The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Djibouti and Eritrea

June 13, 2008

Did you know that Djibouti is in the midst of a border conflict with Eritrea? I didn’t, and for that I blame American news outlets. According to the BBC, French troops are providing logistical and medical support to Djibouti’s forces. The United States has condemned “Eritrean aggression.”.

Eritrea, for its part, has condemned “‘US meddling’ in the Horn of Africa.”. Which presumably refers not just to the large US base in Djibouti (Camp Lemonier), but to its backing of Ethiopia and its related proxy (as well as direct) activities in Somalia.

Given the creation of AFRICOM, the fact that Africa remains one of the least politically stable regions in the world, and the growing importance of the continent to the “War on Terror,” we should expect to see more conflicts in which the United States plays some kind of role or, at least, has some stake in the outcome.

The French, of course, have often engaged in direct military action–of one form or another–on the continent.

Image from the US Department of State.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.