Transatlantic cooperation on terrorism and Islamist radicalisation in Africa: the Franco-American axis

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Transatlantic cooperation on security has a long history. In Africa, transatlantic cooperation on security is basically between France and the United States. This paper asks why the two former competitors in Africa started to cooperate and also why they are so willing to engage militarily. The central argument in this paper poses that France and the US cooperate because it is indispensable to both parties. To France, the cooperation is indispensable because the US is the only power with sufficient financial means and with sufficient air-lift capacity to transport French and African troops into conflict-ridden countries. To Washington, cooperation with Paris is indispensable because the French authorities have unique access to intelligence and knowledge about large parts of Africa. By applying a foreign policy analysis framework, the paper analyses how perceptions of decision-makers, the role of personality and leadership, the role of government institutions and political systems have impacted the relevant decisions. It is emphasised that the two different decision-making systems – the French “state dominated” and the American “society dominated” – produce the same result, namely collaboration. It suggests that the perception of a serious threat from terrorism and Islamist radicalisation overrules differences in decision-making systems.
TidsskriftEuropean Security
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)41-57
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - 4 jan. 2018


  • Foreign policy analysis
  • islamist radicalisation
  • terrorism
  • government decision-makers
  • decision-making

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