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The War on Terror and the Crisis of Postcoloniality in Africa

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Abstract:

Back in the early 1990s when a section of the American foreign policy think tank and the intelligentsia were euphorically forecasting scenarios for the consolidation of western victory in the Cold War, James Woolsey, then head of the US Central Intelligence Agency forewarned that the widely celebrated victory and transition to the post-Cold War era was akin to the West, having slain the dragon (of Soviet threat), now living in a jungle full of poisonous snakes (Woolsey 1993). There can hardly be a better metaphoric representation of the post-9/11 projection of American power in the postcolonial world, especially in Africa. This article argues that the US-led war on terror tends to reinforce the crisis of postcoloniality in Africa by deliberately producing metaphors, images, discourses, doctrines and policies aimed at magnifying and mainstreaming terrorism scares on the turbulent politico-economic landscape of Africa, as a means to justify imperial governance and supervision. It is a project that ideologically feeds into influential transhistorical discourses and portrayal of Africa as a timespace of infantilism, requiring endless western propping and chaperoning. Evidently, African political regimes serve as satellite collaborators in the enterprise in a trajectory that the author captures within the discursive framework of postcoloniality.

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