Using a great power-small power theoretical approach and advancing a supplier-recipient barganing model, Jeffery Lefebvre attempts to explain what the United States has paid for its relations with two weak and vulnerable arms recipients in the Horn of Africa.
Through massive documentation and extensive interviewing, Lefebvre sorts through the confusions and shifts of the United States’ post-World War II relations with Ethiopia and Somalia, two primary antagonists in the Horn of Africa. He consulted State Department, Pentagon, and AID officials, congressional staffers, current and former ambassadors, and Ethiopian and Somali government advisers.
The story of U.S. arms transfers to northeast Africa is tangled and complex. In 1953, 1960, and 1964-66, the United States entered into various arms provision deals with Ethiopia, spurred by the Soviet-sponsored buildup in the region. Policy changed in the 1970s: Nixon refused a large aid request in 1973, and in 1977 Carter ended Ethiopia’s military aid on human rights grounds and denied aid to Somalia during the 1977-78 Ogaden War. Reversing this policy, the Reagan administration extended military aid to Somalia despite its aggressive moves against Ethiopia. Changes in U.S. relations and the revolution in Somalia have altered the picture once more.
Jeffery Lefebvre concludes that U.S. diplomacy in northeast Africa has been overly influenced by a cold war mentality. In their obsession with countering Soviet pressure in the Third World, Washington decision makers exposed U.S. interests to unnecessary risks and given far too much for value received during four decades of vacillating and misguided foreign policy.
Arms for the Horn should interest all concerned with arms transfer issues and security studies, as well as specialist in Africa and the Middle East.