelationship of issues most often compartmentalized into security, economic, humanitarian, and development sectors. Beneficiaries of programs must be treated with respect and as valued participants in design, monitoring and evaluation of development projects. Program goals should include leveraging human capital and increasing empowerment and economic autonomy.

4. Integrate Regional Collaboration and Bilateral Partnerships to Foster an Inclusive Approach to Resolve Issues within Each Region

The United States must build greater capacity to set priorities and implement programs over a wide range of sectors, including traditional and unconventional security threats, bilateral economic relations, and investment in common public goods such as health and development. These sectors intersect in increasingly complex patterns and engage diverse agencies in such a way that it is impossible for these tasks to be integrated simply through the traditional mechanisms of foreign embassies in Washington and U.S. embassies in host countries.

It is imperative to develop new structures for communication, dialogue, and coordination, involving governments, civil society groups, and the private sector in both the United States and countries/regions in which the United States is engaged. One possible partial model to build on is the bi-national commission, including regular meetings at cabinet and department level, which has been used at times for U.S. government relations with key states, such as Mexico and South Africa. Such commissions linking government departments should be supplemented by more active U.S. engagement in regional collaborative agencies in specific sectors, and by encouraging further coordination through offices of the United Nations Development Program, which has among its tasks the parallel coordination of the multiple agencies in the United Nations system.

With respect to Africa, it is urgent to establish such frameworks for broader dialogue including African and U.S. civil society, policy analysts, legislators, and a wide variety of government sectors rather than, as is now the case, to privilege the expansion of military ties through AFRICOM, EUCOM, and CENTCOM and of trade ties through the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

With respect to the Caribbean and Latin America, it is essential to explore how regional bodies such as CARICOM, the Organization of American States, and UNASUR (the Union of South American Countries) can help advance the inclusive consideration of common problems and of

U.S. relations with neighbors to the south. Such regional cooperation is particularly imperative in addressing the issue of immigration, as well as all other aspects of economic and security relationships.


For more than three decades, TransAfrica Forum and its affi liate organization TransAfrica have been in the forefront of promoting a human rights-based U.S. foreign policy that would serve to benefi t and advance the interests of Africans, people of African descent, and other marginalized and excluded peoples in the United States and around the world, as well as of the American people in general. U.S. foreign policy should promote freedom for oppressed people, racial and gender equality, social justice, mass-based democracy, and sustainable economic and environmental development practices in Africa, in other countries where people of African descent reside, and for the global community.

Since the founding of TransAfrica in 1977, we have spoken out to the American public and its elected and appointed leaders regarding the interests of black people internationally. We have worked with activists, political leaders, scholars, and others who have been on the frontline in seeking justice, human rights, and democratic societies.

President Barack Obama, his new executive team, and the new Congress must urgently address fundamental problems in U.S. foreign policy, and a legacy of eroded national image and legitimacy of the United States around the world. The United States is in perhaps its most unfavorable position globally in the nation's history. The election of Barack Obama has raised extraordinary hopes, but these have no chance of being fulfi lled without a new policy framework and new direction that is inclusive of global concerns and meets an unprecedented range of challenges. New policies must address inclusive human security rather than only military challenges, balancing traditional measures of strength with capacity to forge cooperative solutions to the world's common problems.

This new framework for U.S. foreign policy must also include an understanding of and commitment to ending racialized oppression— often manifest in ethnic, religious, and economic disputes—that impacts nearly every nation and region globally. The crises facing many in Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and other regions where people of African descent live, work, and play are built on an accumulation of intersecting issues including race, class, nation, and gender among others. Such concerns must be an integral part of U.S. foreign policy strategy, rather than aft erthoughts.

At present, U.S. foreign policy rests on the assumption that the critical threats in the international system and against the United States come from rogue states, from resurgent Cold War enemies such as Russia and China, and from international terrorists. This is a very narrow framework, an usagainst- them way of looking at the world that virtually ensures unilateral and counterproductive responses. In reality, the obvious security threats are fostered by social, political, and economic instabilities and stimulated by unequal power relations and lack of accountability on the part of large states. A foreign policy that emphasizes social justice, human rights, and economic fairness would go a long way towards resolving those instabilities.


The current levels of animosity toward the United States are the result of eight years of arrogant posturing, detrimental policies, aggressive militarism, and the unilateralism of the George W. Bush administration. The rise in anti-Americanism in the early years of the 21st century is in many ways anti-Bushism and is a rejection of the specific actions, policies and declarations of the Bush years. While this builds on the legacy of the entire period following World War II, and particularly on the Cold War years, and on policies continued in the period of American triumphalism following the Cold War, the gap between the United States and its allies has grown considerably at a time when urgent common problems call instead for a new spirit of dialogue and cooperation. Ironically, the extremes of the Bush years have also exposed the flaws of policies shared with previous administrations, such as the exaggerated faith in free market trade policies and in reliance on U.S. military predominance.

Revulsion toward the United States is driven by very real policies carried out by the Bush administration. The administration brazenly violated both U.S. and international norms at a rate that shocked the world. Th e appalling list of transgressions includes, but is not limited to:

  • Sanctioning of torture in violation of both U.S. and international law
  • Invading Iraq on the basis of hyped-up and misleading intelligence
  • Facilitating a war between Israel and Hezbollah
  • Attempting to further militarize Africa with AFRICOM
  • Withdrawing from the Kyoto Agreement to slow global warming
  • Establishing "secret" prisons in Europe and elsewhere where detainees in the war on terror were sent and tortured
  • Carrying out "extraordinary renditions" where individuals captured under the aegis of the war on terrorism were sent to countries such as Egypt and Syria to be tortured
  • Creating the Guantanamo gulag
  • Giving succor and support to dictators such as Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Egypt's Mohammad Mubarak, and Pakistan's former President Pervez Musharraf

In this hemisphere, the Bush administration has woefully exacerbated critically needed humanitarian needs and severe human rights violations, notably in the cases of Haiti and Colombia. After playing what many consider a questionable role in the departure of former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti was virtually forgotten by the Bush administration and U.S. policy-makers. In Colombia, Afro-Colombians bear a disproportionate burden of the U.S.-sponsored war on drugs, while the U.S. and Colombian governments have pushed for a new trade pact that would reinforce inequalities.

Issues of special concern to Africa and the Diaspora were also egregiously mismanaged. Whether the issue was the election calamity in Zimbabwe, "anti-terrorism" operations that reinforce repressive regimes in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, human rights in Colombia and Haiti or the treatment of immigrants, including Afro-Latinos, the United States under the Bush administration was consistently on the wrong side. Even while declaring a genocide in Darfur in the Sudan, the administration consistently failed to take consequential action to pressure the Sudanese government and support international peacekeepers.

On AIDS, extraordinary public mobilization, led by AIDS activists in South Africa, internationally and in the United States, resulted in signifi cant advances over these eight years. The results have been significant, even if still inadequate. President Clinton, whose administration was missing in action on AIDS in Africa, became an effective campaigner on the issue after leaving office. President Bush, whose USAID administrator initially dismissed antiretroviral treatment for Africans as impractical because "Africans can't tell time", now finds that the presidential AIDS program is one of the few accomplishments he can claim for history. Yet even in this arena, the U.S. response has been hobbled by deference to pharmaceutical companies and right-wing ideology on key issues of women's rights, resulting in policy prescriptions that have made the funds invested less effective.

The end of the Bush era in itself provides new opportunities. Th e world looks forward to an administration that is more ready to use diplomacy, that is willing to meet with adversaries, and that is willing to work with other nations to address global concerns ranging from economic development, to environmental dangers to terrorism. Yet today's challenges cannot be fixed by a return to the policies of the pre-Bush years. There are new challenges and unresolved issues that require more fundamental change.


Since the end of the Cold War, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, U.S. foreign policy has floundered. As in the Cold War period, Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America have been neglected and abused; fundamental issues of global inequality and instability have not been addressed. The assumption that the United States must maintain and expand political, economic, and military dominance over the rest of the world has not been fundamentally challenged. Instead it has been embraced across partisan lines. Yet the challenges facing the United States are increasingly common challenges shared with the entire world. Although still the single largest power, the United States stands no chance of resolving these problems without shifting to a posture of cooperation rather than unilateral dominance. Unless this happens, then more diplomacy and better image management will still fall short.

Even better-managed military forces will continue to be inadequate or counterproductive in meeting elusive challenges of terrorism, drugs, or piracy. Natural disasters and social instability will continue to produce new anger and new recruits to violence.

Finding new enemies to replace the simplistic paradigms of the Cold War cannot produce security. What the American people—indeed, people around the world—want is not just a new administration with old ideas but new leaders willing to take U.S. foreign policy in a new direction. In virtually every area of foreign policy, there is a need for original thinking, innovative paradigms, and fresh strategies to solve the most vexing problems facing the global community.

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. Th e 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."

This report traces out the key elements of such an inclusive agenda for U.S. foreign policy, illustrating the principles with a number of examples in specific policy sectors and particularly with respect to Africa and the African Diaspora. It is organized in four sections:

Section One outlines the features of new threats and opportunities in the current global security environment, spelling out the need for approaches that include but are not driven by traditional security threats.

Section Two outlines the elements of an inclusive human security framework, building on the extensive work done in this arena by scholars and international agencies in the last two decades.

Section Three explores the implications of an inclusive human security framework for national security policy, touching in particular on the balance of short-term and longer-term responses to direct security threats, on economic development and cooperation, and on the need and opportunities for institutional reform.

Section Four illustrates the implications of an inclusive human security framework for policy towards Africa and other countries with significant African Diaspora populations, specifically in the Caribbean and Latin America.


In the first decade of the 21st century, the United States and the world are facing profound changes in the shape of threats to our security. Th e traditional threats of conventional or even nuclear wars between states have not disappeared. But they have been eclipsed by a host of new realities. Intelligence agencies, foreign policy and military offi cials of the outgoing Bush administration, and analysts across the political spectrum agree: the boundaries between military, economic, and other threats are porous. Violent non-state actors are no longer confined to the periphery. And social and economic crises have direct, not just theoretical, implications for the scale of violent threats to us all.

The list of new threats is familiar to all of us from the daily news. Terrorism from 9/11 to Mumbai. Internal wars and disorder that take their deadly toll in the Congo, Sudan's Darfur, Somalia, and elsewhere. Pandemics from HIV/AIDS to the next unpredictable flu virus that may emerge. Global warming and climate change, punctuated by natural disasters compounded by human failure such as Hurricane Katrina. Spiraling economic crises that have shown they can bring down the rich and devastate the moderately well-off as well as heighten the suff ering of the poor. The direct connection between social and economic chaos and the number of recruits to political or criminal violence, in our cities as well as in foreign countries.

The temptation, however, is still to apply military metaphors—and military strategies—to the new threats rather than to make systematic adjustments in strategy. Witness the "global war on terror" or the "war on drugs." Even when military strategists give more weight to "winning hearts and minds" than to military hardware, the tendency is to tack on development and propaganda functions to the military, rather than to make fundamental changes that will reduce the role of the military in meeting threats it is ill-equipped to confront.

Changing this pattern requires a comprehensive analysis of threats that goes beyond military perspectives, even within the realm of threats of physical violence. Non-state actors with access to the means of violence now include not only rebel groups within a single country, but complex international terrorist networks, pirates, drug smugglers, people smugglers, and both organized and unorganized criminals making use of the latest technologies. When confronting such a diverse and decentralized set of threats, a response aimed at "taking out the enemy" at all costs is not only doomed to failure, but it is also likely to be counterproductive. Indiscriminately expanding the state's security apparatus not only threatens our rights but also misuses resources. Th e effects of invasions, commando raids, torture, and aggressive profiling and targeting of suspect groups must be weighed not just in terms of enemies killed and perpetrators arrested, but also in terms of social disruption, heightened animosities, and expanding the pool of recruits to terror and crime.

Expanding the military response, moreover, diverts attention and resources from directly addressing the full range of threat-producing issues with strategies that are appropriate and forward-looking. Th ere are no simple formulas for engaging the diversity and complexity of the issues beyond the military sphere, in the economy, the environment, and other sectors. But in the light of the current crises, the disastrous impact of ignoring their implications for our security is undeniable.

That recognition, and its reflection in the hopes for change under the Obama presidency, means that the scope of threats also provides new opportunities. Ironically, one of the most significant opportunities can be found in a new development that many analysts still present as a threat, namely the rise of a multi-polar world in which United States power is increasingly limited by other rising powers and international non-state networks. The monopoly of global governance by rich countries is declining. That makes U.S. participation in genuine constructive multilateralism not only an option but a necessity.

The most familiar element of this new reality is the rise of the powers collectively referred to under the new acronym BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). In 2001 Goldman Sachs argued that by 2050 the combined incomes of these four large powers could eclipse the combined economies of the world's current richest countries. Today China is poised to play the role that the United States occupied in the previous century— the locomotive of global developments. China's rising economic infl uence in Africa is particularly notable and prominent in recent news. While Africans have many questions about the human rights implications of Chinese involvement, the entry of another alternative to dependence on Western Europe and North America is welcome. The global impact of India, Brazil, and Russia on developing countries is less widely discussed, but their increased influence has been clearly visible in international negotiations on trade and other economic issues—including consultations on response to the global economic crisis in 2008.

Yet the changes in the world scene go far beyond the shift in the configuration of big powers by adding the BRICs to the traditional triad of North America, Western Europe, and Japan. Both at the global level and at regional levels, new multilateral initiatives are accelerating communication, consultation, and cooperation on mutual interest among small as well as large countries of the Global South. This is not totally new, of course. Even during the period of the Cold War, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of African Unity, and blocs of developing countries such as the Group of 77 at the United Nations (formed in 1964 and now counting 130 member states) have taken stands and, in some cases (such as the anti-apartheid struggle) had decisive influence.

In recent years, new communications developments have helped accelerate the formation and the practical functioning of such networks, from groups such as island states particularly affected by the impact of global warming to alliances of small countries and civil society from both North and South that have taken leadership in the campaigns against land mines and, more recently, against cluster munitions. For example, in December 2008 more than 100 countries signed the ban on cluster munitions, although the prominent non-signatories included the United States, Brazil, Russia, China, India, and Pakistan.

Particularly significant—although generally neglected in the United consultation, and States foreign policy debate—is the development of new frameworks of thinking about global issues within the multinational arena. Punctuated by a series of United Nations conferences involving not only countries but also parallel civil society gatherings—the best known have been the series of conferences on women culminating in the 1995 Beijing meeting— international agencies have promoted systematic, pioneering, and wide- ranging research on global problems. In international agencies and multilateral forums, moreover, opportunities for creative leadership to . . come from citizens and representatives of small as well as large countries have opened up. Small rich countries, such as the Nordic countries, have long played a critical role in leadership in multilateral institutions, as have exceptional leaders from the Global South. Those opportunities have now been expanded by an order of magnitude.

Among the results has been a developing understanding, among both scholars and practitioners, of integrating frameworks of human security and human development. The Human Development Reports of the United Nations Development Programme have given an impressive theoretical and empirical base to these concepts. While these perspectives have gained wide currency among scholars and among many governments around the world, with the participation of many analysts and practitioners from the United States, offi cial and mainstream U.S. discourse has lagged behind. The opportunities for new directions, should the United States decide to reduce its self-imposed intellectual isolation, contributing to as well as learning from others in the international community, are enormous.


An inclusive human security framework that meets the requirements of both United States national security and global security in the 21st century must expand the scope of traditional security thinking in two primary ways:

(1) Inherent in the concept of human security is recognition of the tight interconnection between threats from violence by both state and non- state actors and the wider environment (economic, social, and natural) within which we must function. Driven by the current economic crisis, recognition of this reality is growing rapidly.

(2) Less widely acknowledged is the need for a framework that is inclusive in that it not only takes into account the most powerful friends and enemies, but also confronts the inherited and growing inequalities within nations and on the international arena. Fundamental to this kind of inclusiveness, and the opportunities for our country to fi nd security in a majority-minority world, is the history of race and, in particular, the role of Africa and the African Diaspora. Of equally strategic importance is the imperative to make human security inclusive of both men and women, addressing the gender inequities that are still pervasive in societies around the world.


The concept of human security has multiple genealogies, but the formulation which has been widely accepted as the "founding moment" was articulated in the 1994 Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The concept has also been associated with the foreign policy of some middle level countries, Canada being the most notable. Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy wrote that "Human security today puts people first and recognizes that their safety is integral to the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security. The security of states is essential, but not suffi cient…." His statement is one of the clearest presentations of this now widely shared understanding:

The meaning of security is being transformed. Security traditionally has focused on the state because its fundamental purpose is to protect its citizens. Hobbled by economic adversity, outrun by globalization, and undermined from within by bad governance, the capacity of some states to provide this protection has increasingly come into question. This incapacity is particularly obvious in war-torn societies. The state has, at times, come to be a major threat to its population's rights and welfare—or has been incapable of restraining the warlords or paramilitaries—rather than serving as the protector of its people. This drives us to broaden the focus of security beyond the level of the state and toward individual human beings, as well as to consider appropriate roles for the international system to compensate for state failure.

—Lloyd Axworthy, "Human Security and Global Governance: Putting People First," Global Governance, 7, 2001, pp. 19-23.

The UNDP's 1994 formulation stressed that human security should be regarded as people-centered, universal, best ensured through early prevention, and consisting of interdependent components. It includes both freedom from fear and freedom from want. The report listed seven major categories of human security: economic security, food security, health security, environmental security, personal security (including threats of both state and non-state violence), community security, and political security.

In the period since this formulation, there has been much debate about the relationship of the different elements of human security, and in particular the relationship between those most directly associated with freedom from fear and the more encompassing set of factors associated with freedom from want.

Freedom from fear is built largely on the philosophical principle of individual, liberal, democratic rights. This is why, in fact, human security is sometimes called individual security. Freedom from want is based more on issues of the global economic system, and especially around issues of staggering inequalities in the vital aspects of life—nutrition, health, education, and among others, employment. It is important to note that these inequalities, accentuated by global policies of free-market fundamentalism, characterize not only relationships between countries but also inequalities within countries, in the Global North as well as in the Global South.


The threats coming from extreme inequalities both within and among countries are generally recognized as a major factor aff ecting human security. But their significance is most commonly underestimated. TransAfrica Forum is convinced that this aspect needs to be front-and center, and that understanding it is essential to shaping the fundamental changes needed not only in foreign policy but also the concepts of national identity that unconsciously shape our understanding of the role of the United States in the world.

In 1966, Senator Robert Kennedy, speaking to the National Union of Students in South Africa, highlighted the significance of this history in his opening remarks:

"I came here because of my deep interest and aff ection for a land settled by the Dutch in the mid-seventeenth century, then taken over by the British, and at last independent; a land in which the native inhabitants were at first subdued, but relations with whom remain a problem to this day; a land which defined itself on a hostile frontier; a land which has tamed rich natural resources through the energetic application of modern technology; a land which once imported slaves, and now must struggle to wipe out the last traces of that former bondage. I refer, of course, to the United States of America."

—Robert F. Kennedy, University of Cape Town, 6 June 1966.

It was that commonality between the history of South Africa and the United States that energized the mobilization of the anti-apartheid movement in the United States in the last half of the 20th century. If the United States is to shift towards an understanding of "inclusive human security" that goes beyond paying attention to the rich and powerful, there must be a similar understanding of the parallels between the past and present of our country and the deep structural divisions still embedded around the world.

Although it has taken on a special character in the current era of accelerating globalization, world-wide interconnectedness is not new, as instanced most dramatically by the history of slavery and the slave trade. After slavery, the fates of Africa and its descendants outside the continent were linked by parallel histories of colonialism, disenfranchisement, and marginalization in the Americas as well as in Africa. Until the independence of scores of Asian and African countries in the 1950s and 1960s, international institutions were virtually monopolized by rich Western countries—an imbalance which continues today in the Security Council and in institutions managing the world economy.

What is new is the pace and depth of interconnectedness. Financial crises affecting Wall Street echo instantaneously on stock markets around the world. Terrorists can use the Internet to plot attacks on skyscrapers an ocean away. Global warming brings drought to the Horn of Africa, and increases the ferocity of natural disasters on American coastlines as well. The new challenges impact rich as well as poor, white as well as black. But on virtually every global issue, Africa and people of African descent endure a horrendously disproportionate share of the damage. Poverty, war, the global AIDS pandemic, climate change, and the polarizing eff ects of economic globalization—in every case, Africa and African populations around the world are particularly vulnerable.

In their 2002 book The Miner's Canary, Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres made the point eloquently:

Those who are racially marginalized are like the miner's canary: their distress is the first sign of a danger that threatens us all. It is easy enough to think that when we sacrifi ce this canary, the only harm is to communities of color. Yet others ignore problems that converge around racial minorities at their own peril, for these problems are symptoms warning us that we are all at risk.

Traditionally, both the foreign policy establishment and most Americans have conceived foreign policy as a series of bilateral relationships, with priority given to a small number of prominent "friends" and "enemies". Africa and African states have rarely made either list, although many have argued that the continent should have special priority given that it was the origin of more than 10 percent of the American people. Today, it is increasingly obvious that such a state-centered approach fails to correspond to the complex and changing realities of trans-border and trans-continental issues. A new vision of U.S. foreign policy must not only take account of Europe, the Middle East, and the rising Asian giants of China and India. It must also acknowledge Africa's central place in the resolution of global crises, and the significance of close U.S. ties with other regions with large African-descendant populations. Similarly, it must recognize the strategic centrality of women's rights to inclusive human security, whether in such realms as health and education or in response to war and other forms of violence.

The Caribbean and Latin America ("so far from God, so close to the United States", runs the Mexican saying) are intimately connected to the United States through trade and immigration, but consistently neglected in broader strategic discussions of foreign policy. While this area becomes front and center in hybrid domestic/foreign issues such as immigration and the war on drugs, these arenas are rarely understood in their broader foreign policy context. Even less acknowledged is the fact that African- descendant populations are significant not only on the Caribbean islands, but also in large and strategically important countries on the South American continent, such as Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil.

The percentage of immigrants in the U.S. population has risen from 4.7 percent in 1970, to 12.5 percent in 2006, and may soon exceed its 1910 high of 14.7 percent. While more than half the 30 million immigrants are from Mexico and Asia, some 3 million come from the Caribbean. One million are from Africa, part of a rapidly increasing group as globalization fuels African migrant flows across the Atlantic as well as south to South Africa and north to Europe.

Yet, with the notable exception of anti-Castro Cuban exiles, none of these immigrant groups plays a prominent role in shaping public conceptions of the role of the United States in the world. The wealth of insights and networks they bring are more likely to be regarded as threat than as opportunity. And often they are pitted against each other, and against African Americans and other minorities, in competition for jobs and resources.

The task of changing " foreign policy" perspectives must be paired with the tasks of building a new society at home that can bring justice to and recognize the contributions of all sectors of our society and body politic. Th is in turn requires that policy reorientations must be guided by an inclusive vision of human security.

This does not mean, of course, that one can assume consensus or a monopoly of wisdom among countries or communities that have not been included in the debate, any more than among any more historically privileged community. But the fact is that common experiences of oppression do give insights that are often invisible to those in a position of privilege. African Americans, and many other Americans, have identifi ed with historical struggles against racial and ethnic oppression. Th at history and that identification is a rich resource for shaping a vision of the United States that joins with the world rather than seeks to dominate it.

An inclusive human security framework also requires acknowledgement of the central role of women, both as disproportionately affected by threats to human security and as agents in finding new solutions. Women bear more of the burden in wartime, even when they are non-combatants, as victims of sexual violence and as those who must assume responsibility for families. Likewise, the burdens of HIV/AIDS and chronic diseases fall most heavily on women. Food crises particularly affect women, given both their family responsibilities and the fact that in Africa and other areas, they contribute the major part of agricultural labor.

When women are empowered as agents of change, the results benefi t not only women but society at large. Education of women, for example, is one of the most cost-effective methods of promoting better health, respect for human rights, and increased pressure for resolution of conflicts. While the participation of a handful of individual women in government may or may not bring suffi cient change, wider participation of women in governance shows a strong correlation with greater attention to societal needs. In opinion polls in the United States, gender is one of the few factors that is associated with differences on broad foreign issues, with women more open to multilateral action and diplomacy and more skeptical about the unilateral use of force.

Critics of the human security framework say that the concept is too vague, and that it groups too many diverse threats to enable offi cials to prioritize responses realistically. There is no doubt that different threats do require different responses, and that there must be informed decisions about allocating resources. But it is even more shortsighted and unrealistic to ignore the fact that threats are interrelated and that traditional national security responses are inadequate to today's complex realities. Continuing to focus primarily on the military defeat of enemies, while subordinating or assimilating other threats to that simplistic model, is not only ineff ective. In terms of diminishing the threats to real human security, it is also counterproductive.


From the perspective of inclusive human security, the immediate implications for national security policy are that it is necessary (1) to expand the scope of policies considered to be relevant for security and (2) to re-order priorities based on long-term considerations and on the interrelationship between diff erent sectors.

In this section we consider several critical examples illustrating how new thinking is required to confront the realities of the 21st century. First we focus, within the traditional security sector, on arms control in particular. Th en we turn to the relevance of policy on economic development and cooperation to the inclusive human security agenda. And finally we address the need for institutional reform of U.S. executive programs concerning foreign policy issues, as well as the critical roles of Congress and of public involvement.


The United States must reduce military spending and invest in reducing threats through arms reduction, cooperative security measures, and multilateral peace initiatives. Congress and the new administration should systematically review the U.S. security budget, with a view to cutting wasteful military programs and redirecting resources to diplomatic initiatives, threat reduction, arms reduction, and multilateral programs covering the full range of threats to human security.

Within the traditional security arena, focused on enemy states and on hostile insurgent groups, the most important changes needed should build on the emerging consensus that it is far more effective to anticipate and reduce threats than to confront them with military force once they have already gained momentum. It is time to implement the familiar mantra that military force should be the last resort rather than the fi rst resort. The ways to do this include proactive diplomacy (probably the most widely accepted in principle although rarely implemented), strengthening multilateral peacekeeping and peacemaking capacity (to be discussed below with particular reference to Africa), and, oft en underestimated except with respect to nuclear weapons, arms control.

Over the last eight years the traditional role of arms control in promoting U.S. security and foreign policy has been challenged by the Bush administration. The president has argued that arms control constrains U.S. action and is therefore detrimental to U.S. national security, and that the need has been outdated because of the fall of the Soviet Union. Both assumptions are false. Arms control has not only contributed signifi cantly to United States security by reducing the number and types of weapons it faces, it has also created a process of dialogue and alternative channels for diplomacy with other states. The international community, and humanity more broadly, has benefi ted as certain classes of weapons and locations for weapons placements have been ruled out of bounds.

Arms control can make a significant contribution to threat reduction. Th is requires not only reinvigorating traditional efforts focused on nuclear arms reduction and non-proliferation. It also requires replacing commercial and security policies that encourage the proliferation of conventional weapons, including small arms, with policies aimed at limiting the spread of such weapons, particularly in zones of conflict and instability. The extension of more technologically advanced small arms to non-state actors as well as to repressive regimes threatens U.S. security as well as the security of other countries.

While the high priority given to the case of nuclear weapons is justifi ed by the enormous destruction that can be caused by a single use of such weaponry, arms control efforts must give equally high priority to the widespread damage done by conventional weapons, including small arms. The cumulative toll of these weapons, in the hands not only of states but also of terrorist groups, militia, drug smugglers, pirates, and criminals of all kinds, is not only a present threat to security in almost every country but also one that is rapidly widening its reach.

Arms control efforts, by their nature, can never be totally successful. However, even when they fall short, the positive eff ects can be substantial. Fewer arms can reduce the severity as well as the length of confl icts, and contacts with enemies—even "rogue states" or groups committed to extremist ideologies—can serve to peel off supporters and reinforce moderates who are willing to compromise. Inclusive efforts to reduce the damage done by conflict are essential to creating a more equitable international order capable of fostering international peace and security. Arms control should be seen to be a universal concern, not an eff ort confined to the most powerful nuclear powers with permanent positions on the United Nations Security Council.

Conventional Weapons, including Small Arms

Most U.S. arms control negotiations have focused on limiting nuclear weapons and placing restraints on their development. However, the more immediate threat faced by much of humanity is from conventional weapons. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, each of the last ten years has seen, on average, 17 active "major armed confl icts." Non-state conflicts are even more numerous with between 21 and 32 active conflicts per year since 2002. In 2007, for example, there were 14 major armed conflicts underway; collectively over time these confl icts alone have been directly responsible for over 350,000 deaths, the majority of which are in developing countries in Africa and Asia.

Small arms, defined as those weapons that can normally be carried by one person, include automatic weapons such as the AK-47, grenades, landmines, cluster munitions, and others. Advances in technology make many of these weapons usable even by child soldiers, and their wide diffusion promotes increased violence not only from political but also from criminal groups.

The United States has been a crucial supplier of arms to these confl icts. It leads the world in transfers of conventional weapons, accounting for some 31 percent of global arms transfers between 2003-2007. Over 65 percent of these transfers go to developing states. Many go to countries at war. In 2003, for example, the United States provided weapons to 18 of 25 countries that were involved in military conflicts. More than half of these countries were defined by the U.S. State Department as "undemocratic."

The United States provides weapons as part of foreign aid, allowing countries to buy weapons at greatly reduced prices, and selling weapons that are in excess of U.S. military needs (the Excess Defense Articles program). State Department employees can be rewarded for brokering arms sales agreements. Collectively, these activities constitute Foreign Military Assistance. For fiscal year 2008 the administration requested over $4.5 billion, with top recipients being Israel ($2.4 billion) and Egypt ($1.3 billion). In Latin America and the Caribbean, for example, the United States provided some $7.3 billion in military assistance over the period 1997 to 2007, most for counter-narcotics programs, with Colombia strongly represented (

Given the political will, there are a number of measures that can be taken immediately to slow the spread of conventional weapons:

  • Reduce the U.S. role in conventional weapons sales by enforcing laws that are already on the books, such as the Arms Export Control Act of 1976, the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, and the Export Administration Act that requires items with both civilian and military uses to be closely regulated.

  • Reduce incentives for the U.S. military to offset the costs of new weapons by selling versions of these same weapons abroad.

  • Reverse the decisions made under the Clinton administration that give the State Department an active role in promoting commercial sales of military equipment abroad.

  • Sign and ratify the 1997 international treaty to ban landmines, which has been ratified by 122 countries, and encourage other states that have refused to support the treaty to do so, particularly China, Russia, India, and Pakistan.

  • Sign and ratify the international convention on cluster munitions, signed by over 100 countries in December 2008.
The United States should work actively towards:
  • Negotiating the International Arms Trade Treaty, which seeks to apply existing international law and common international standards to conventional arms sales and transfers.

  • Enacting the Conventional Arms Threat Reduction Act which would allow the United States to spend money to look for, guard and possibly destroy vulnerable stockpiles of conventional weapons.

  • Working with China, Russia, and other major conventional arms sellers to reach agreement on international rules for the interdiction of illicit weapons in international waters or airspace.
Nuclear Weapons and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

Nuclear weapons must remain a key concern because they alone have the potential for killing thousands or even millions of people at a time; the threat comes not only from states but also from the danger that states may not be able to protect weapons stockpiles from falling into the hands of terrorist groups. Current U.S. nuclear weapons policy contradicts public opinion and thus calls into question both democracy and government accountability. According to public opinion polls at least 70 percent of Americans favor the total elimination of nuclear weapons, a percentage that has held constant since the 1990s.

During the Cold War, nuclear arms control advanced despite continued hostilities between the parties. Through multilateral agreements and bi-lateral arrangements with the Soviet Union, nuclear weapons were prohibited in space, the Antarctic, and on the ocean floor. Nuclear weapons testing was banned in the atmosphere, space, and underwater in 1963. Eventually all nuclear testing was prohibited in 1996 by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) which President Clinton signed but which the U.S. Senate refused to ratify. Arms control also reduced the number of nuclear weapons, with U.S. stocks declining from 27,000 nuclear warheads in the mid-1970s to an estimated 5,400 warheads in 2008.

As suggested by Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, William Perry and Sam Nunn in a January 2007 op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, the United States can and should adopt as a declared goal the elimination of nuclear weapons world-wide. Immediate steps that the U.S. can take are to:

  • Agree to Russia's offer of reducing total nuclear stockpiles to 1,000 warheads per country, including all reserve stockpiles.

  • Take U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert to insure they cannot be launched by accident.

  • Withdraw U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe, freeing itself of the burden of being the only country now keeping nuclear weapons on the territory of another state.

  • Maintain current prohibitions on funding new nuclear weapons design and development.

  • Ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

  • Begin negotiations on a verifiable treaty to ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.
With the United States itself committed to reduction and eventual elimination of nuclear weapons, it would acquire new credibility in efforts to enforce and strengthen the non-proliferation treaty, including working with other nuclear states on specific concrete steps towards this goal as well as reducing the incentive for acquisition of nuclear weapons by other states.


A policy of inclusive human security requires that economic and social development be included as fundamental components of national security policy. This implies the need to reform structures for economic recovery to reflect interdependence and cooperation rather than blind reliance on market forces. As a corollary, U.S. foreign assistance agencies must be restructured to foster cooperative engagement with other countries and international agencies to confront global problems.

The economic collapse experienced in 2008 has forced even the most rigid believer in the magic of free markets to recognize the need for public action to stabilize the economy, provide emergency assistance to industries and families struggling to survive, create new transparent regulatory structures, and promote public and private investment for a sustainable future. This is an opportunity that must not be missed. It is time to recast free trade agreements based on the false premise of self-regulating markets and to establish more democratic and accountable international mechanisms for economic cooperation. Reductions in subsidies and other trade barriers should ensure protection of the most vulnerable rather than defer to privileged economic interests. It is imperative that these new initiatives not only take into account the interests of established powers and rising new powers such as China, India, and Brazil, but also those of regions and sectors that have been left behind.

Despite the size of U.S. foreign assistance programs, leading the world at over $21 billion in 2007, our country consistently ranks at the bottom among other rich countries in the percentage of national income devoted to official development aid (0.16 percent as compared to the international commitment of 0.7 percent). Independent evaluations also rank the United States below average in measures of aid effectiveness, such as prioritizing sustainability, use of local resources, and results-based accountability over political and commercial considerations and ideologically driven policy conditions. Management of aid is spread among more than 45 U.S. agencies, and genuine cooperation with international and local authorities is more the exception than the rule.

It is essential not only to restructure foreign assistance programs for greater efficiency, but also to reframe U.S. contributions to internationally agreed efforts to meet common goals. The United States should contribute its fair share to meet the needs defined by institutions representing all stakeholders in critical sectors, following models such as that pioneered by the innovative work of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. Bilateral programs should be coordinated with international programs to confront priority issues, as defined in the universally agreed Millennium Development Goals. U.S. assistance programs must also be accountable to democratic institutions and civil society in the countries where programs are implemented.

The era of "free-market fundamentalism" or "neo-liberalism" as it is often called, is coming to an end. This extreme model of blind reliance on the market, beginning with the rise to power of Thatcher in the UK and Reagan in the U.S., is nearing its end because of its failure to bring jobs and basic means of survival to the majority of humanity. The crisis experienced for decades by the poor in the Global South has now exploded with unprecedented consequences in the United States and around the world. The scale of the disaster creates the opportunity and the absolute necessity for rethinking. That rethinking must include not only the shape of the U.S. economy and the economies of other large powers, old and new, but U.S. participation in common global challenges.

In order to contribute to inclusive human security, development and economic cooperation policy must go beyond considering traditionally separate sectors of trade, debt relief, and official development assistance. We must shape a broader agenda of freedom from aid dependence and of economic cooperation that is both mutually beneficial and serves to reduce the glaring inequality between the rich and the poor.

The principal elements of such a shift have been recently described by Yash Tandon, executive director of the Geneva-based South Centre Secretariat, an intergovernmental policy think tank of developing countries.

Development: The Current Context

Within a national framework, development is defined in an evolving democratic process. Development is self-empowerment. It aims at leading lives of dignity which include gainful employment that helps individuals to meet basic needs and achieve security, equity and participation. From the perspective of the Global South, development means the satisfaction of the basic material and social needs of the people through a system of governance that is democratic and accountable to the people and though minimizing imperial interventions in developing societies.

Official development assistance or "aid," from the United States, other bilateral "donors," and international financial institutions, has always had a problematic relationship to these goals. Even when the ostensible goals include fostering sustained economic growth and alleviating poverty, the practice has often diverged from them.

In many cases, the explicit as well as implicit objective has been different, most often to support favored client regimes for military or commercial advantage. In these cases the fact that economic and social goals are not achieved should hardly be surprising. In other cases, tied aid requiring procurement and the use of high-priced consultants from donor countries undermines the effectiveness of aid. Despite widespread recognition of these problems, the practice continues, with the United States among those states most resistant to change.

Even more serious is the imposition of counterproductive ideological conditions, under the aegis of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and bilateral agencies requiring similar conditions. During the 1980s and 1990s, most of the countries that came under the austerity and export-led strategies of the IMF and World Bank became hostages to the demands of liberalization and privatization. Under the so-called Washington consensus, state-controlled industries were systematically dismantled everywhere in Africa; some of these industries were actually closed down, whilst others were bought up by foreign corporations. At the same time trade liberalization opened the door to cheaper imports from outside, and many of the cost-ineffi cient African industries were shut down in the face of increased competition instead of making them more effi cient in the heat of competition. They simply shut down and set thousands of workers on to the streets.

The Way Ahead

The way ahead must begin with a fundamental change of mindset. Instead of thinking about "aid" as the key ingredient, the contribution of rich countries to development in the Global South must be secondary to strategies for those countries to chart their own development aimed not only at specific goals but also at an exit from aid dependence. In contrast to the donor strategy on development aid, the strategy must put people of the developing countries in the driver's seat. What is now called "foreign aid" may still have a role to play, but in a radically different manner and modality; the primary objective must be to empower the people.

At the international level, the new situation demands a complete overhaul of the institutions of global governance, including a radical restructuring of the institutional aid architecture.

This should include initiating an inclusive dialogue, a participatory radical restructuring of the planning process, and a plan to restructure the current architecture of international assistance, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the OECD, and the organizations of the United Nations system, as well as agencies of national "donor" and "recipient" agencies and representatives of civil society.

At a time when there is universal agreement on the need to restructure mechanisms for international economic cooperation, it is essential to take the opportunity for a more inclusive approach. There is much constructive thinking within the context of United Nations global conferences and other venues. The challenge is to combine immediate action on priority issues with a vision of long-term planning.

Within each country that is a recipient of financing because of its needs for development, bilateral and multilateral assistance must be integrated into programs designed at a national level, with the participation not only of national government agencies but also of legislative and civil society bodies. This would be in effect a reversal of the current pattern, in which policies and budgets are largely determined by consultation between international donor groups and national governments, with legislative and civil society input relegated to ineffective consultation at a later time.

There is no formula for building such new structures. But there are several general principles that should apply, and growing experience, such as that found within the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, on how to combine technical expertise, participation by diverse shareholders, and results-based evaluation.

Among the principles that should be included as policy guidelines are the following:

  • The budgeting process must be bottom-up rather than top-down. This means that participatory budgeting processes to address poverty and inequality must begin with the poor themselves. This is in contrast to the system developed by the World Bank in the 1980s and 1990s—called Economic Structural Adjustment Programs (ESAPs) and later PRSPs—Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers. Although termed participatory planning, public participation was limited to comments by non-governmental organizations on already formulated plans. Th e fig leaf of consultation was followed by parliamentary approval and resource mobilization. The challenge is to invert the system so that public and legislative participation take priority, within the context of ongoing dialogue with technical experts and donor agencies.

  • Employment and decent wages should be priority objectives. Th e challenge is to ensure that the growth of the economically active population is associated with productive labor absorption, in both agriculture and non-agriculture sectors. This means a focus on sustainable agricultural intensification and the creation of productive non-agricultural employment, which will require increased capital accumulation, technological learning and innovation. Additionally, developing countries need to ensure that their farmers are protected against the onslaught of policy prescriptions which favor capital- intensive and corporate driven agribusiness. Protection of the peasantry will be essential to provide food security and maintain sovereignty over national development plans.

  • Policies should ensure support for domestic markets. Th e creation of a domestic market is essential if developing countries are to generate employment for their people, or for people of their region. All countries have developed by first ensuring that their domestic markets are created, protected and expanded before they have opened them up to foreign competition in return for seeking export markets for their products. Flawed export-led development strategies need to be re-examined, given that they distort development priorities, divert resources away from basic needs of the population, create the wrong kinds of skills, and make the economy more vulnerable to the hazards of international trade and capital movements.
There are many Americans now working in bilateral government programs, international agencies, and non-governmental organizations who would welcome the opportunity to take part in a development process driven by developing country initiative. Many staff and technical personnel from both the Global North and the Global South working within international institutions would likewise welcome such a shift in direction, giving them the opportunity to apply their skills to meeting human need at this time of crisis.

In order for the United States to make its maximum contribution to such efforts, it is time to take stock and to begin to transform the full range of U.S. foreign policy institutions.


The United States must build greater capacity to set priorities and implement programs over a wide range of sectors, including traditional and unconventional security threats, bilateral economic relations, and investment in common public goods such as health and development. These sectors intersect in increasingly complex patterns and engage diverse agencies in such a way that it is impossible for these tasks to be integrated simply through the traditional mechanisms of foreign embassies in Washington and U.S. embassies in host countries.

The goal must be to integrate regional collaboration and bilateral partnerships to foster an inclusive approach to resolve issues within each region as well as at the global level.

It is imperative to develop new structures for communication, dialogue, and coordination, involving governments, civil society groups, and the private sector in both the United States and countries/regions in which the United States is engaged. One possible partial model to build on is the bi-national commission, including regular meetings at cabinet and department level, which has been used at times for U.S. government relations with key states, such as Mexico and South Africa. Such commissions linking government departments should be supplemented by more active U.S. engagement in regional collaborative agencies in specific sectors, and by encouraging further coordination through offices of the United Nations Development Program, which has among its tasks the parallel coordination of the multiple agencies in the United Nations system.

The prerequisite for such new structures, however, is a systematic review of the present system, involving congressional oversight and public participation as well as executive streamlining and restructuring.

Current Context

The Bush years have not only devastated the reputation of the United States in the world, but they have also crippled many of the institutions responsible for managing foreign affairs. In addition to neglect of international obligations and to over-emphasis on military and narrow security considerations, the administration has also prioritized politics, ideology, and private profit over competence and professionalism, driving out many competent civil servants, adding new levels of bureaucracy, and farming out government operations to largely unaccountable private contractors.

Within the "foreign assistance" field, for example, enormous resources have been expended in creating the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a new agency which has emphasized Washington-imposed ideological restrictions and promotion of the private sector over internationally recognized good practices in development. Right-wing ideological tests have been imposed on programs to promote public health, including programs to fight AIDS. Political appointments, many being transferred to civil service status, have embedded in agencies personnel who are in fact opposed to the objectives of those agencies.

Yet the current state of U.S. foreign policy institutions is not simply the result of the last eight years of the Bush administration. It is the cumulative result of the dominance of neo-conservative foreign policy perspectives on political and military issues and of free-market fundamentalist views on the world economy, and of the absence from mainstream debate of alternative views on the role of the United States in the world. Opportunities for new thinking in multilateral terms at the end of the Cold War were squandered, and 9/11 provided new openings for skewing institutional agendas to an "us-against-them" mentality.

The result has been to reinforce the dominance of military institutions which was a legacy of the Cold War, to reduce investments in institutions for diplomacy and international cooperation, and to restrict rather than expand U.S. dialogue with others in the international community.

Yet the opportunities for a new direction, visible in the expectations for the Obama presidency, are also based on alternate less visible tendencies in the public arena. Recent polling on foreign policy issues, pioneered by institutions such as the Program on International Policy Attitudes ( and by scholars such as Steven Kull and Benjamin Page, have shown that the U.S. public is strikingly more open to multilateral approaches and a wider vision of security than members of the country's policy establishment.

In a strikingly consistent pattern, notes Page in The Foreign Policy DisConnect, an analysis of over three decades of polls, the public overwhelmingly endorses foreign policies that take into account not only security from foreign attack, but also domestic well-being and international justice. Skeptical of military aid and arms sales, majorities consistently support stronger eff orts to resolve confl icts through diplomacy, humanitarian aid efforts (particularly in Africa), and strengthening the United Nations, including its peacekeeping capacity. Page concludes that the fact that foreign policy elites often disagree with the public, and even are unaware of public views, is a democratic deficit that should be remedied.

The potential for change, as well as some of the obstacles still to be overcome, is illustrated by the U.S. government response to HIV/AIDS in recent years. In an astonishingly short period of time, in historical perspective, African and American AIDS activists have sparked a turnaround since the international AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa in July 2000. President Clinton, whose administration was missing in action on AIDS in Africa, became an effective campaigner on the issue after leaving offi ce. President Bush, whose USAID administrator initially dismissed antiretroviral treatment for Africans as impractical because "Africans can't tell time," now finds that the presidential AIDS program is one of the few accomplishments he can claim for history. Th e fight against AIDS is far from won, and the U.S. response still far from adequate. But there is now a bipartisan consensus that fi ghting this global pandemic is a national obligation rather than an optional act of charity.

The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) represents a significant advance in U.S. international engagement, as do the U.S. commitments made to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. Despite the program's bilateral limitations, and the imposition of ideological constraints, many working in this program have in fact built cooperative relationships with parallel multilateral and local efforts. Congress and the new administration have a chance to address limitations to the program, removing the bias against generic drugs, restrictions on support for reproductive health, and stopping the policy of privileging abstinence over other prevention methods on ideological grounds. More generally, the commitment to global public health illustrated by the current program can become part of a more comprehensive commitment, in conjunction with international and local efforts.

The Way Ahead

More generally, restructuring current institutions to meet the needs of an inclusive human security agenda must be more than bureaucratic reconfiguration that risks expending more energy on turf wars and lengthy debate than any gains to be expected. It must draw on the knowledge and wisdom of career professionals whose advice has often been disregarded by their political superiors, on the capacity of Congress to investigate current programs and foster constructive debate on alternatives, and on the willingness of professionals and the public to become engaged.

The following notes are presented as illustrative contributions to the debate, singling out several critical elements for consideration. In addition to points of general reference, we have given a few specific examples that can and should be implemented with minimal delay.

1. Congressional Review and Oversight

Congress should actively take on its oversight responsibilities, by beginning a transparent and comprehensive series of hearings on the roles of diff erent agencies in U.S. foreign policy, and the appropriate boundaries between legislative, judicial, and executive responsibilities.

Most immediately, Congress should:

  • Repeal the Military Commission Act. This Act, which eliminates the right of habeas corpus has allowed the U.S. government to hold prisoners without charges and allows the President to determine who is an enemy combatant.

  • Repeal the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Th is Act determines how the government can secretly eavesdrop on Americans. The July 2008 update of the Act eliminated judicial oversight in government surveillance and gave telecommunications companies immunity.
More systematic consideration of restructuring should include:

  • The division of responsibility between the State Department and the Department of Defense in shaping foreign policy priorities and programs.

  • Remedying the disproportionate budget allocations provided to the Department of Defense compared to civilian foreign policy institutions.

  • Removal of reconstruction, governance and development functions and activities from the Department of Defense. The DOD lacks core competence in these areas and does not have a track record of sustainable development.

  • Determining ways to allocate responsibility for coordination within sectors among the full range of agencies having impacts on U.S. relations with other countries and the international community. This includes not only agencies with primary foreign relations responsibilities, such as State and Defense, but also other agencies with primarily domestic mandates.

  • Designing mechanisms to take into account the foreign policy implications of operations of domestic agencies, particularly the Department of Homeland Security.

2. "Foreign Assistance" and Global Public Goods

Agencies related to foreign assistance, numbering more than 45, have undergone multiple reorganizations in recent years, and focusing on another such reorganization is unlikely to be the most productive initial approach to increasing both the quantity and quality of results within the diverse sectors included under this rubric. Instead the most urgent priority is to establish a substantive dialogue, both within the United States government and with civil society and international counterparts, on how to meet the common needs.

In addition to taking into account the guidelines discussed in the section above on "Development and Human Security," both Congress and the administration should focus both on (1) increasing resource fl ows to ensure the U.S. provides its fair share of international obligations to meet these needs, and (2) improving coordination, effi ciency, and transparency of government programs in these sectors.

One example of such an approach, highlighted in a recent report from the National Institute of Medicine (, calls for doubling annual U.S. commitments to global public health and for the White House to appoint a senior offi cial to work with government agencies to coordinate such aid with other areas of foreign policy. Global public health should be a "pillar" of U.S. foreign policy, noted the National Institute of Medicine Report, which was supported by four U.S. government agencies and fi ve private foundations and released in December 2008.

In a similar way, congressional and executive action should facilitate the rethinking of other areas of "foreign assistance," from health and education to energy and poverty, by engaging relevant agencies and non- governmental experts and organizations concerned with these specific sectors at home and abroad. This would foster consideration of common problems facing the United States and other countries, rather than segregating "foreign assistance" into a residual category.

3. Reform, Democratization, and Coordination of Global Multilateral Institutions

Within an inclusive human security framework, strong, effective, and democratic multilateral institutions are essential for both U.S. national security and global security.

Congress and the administration should prioritize immediate fulfillment of existing U.S. obligations, particularly the payment of arrears on dues to the United Nations for general operations and for peacekeeping. This minimum commitment has been postponed for political reasons, despite overwhelming support among the American public and the urgent need to strengthen United Nations operations.

The United States should also support reforms both for greater efficiency and for democratization in multilateral institutions, by measures such as the following:

  • Engage actively in dialogue and ongoing program development within the United Nations system on the full range of global problems.

  • Support measures to strengthen United Nations peacekeeping capacity, including contingency plans for contributions to a permanent UN emergency peacekeeping response capacity.

  • Work with other United Nations members to find ways to make Security Council participation more representative.

  • Establish more inclusive forums for collaboration on international economic policy.

  • Support review of governance structures and mandates, as well as coordination with the United Nations system, of international financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
4. Public Engagement and Governmental Accountability

A final element that is essential for meaningful reform of U.S. government institutions dealing with foreign policy is new engagement by the public, including academic specialists, representatives of civil society organizations, and particularly Americans with personal experiences and connections to other countries. In particular, both the administration and Congress need to find new ways to stimulate public debate and to include recent immigrants from Africa and from other countries of the African Diaspora, whose intimate knowledge and personal experiences are rarely considered in official debates about policy towards their countries.

The Obama administration has made a commitment to involve the public in governance through innovative use of electronic technologies, such as those deployed during the election campaign. While such mechanisms are likely to be most successful with respect to domestic policy, groups concerned with foreign policy issues need to take full advantage of this opportunity.

Additional mechanisms that can promote such an expansion of the public sphere include:

  • The administration should expand and make use of opportunities for multilateral and bilateral consultation available in the parallel civil society forums that are increasingly a regular feature of international conferences, particularly encouraging the wider participation of groups that are normally excluded from such gatherings because of lack of resources or public visibility.

  • Congress should expand hearings, including joint hearings between committees involved in domestic and foreign policy issues, to consider the full range of U.S. international relations. Special eff orts should be made to reach beyond the usual circles of Washington experts to include representatives of communities and groups with personal knowledge of issues. Examples could include hearing from refugees and human rights advocates from African, Caribbean, and Latin American countries.

  • Members of Congress should use their convening power and take the initiative to hold informal public hearings and debates on issues, both in Washington and in their districts, giving opportunities for greater variety of formats and public participation.
Adopting changes such as those mentioned in this section will in itself have positive implications for U.S. policy towards Africa and other regions of the African Diaspora in particular. However, given the history of neglect of both these regions, it is also particularly important to develop policy solutions that meet the specific needs of Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America.


Of all spheres of government, foreign policy has been the one most dominated by traditional elites—overwhelmingly white, Protestant, and rich or well-connected to the rich. Despite significant changes in recent decades in representation of other groups, the foreign policy mindset, among policymakers, the public, and many opinion-makers, continues to prioritize traditional U.S. allies and enemies in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia over the regions of origin of African Americans and Hispanic Americans. The African continent has most often been treated as an afterthought or an object of charity, when not an arena in the Cold War (or, now, in the "global war against terror"). The Caribbean and Latin America, despite their status as the geographically closest regions, with significant impact on "domestic" issues such as immigration and trade, also tend to rank low on the list of foreign policy priorities.

This is an imbalance that must be addressed. The United States must give due attention to its relationships with all world regions, taking into account not only the historically privileged ties with Europe and the economic weight of rising powers but also the need for increasing democratization of influence on world affairs. Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa deserve attention both on their own terms and because their fates are closely linked to continuing issues of full participation of Americans sharing their heritage with these regions.

It is widely known, as shown by U.S. census data, that African Americans and people of Hispanic origin are the two largest minority groups in this country, accounting respectively for 13.5 percent and 15 percent of the population respectively. It is less often recognized that Afro-Latinos, who are in effect members of both population groups, are a significant and rising proportion of the population, although census categories do not allow precise estimates (more than half of Hispanic Americans reject the "white/black" categories on the census form).

Even less recognized, and an issue of particular emphasis for TransAfrica Forum, is the significant representation of Afro-descendants in Latin American countries, and the fact that these population groups are systematically disadvantaged in almost every country. In Latin America itself Afro-descendants are increasingly claiming their rightful place in national identities and in access to equal rights. Brazil, with an estimated 45 percent of the population of African descent, and Colombia, with an estimated 26 percent or more of African descent, both surpass the United States in percentages of population of African descent. According to the Inter-American Development Bank, as much as 26 percent of Latin America's population is of African descent; other estimates put the numbers as over one-third.

U.S. policy towards Africa and the African Diaspora, accordingly, must not only include Africa and the Caribbean, as is generally recognized, but also begin to take into account the significance of Afro-Latinos both in the United States and in Latin America.


. During the period of the Cold War, U.S. relations with Africa were overwhelmingly dominated by the global rivalry with the Soviet Union. The consequences, in which both superpowers supported their clients with little regard to human rights or development concerns, are visible in many of the countries that were the focus of greatest U.S. attention, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, and Liberia.

Almost 15 years after Nelson Mandela took office in South Africa, the United States still lacks a coherent Africa policy. There are pieces of such a policy—support for the war against AIDS is now a bipartisan consensus, as is an expressed concern for Darfur. It is instructive that it was only in June 2008 that the U.S. government finally took Mandela and members of his party off the official list of terrorists, a legacy of past support for the apartheid regime. Still, the U.S. did aid the transition to democracy in South Africa in the 1990s. In recent years some other African issues have attracted attention, and activists have pressured Washington to act, with some success.

On AIDS the results have been significant, even if still inadequate. Th ere has been significant debt cancellation for some African countries, freeing up resources for investments in health and education. On other issues— conflict, human rights, debt, trade, and development—the record is less inspiring. The Clinton administration shared the international failure to act against genocide in Rwanda. On Darfur, the Bush administration has offered heady rhetoric but little effective action. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has suffered a series of devastating wars, as efforts by the international community have consistently fallen short. More generally, neither the Clinton nor Bush years can provide a good model. Both administrations raised the U.S. profile in Africa, but neither followed up the hopes they raised with consistent action.

Most often, indeed, policymakers, the media, and much of the public still take a narrow view of Africa, as an arena for fighting terrorists, a place to pump oil, as a recipient of "charity", and the scene of one horrifi c crisis after another. In many cases, the U.S. government has supported useful development projects, and government as well as nongovernmental organizations have supported the increasingly vibrant civil society and pro-democracy organizations now present in almost every African country. But Africa has also suffered disproportionately from the Bush administration's assault on multilateral institutions. Rhetorical support for African initiatives most often faltered when the time came to provide the necessary resources.

There is no one prescription for the wide range of issues faced by over 50 African countries. It would be a serious mistake to allow the prominence of crises to obscure the advances being made in the establishment of democratic institutions, in the fastest growth anywhere in the world in cell phone usage, in vigorous media expression, and in dialogue among civil society groups in different regions in Africa and in the Diaspora.

Africa's serious problems, moreover, will not be solved from outside, either by the United States or even by the broader "international community." But if U.S.-Africa policy is molded by a broader vision of inclusive human security, understanding that U.S. national security also depends on the human security of Africans, then there are real prospects for a new era of collaboration and good will.

The Way Ahead

Implementing such a vision requires:

(1) that current U.S. Africa policy be reshaped to ensure that it does no harm, and

(2) that the United States work with both African and other international partners to foster multilateral African-led solutions that can address both the external and internal obstacles to human security.

Do No Harm

When U.S. Africa policy is subordinated to a narrow understanding of security and a one-sided ideological vision of development priorities, the United States not only undermines African societies. It also builds resentment, undercuts the long-term interests of the United States, and diverts scarce budget resources. Among the policy changes that should be on the agenda for reconsideration by Congress and the new administration are the following:

Stop the trend towards increased militarization of U.S. Africa policy, as instanced most notably by the formation of AFRICOM and U.S. policy toward Somalia.

The new United States African Command (AFRICOM) formally established in fall 2008 has been presented as a cost-eff ective institutional restructuring and a benign program for supporting African governments in humanitarian as well as necessary security institutions. In fact it represents institutionalization and increased funding of a model of bilateral military ties which risks repeating the mistakes of the Cold War. It risks drawing the United States into conflicts, reinforcing links with repressive regimes, excusing human rights abuses, and frustrating rather than fostering sustainable multilateral peacemaking and peacekeeping.

The most visible result of this approach is the crisis in Somalia, now attracting world attention as the source of an unprecedented threat of piracy. There is no easy solution for the internal chaos in that country, which has now lasted almost two decades. In the last two years in particular, however, U.S. policy has not only failed to improve the chances for stability. It has also, by prioritizing an anti-terrorist agenda and supporting an invasion by neighboring Ethiopia, reduced the chances of reconciliation, intensified the humanitarian crisis, and strengthened the most extreme Islamist groups.

There are serious risks of similar escalation, under diff erent circumstances, in other areas where U.S. bilateral military involvement is increasing, particularly the countries of the Sahel-Sahara border and the oil-rich Niger Delta.

It is essential that both Congress and the administration closely examine and rethink these policies and potential dangers before further damage is done.

Pass and implement the Jubilee Act to cancel debt for African and other developing countries

Despite the implementation of debt cancellation programs for many developing countries over the last decade by the United States and international financial institutions, poor countries are still paying almost $400 million a year in debt payments to creditors, resources that are desperately needed for investment in health, education, and other projects promoting development. Studies of debt cancellation for African countries to date shows that every dollar of debt cancelled has freed up two dollars for needed social investment.

Congress should reintroduce and pass in the next session, and the new administration should implement, the Jubilee Act passed by the House of Representatives in 2008, which cancels impoverished country debt, prohibits harmful economic and policy conditions on debt cancellation, mandates transparency and responsibility in lending from governments and international financial institutions, calls for a new legal framework to restrict the activities of predatory "vulture funds," and calls for a U.S. audit of debts resulting from odious and illegitimate lending.

Stop imposing ideologically-based conditionality on development programs

Development programs and proposed trade agreements with African countries should be reviewed to ensure that they conform with guidelines outlined above in this report. Africa stands to benefit signifi cantly from reforms of and increased resources for global institutions dealing with these issues.

This requires a critical review of the results of recently established programs such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act and the Millennium Challenge Corporation as well as agencies such as the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the U.S. Import/Export Bank. In the eight years of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, for example, the Act has encouraged expansion of African imports into the United States. But that expansion has benefited only a few countries, primarily exporters of oil and minerals such as platinum. The emphasis on free-trade growth without considering the need for structural change in trade patterns has meant very limited benefits. At the same time, the United States has not responded to African demands to reconsider subsidies such as those to U.S. cotton farmers that undercut African agricultural export opportunities.

Review U.S. relations with repressive regimes

Congress should review U.S. relations with African countries, taking into account not only state-to-state relations and conventionally understood security and economic interests, but also human rights, human security, the resolution of ongoing conflicts, and the voices of civil society and pro- democracy forces. Among the African countries for which such a review is long overdue are Egypt, Algeria, and Ethiopia.

Foster Multilateral African-Led Solutions

Given the intimate interconnections between African problems and global problems, successful efforts to resolve Africa's problems must involve collaboration and dialogue among multiple stakeholders, allowing for African leadership and initiative while simultaneously addressing the external context of outside powers and global institutions, particularly the United Nations and international fi nancial institutions.

Many of the issues to be addressed, and the need for the United States to participate in a wider dialogue on inclusive human security, have been noted earlier in this report. Their application to particular African countries, regions, and continent-wide issues requires both attention to the specificity of each case and consultation not only with states and inter-state institutions but also with relevant civil society institutions and internationally respected analysts in specific sectors and on specifi c countries.

Without going into detail, the following list identifies some of the issues calling for particular attention by Congress and the new administration:

Support multilateral peacemaking and peacekeeping

In addition to paying current UN peacekeeping dues and arrears, the United States should actively participate in efforts to strengthen United Nations and African Union peacemaking and peacekeeping capacity. In ongoing crises, the United States should closely coordinate its eff orts with those of other stakeholders to maximize the chances of sustainable outcomes. Among crises calling for particularly urgent attention are Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sudan (including Darfur).

Review economic relations with African countries

Such a review should not only consider U.S. interests in expanding trade and securing natural resources, but also sustainable benefits for African countries. Among issues deserving of attention, despite signifi cant domestic political obstacles, are reduction of subsidies for U.S. agricultural exports such as cotton and grains and requirements of transparency and environmental responsibility for U.S. oil and other natural resource companies operating in Africa.

Turn from "assistance" to "public goods"

As noted in previous sections, programs to support health, education, women's rights, environmental protection, and other public goods should not be regarded as optional charitable expenditures dependent on the goodwill of the rich. Rather, they are investments that are essential for economic growth and human security in African countries, with long- term benefits not only for Africa but for all of us who live in an ever-more- interconnected world.

Support democracy with consistent criteria, prioritizing multilateral action

To ensure that U.S. support for democracy in Africa is effective, it must both be and be seen as consistent rather than as selectively applied to some and not to others. It must follow the lead of African civil society and human rights groups, bringing under scrutiny U.S. allies as well as states regarded as enemies in Washington.

This does not mean that simply denouncing undemocratic practices and human rights abuses is sufficient. Actions need to be adapted to be most effective, taking into account the views of civil society, African states, and other considerations. But it does mean that the United States must pay attention to democracy in key U.S. allies such as Ethiopia, Algeria, and Egypt, as well as in cases such as Zimbabwe.


U.S.-Caribbean relations have been complicated and therefore it is important to rehearse in broad outline the historical patterns.

The major features of this relationship in the 20th century and continuing into this one have been:

  • Economic dependence. The Caribbean has since the early 20th century looked to the U.S. as a major trading partner, a source for foreign investment and tourist traffic.

  • U.S. geo-political dominance. The U.S. has consistently considered the Caribbean to be within its sphere of influence; the region's function, in the words of Alfred Mahan, was to serve as a site of "strategic naval bases" and as a sea frontier to protect American interests. It thus fell within the 1823 American framework of foreign policy for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Monroe Doctrine. In the 20th century, military interventions, such as in Haiti in 1915 and the Dominican Republic in 1916, were followed by Franklin Roosevelt's 'Good Neighbor Policy' stressing diplomacy. Recent policy has featured both diplomacy and military intervention. Whatever the strategy adopted, however, the United States perceived the region primarily in terms of its strategic location. This resulted in both overt military interventions and covert interventions, particularly during the period of the Cold War.

  • Migration. Since the early 20th century and the opening of migration, Caribbean migrants have flocked to the U.S. This tendency has been reinforced by multiple waves of immigrants; the remittances of Caribbean migrants constitute for many Caribbean nations a significant source of foreign exchange.
In the era of the Cold War, intensified military intervention was accompanied by policies of economic cooperation based on free-market assumptions.

On the military front, attention to the region dramatically accelerated as a result of the Cuban Revolution. Although U.S. efforts to roll back the Cuban Revolution failed, the conflict profoundly shaped U.S. involvement in the region. The U.S. associated other radical and reformist movements in the region with Cuba, although their inspiration was diverse, including African American protest movements, the U.S. anti-war movement, and radical anti-colonial movements in Africa. U.S. intervention included destabilization of the Manley government in Jamaica and military intervention in Grenada in 1983.

This period of intervention was followed by the development of a series of economic packages directed at the trading relationships between the region and the U.S.. Th e first of these was the Caribbean Basin Initiative, followed by granting the region parity with the members of NAFTA. All these programs focused primarily on trade, and were based on two assumptions. Th e first was that economic problems in the region were fuel for radical movements, and second, that open markets and free trade would create zones of economic development. However, the strategy of developing regional free-trade zones under U.S. leadership did not have the effect of promoting development in the region.

By the 1990s, another concern loomed high for U.S. foreign policy in the Caribbean—the drug trade.

Today U.S. foreign policy towards the region is driven by multiple concerns:

  • the Caribbean as an arena for drug trafficking through the sea-lanes of the region.

  • the Caribbean as a zone for entertainment and relaxation, making tourism a driving force for outside investment.

  • the Caribbean as a location for services such as data processing and telemarketing (although the fairly vigorous labor movement in the region makes outsourcing difficult for U.S. investors).

  • the Caribbean as a zone of political stability (with the exception of Haiti), with vibrant representative democratic traditions.
In global terms, the region is not seen as strategically important given its lack of prominence in the "war on terror."

In economic terms, the relationship between the United States and the regional trading organization CARICOM is at a crossroads. New action by the World Trade Organization has reduced the favorable access of some of the region's commodities to the U.S. market, and there is now a large trading deficit between the region and the U.S.

The Way Ahead

The United States should emphasize reduction of conflict and maximization of mutually beneficial economic collaboration both within the Caribbean region and between the United States and the Caribbean. Th is implies stopping the militarization of the "war on drugs," drawing on other countries in the region to build more constructive U.S. relations with Haiti and with Cuba, and seeking common ground on issues of immigration and the welfare of Caribbean immigrant communities in the United States.

Such an alternate foreign policy towards the Caribbean should respect the sovereignty of states in the region and promote open dialogue on common problems. The priorities of such a policy include:

  • The United States should develop a regular consultative mechanism with CARICOM, the regional organization representing most Caribbean states. A joint CARICOM/U.S. consultative body would include in its terms of reference trade, debt, and other economic issues as well as immigration, drug smuggling, and security concerns.

  • The United States should support and collaborate on a program of regional development of physical infrastructure through CARICOM and the Caribbean Development Bank.

  • The United States should pledge that there will be no U.S. military interventions or regime change actions within the region.

  • In addition to the cancellation of Haiti's debt, the United States should work closely with CARICOM to support the drive for democracy in that country, with CARICOM rather than the United States taking the lead role among external partners with the Haitian people.

  • The United States should work to resolve pending immigration issues with the Caribbean, particularly the problems caused for Caribbean countries through the deportation of Caribbean immigrants caught up in the racially distorted American criminal justice system.

  • The United States should work with Caribbean countries to address not only problems of drug smuggling, but also gun-running from the United States to the Caribbean that contributes to violence in the region.

  • The United States should move immediately to remove economic sanctions against Cuba and restore full diplomatic relations with it. It should also declare its support for full democratization and human rights in Cuba while explicitly renouncing any intentions to interfere directly or indirectly in the internal affairs of the country.
With a new inclusive perspective of building common human security and working in collaboration with Caribbean partners, there will be new opportunities to develop a mutually beneficial policy framework and move towards reversing the historical inequalities between the region and the United States.


Latin America, with the Caribbean the world region most closely engaged with the United States through immigration and trade, has a relatively low profile with respect to traditional security issues. There is no nuclear threat; no one expects major conventional wars within the region, much less military attacks on the United States; and there is no Latin American country that harbors terrorist groups that have targeted the United States.

Within a more inclusive definition of human security, however, Latin America is far more central to U.S. interests, and the interconnections between "domestic" and "foreign" issues are particularly dense. Along with relations with the Caribbean, relations with Latin America most directly exemplify whether the United States is in fact ready to pursue a new course of cooperation, mutual respect, and good neighborliness. The region also provides the opportunity for a widened dialogue between the United States and other countries on how to address the shared historical legacies of racial inequalities due to conquest and to slavery.

Of the issues facing the United States in relation to Latin America, TransAfrica Forum identifies several that require particular emphasis. Immigration, both from Latin America and other regions, is important enough to warrant a separate section (see below). In addition, we stress the general policies of inclusive hemispheric diplomacy and of fair trade, and the strategic role of bilateral relations with Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil, all countries with substantial Afro-descendant populations.

First of all, for Latin America as with other regions, the United States should quickly signal its willingness to move towards more inclusive diplomacy and trade negotiations aimed at fair trade that takes into account workers' rights and environmental standards as well as mutual benefits for all countries involved. That implies not only normalization of relationships with Cuba, as noted above in the section on the Caribbean, but also a new spirit of dialogue on trade and other issues in dispute with other countries. These aims should be pursued not only in bilateral venues, but also by maximizing cooperation within regional institutions such as the Organization of American States, the Pan American Health Organization, and others.

Secondly, Congress and the administration should consider means to highlight the particular needs of Afro-Latinos, through hearings and through giving special attention to the disadvantaged position of Afro- Latinos in bilateral programs.

Finally, Congress and the administration should review and reform U.S. policy towards three important Latin American countries with large Afro- descendant populations: Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil. Among the essential points to consider are the following:

(1) Colombia is the country with the most significant U.S. military involvement in ongoing conflict, in alliance with a repressive regime. This involvement has been justified by the war against drugs, but the strategy has both proved ineffective in stopping the flow of drugs and has instead fueled continued conflict, displacement, and human rights abuses. Colombia's Afro-descendant population, estimated at 26 percent of the population or more, has suffered disproportionately. There are as many as 2 million displaced Afro-Colombians among the total of some 4 million displaced people in Colombia.

The United States should cease funding for military operations in Colombia. Congress should not pass the U.S. Colombia Free Trade Agreement as long as human rights abuses and attacks on trade unions in particular continue with impunity. Congress and the administration should rethink policy towards Colombia, aiming not only at sustainable means of controlling drug trafficking but also at safeguarding human rights and democratization, including attention to workers' rights and the situation of Afro-Colombians.

(2) Venezuela, a leading supplier of oil to the United States, is also a country with a significant proportion of Afro-descendent population (some estimates are as high as 30 percent of the population). In recent years, relationships between the populist government of President Hugo Chávez and the United States have been tense, with the U.S. accused of backing a coup attempt against the government, and the United States joining the Venezuelan opposition in strong criticism of the human rights record of the Chávez administration. Nevertheless, that government has shown a strong commitment to redressing historical inequalities in the country, including those concerning the Afro-descendant population, and plays a prominent role on the Latin American and world stage.

The United States should give priority to the exercise of diplomacy and dialogue to improve relations with Venezuela and resolve outstanding differences. It should also encourage civil society and cultural exchanges with Venezuela, including dialogue on issues of racial discrimination and other questions of economic and social inequality.

(3) As a rising power on the world scene, and the country with the largest African-origin population outside the African continent, Brazil provides a unique opportunity for the United States to expand opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation and dialogue in multiple sectors, including trade, the environment, health, and the legacies of racial injustice and causes of inequality. While the United States and Brazil generally enjoy friendly relations, the two states have taken strongly differing stances on such global issues as agricultural subsidies and how to combat HIV/AIDS. A more active dialogue would be highly valuable as both countries confront domestic and global issues.

Among the issues Congress and the new administration need to explore in relation to Brazil are the resolution of differences on trade and international property rights, including Brazilian complaints at the WTO about U.S. cotton subsidies and Brazil's use of generic drugs. Resolution of these issues may depend on the willingness of the Obama administration and the Congress to confront U.S. domestic interests, and require consideration of the views of advocacy groups and the public interest as well as of private-sector concerns.

In addition, Congress and the administration should take advantage of opportunities for expanding dialogue and cooperation with Brazil in confronting common problems, such as energy suffi ciency, global warming, and health.


The percentage of immigrants in the U.S. population (including only those born outside the United States, and not counting family members born here) has risen from 4.7 percent in 1970, to 12.5 percent in 2006, and may soon exceed its 1910 high of 14.7 percent. While 11.5 million immigrants (the single largest national group) come from Mexico, some three million come from the Caribbean, two million from Central America, and two million from South America. Of those from South America, the largest number (more than 500,000) are from Colombia. One million immigrants are from Africa, part of a rapidly increasing group as globalization fuels African migrant flows across the Atlantic as well as south to South Africa and north to Europe.

In recent years the growing debate over U.S. immigration policy has become closely intertwined with the new debate over homeland security. But instead of opening a path towards constructive reform, reducing tensions, and increasing the security of the American people, these debates have so far served primarily to reinforce stereotypes, increase human rights abuses, promote investment of resources in ineffective border- control measures, and postpone real dialogue placing immigration in the context of the full range of relationships between the United States and the countries of origin of immigrants.

When considering the complex connections linking immigration, trade, security against terrorism and drug trafficking, and other foreign policy issues, while taking into account long-term as well as short-term considerations, only an inclusive human security framework can provide a way to explore solutions that enhance the security of both the American people and those of other countries.

Current Context

Issues of immigration, trade, and foreign policy are most often compartmentalized. In fact, they are closely interconnected. On the one hand, immigration trends are closely connected both to the demand for labor and human rights policies in rich countries and to political and economic conditions in the countries of origin of immigrants. Immigration policy is also part of the economic planning by corporate interests and the governments that represent them. "Trade" agreements— referred to as FTAs in the United States and EPAs in Europe—are not just about opening export markets and getting access to raw materials, they are often also specifically about controlling the flow of labor.

The U.S. Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), for example, that first prohibited employers from knowingly hiring illegal aliens by requiring the verification of an applicant's identity and eligibility for employment prior to hiring, also established a commission that led directly to the proposal for NAFTA in 1994, the free trade agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The fact is that for rich countries, automation and outsourcing cannot fully resolve the problem of labor resources. It is not possible completely to automate or outsource jobs such as stoop labor on farms, construction work in cities, domestic services, janitorial jobs, and many others.

The policies shaping immigration are designed to control and manage the flow of immigrants, not to stop it. That means that there are diff erent—and changing—policies for recruiting high-skill workers when industry needs them, and for maintaining an unskilled work force that is large enough to fill the needs but vulnerable enough that they find it difficult to join in organizing for their rights.

Thus migration between countries has powerful drivers, economic as well as political. Refugees flee wars and political persecution. Th ey also seek opportunities not available in their home country, in search of a better life or, increasingly, in a desperate search for survival. Today, as in earlier generations, one of the most powerful forces driving international migration is economic inequality between nations. There are rich and poor in every country, but the world's wealth is overwhelmingly concentrated in very few countries. This means that a child's chances of survival and advancement depend on the accident of place of birth. History makes a difference: over generations richer parents give their children greater opportunities; and richer countries can invest in health, education, technology, and other infrastructure that creates opportunities.

The distribution of wealth today is the result of centuries of conquest, slavery, colonialism, and racial discrimination. It is also driven by a global economy that rewards some and penalizes others, while powerful governments and special interests write the rules or apply them to their own advantage. In the year 2000, according to the fi rst comprehensive study of global wealth, the richest two percent of the world's adults owned more than half of the world's total household wealth.

In such a world, it should be no surprise that people try to move to improve their lot, and that many are not deterred by laws, fences, or danger. The phenomenon is worldwide, wherever wealth and poverty coexist: Africans from around the continent find their way to South Africa, South Asians find work in the Middle East, Mexicans and Central Americans cross the border to the southwestern U.S., people risk their lives on small boats from Africa to Europe, or from the Caribbean to Florida. Whatever governments do, people will continue to move as long as millions cannot find a way to make a living at home.

Those who do immigrate to rich countries, whether refugees or other migrants, legal or illegal, are often seen as threats by both governments and much of the public. Even in good times, when immigrants are seen as necessary for the economy, immigrants' rights are vulnerable, particularly if they are from groups that are viewed as "other" in racial, religious, or cultural terms. In the context of economic downturn, the potential for abuses rises. The trend is not confined to the United States: witness the violent response to immigrants from other African countries in South Africa and anti-foreigner actions in many European countries. With the added fear of terrorism, as in recent years under the Bush administration, and the failure to establish judicial checks on abuses by immigration authorities, detention raids, mistreatment of detainees, and other abuses have turned the immigration system under the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), integrated into the Department of Homeland Security, into a realm of fear and insecurity.

It is the responsibility of governments to manage immigration in a way that takes into account the interests of different countries and communities, while respecting the human rights of immigrants themselves. Yet major responsibility, particularly for establishing the climate of debate on policy, lies with civil society, including the media and nongovernmental organizations. Immigrants of different origins are often pitted against each other and against long-established minority communities in competition for scarce resources of jobs, housing, and other community services. Such divisions help create a tolerance for abuses against immigrants, and block efforts to find constructive solutions to real differences of interest. TransAfrica Forum is particularly aware of the complex mixture of views in African American communities on these issues, and of its particular responsibility to facilitate understanding and constructive dialogue.

The Way Ahead

Within the context of the inclusive security framework, immigration reform and implementation of immigration policy should be subjects not only of domestic debate, but also of negotiations with other aff ected countries and international dialogue including civil society as well as government institutions. It is essential to take into account fundamental principles and policy guidelines, such as those advanced by the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the American Friends Service Committee, and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. In particular TransAfrica Forum strongly endorses the principles and guidelines for immigration policy advanced by Black Alliance for Just Immigration.

These principles are:

  • All people, regardless of immigration status, country of origin, race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation or HIV status, deserve human rights as well as social and economic justice.
  • Historically and currently, U.S. immigration policy has been infused with racism, enforcing unequal and punitive standards for immigrants of color.
  • Immigration to the United States is driven by an unjust international economic order that deprives people of the ability to earn a living and raise their families in their home countries.
  • Through international trade, lending, aid and investment policies, the United States government and corporations are the main promoters and beneficiaries of this unjust economic order.
  • African Americans, with our history of being economically exploited, marginalized and discriminated against, have much in common with people of color who migrate to the United States, documented and undocumented.
To implement these principles, the following policy steps are recommended:
  • A fair path to legalization and citizenship for undocumented immigrants;

  • No criminalization of undocumented workers, immigrants, or their families, friends or service providers;

  • Due process, access to the courts, and meaningful judicial review for immigrants;

  • No mass deportations, indefinite detentions or expansion of mandatory detentions of undocumented immigrants;

  • The strengthening and enforcement of labor law protections for all workers, native and foreign born;

  • Reunification of families;

  • No use of local or state government agencies in the enforcement of immigration laws.

Specific measures that should be taken by Congress and the administration to implement these policies include:

  • Congress and the administration should review human rights abuses by federal, state, and local officials under the Immigration and Customs Enforcement system; they should recommend appropriate legal safeguards against such abuses and ensure that U.S. policies and actions conform to international human rights standards.

  • The United States should stop construction of the border fence with Mexico, and begin a serious dialogue with that neighboring country on orderly and just procedures for immigration control that respect the rights of all border-crossers as well as meet the needs for security of both countries.

  • Congress should pass the Child Citizen Protection Act introduced by Representative Jos‚ Serrano, which provides discretionary authority to an immigration judge to determine that an alien parent of a United States citizen child should not be ordered removed, deported, or excluded from the United States.

  • The United States should assign high priority to providing and extending temporary protected status to citizens of countries in crisis, particularly in those cases where previous U.S. policies bear significant responsibility for the crisis, such as in Liberia, Haiti, Somalia, and elsewhere.
Government action on these sensitive issues, in turn, depends on initiatives by civil society to establish a wider framework for analysis and dialogue. With its base in the African American community, and decades of experience and involvement in issues concerning Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America, TransAfrica Forum strongly supports efforts to expand public consideration of immigration and foreign policy within the context of an inclusive security framework.

Such a dialogue must include both immigrant and other civil society groups within the United States and civil society within the countries of immigration. Within this broader spectrum, TransAfrica Forum is particularly committed to expanding the opportunities for dialogue involving diverse sectors of the African Diaspora in the Americas as well as those involved in ongoing struggles for democracy and justice on the African continent.

The Human Security Project, developed by TransAfrica Forum, is designed to encourage a shift in U.S. policy towards Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean: a shift away from aggressive unilateralism toward human-centered global engagement. The project goal is two-fold:

(1) To introduce the inclusive human security framework to select U.S. audiences, and policymakers,

(2) To provide concrete policy recommendations, based on this framework, to Congress and the administration, that will not only be debated but will also be used to improve legislation. Inclusive Security: U.S. National Security Policy, Africa, and the African Diaspora is produced in collaboration with the TransAfrica Forum Scholars Council.

TransAfrica Forum Scholars Council and Project Co-Chairs:

  • Clarence Lusane, Professor, School of International Service, American University
  • Joseph Jordan, Director, Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Other Principal Participants in the Study Process:
  • Anthony Bogues, Chair, Africana Studies Department, Brown University
  • Horace Campbell, Professor, Syracuse University
  • Imani Countess, Senior Director for Public Affairs, TransAfrica Forum
  • Gerald Horne, John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies, University of Houston
  • William Minter, Editor, AfricaFocus Bulletin
  • Randy Persaud, Director, Comparative and Regional Studies, School of International Service, American University
  • Yash Tandon, Executive Director, The South Centre
  • Dr. Ronald Walters, Distinguished Leadership Scholar, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland at College Park
  • Sharon K. Weiner, Assistant Professor, School of International Studies, American University
Additional support provided by:

Fahamu, Networks for Social Justice, Nairobi and Oxford;

The South Centre, Geneva And the Africana Studies Department at Brown University

Research Interns:

Tendai Chinhakwe, Sarah Moenter, and Jean Boyle

Copy Editor: Alex Baramki


Anthony Bogues is Harmon Family Professor, Professor of Africana Studies and Political Science, and current Chair of Africana Studies at Brown University. He is the author of four books, over 50 articles, and editor of two volumes. His subjects range from Caribbean politics, history and literature to African politics and literature, and political theory. A former special assistant to the late Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley, he currently serves as an associate director of the Center for Caribbean Thought at the University of the West Indies and is an Honorary Professor at the Center for African Studies at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. During the 1990s he was a Ralph Bunche Fellow at Howard University. He is currently writing a biography of C.L.R. James as well as a book on freedom in the black intellectual tradition.

Horace Campbell has been an activist and scholar for more than forty years. Mr. Campbell is Professor of African American Studies and Political Science at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, where he is the Director of the Africa Initiatives. He works in the wider Syracuse Community as an activist for peace, and is a board member of the Syracuse Peace Council. He has published two books and edited three others. His book Rasta and Resistance: From Marcus Garvey to Walter Rodney is going through its sixth edition. He has contributed over twenty chapters to other edited books. Dr. Campbell is currently writing a book on the wars against the people of Angola. He is a member of the African Studies Association, the National Conference of Black Political Scientists, and the African Association of Political Science. Dr. Campbell was educated in the Caribbean, Canada, Uganda, and the UK. He did his doctoral work at Sussex University in the UK.

Imani Countess serves as the Senior Director of Public Affairs at TransAfrica Forum, where she works to conceptualize and implement public outreach activities to educate and motivate diverse communities around U.S. foreign policy. Ms. Countess served for five years as the U.S. national coordinator of the American Friends Service Committee Africa Program. Traveling throughout the continent of Africa and its global Diaspora, Ms. Countess created cutting-edge political and activist training events to increase public participation in policy making. Ms. Countess has advocated for more than twenty years for U.S. policies that promote sustainable development, economic equality, and participatory democracy in Africa.

Gerald C. Horne holds the John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston. His research has addressed issues of race in a variety of relations involving labor, politics, civil rights, and war. Dr. Horne received his Ph.D. in History from Columbia University, and his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of more than 17 books and 100 scholarly articles and reviews. His current research focuses on topics including slavery in the U.S. and Brazil, black labor at sea, the Communist Party in Hollywood, and Negro fascism.

Joseph F. Jordan is director of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was previously head of the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History in Atlanta and a senior research analyst on Africa for the Library of Congress. Jordan has also taught at Xavier University of Louisiana and at Antioch College. He received his doctorate in African studies from Howard University in 1983. Jordan edited a special issue of Crossroads magazine, "Th at Covenant Was Kept: Lessons of the U.S. Anti-Apartheid Movement," in 1995. As co-chair of the Southern Africa Support Project in Washington, DC, Jordan helped organize Nelson Mandela's first visit to the United States. He is curator of the widely acclaimed exhibit in Atlanta, "Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America."

Clarence Lusane is a professor at the School of International Service, American University. His research interests are in international race politics, human rights, and electoral politics. He teaches courses in comparative race relations; modern social movements; comparative politics of Africa, the Caribbean and Europe; black political theory and political behavior; international drug politics; and jazz and international relations. His most recent book is Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice: Foreign Policy, Race, and the New American Century (2006). He worked for eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives as a staff aide to former D.C. Congressman Walter E. Fauntroy, and then for the former Democratic Study Group that served as the primary source of legislative information and analysis for House Democrats. He is a national columnist for the Black Voices syndicated news network, and his articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. Dr. Lusane received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Howard University in 1997.

William Minter is the editor of AfricaFocus Bulletin, based in Washington, DC. He has worked as an author, scholar, journalist, and activist on African issues since the early 1960s. His latest book, co-edited with Gail Hovey and Charles Cobb, Jr., is No Easy Victories: African Liberation and American Activists over a Half Century, 1950-2000. In recent years, he has written and edited analyses of U.S. policy and African issues for, among other groups, the American Friends Service Committee, the Washington Office on Africa, the Africa Policy Information Center, Africa Action, and TransAfrica Forum.

Randolph B. Persaud is Professor of Comparative and Regional Studies in the School of International Service at American University. His research interests focus on globalization, human and global security, and north/south relations. He has previously served as Assistant Director of the Centre for International and Security Studies at York University in Toronto, where he received his Ph.D. Dr. Persaud is author of Counter- Hegemony and Foreign Policy: The Dialectics of Marginalized and Global Forces in Jamaica. He is currently working on a study of the nuances of American hegemony.

Yash Tandon serves as the Executive Director of the South Centre Secretariat in Geneva. He has taught at several African universities including Makerere in Uganda and the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. He is a founding member of the International South Group Network, which seeks to raise attention for issues in former colonies. He is also a founder of the Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Initiative. Professor Tandon has written extensively on matters related to African economy and international relations, and specializes in political economy.

Ronald W. Walters serves as "The Distinguished Leadership Scholar", Director of the African American Leadership Institute, and Full Professor of Government and Politics at the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership. He has also held positions at Howard University, Brandeis University, Harvard University, and Princeton University. He has also served as Senior Policy Staff member for Congressmen Charles Diggs, Jr. and William Gray. Dr. Walters received his B.A. from Fisk University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from American University. He is the author of more than 100 articles and six books.

Sharon K. Weiner is an assistant professor at the School of International Studies at American University. Her research interests focus on security and the interface between institutional design, bureaucratic politics, and U.S. defense and foreign policy. She is the recipient of a "Scholar of Vision" award from the Carnegie Corporation of New York for research in U.S.-Russian efforts to control the proliferation of nuclear weapons. She is the author of several book chapters and journal articles in leading foreign policy publications. Dr. Weiner received her B.A. and B.S. from Northeast Missouri State University, her M.A. from the University of Lancaster (UK), and her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.