By Christopher Clapham

African independence embarked on overseas politics a bunch of the world's poorest, weakest and so much synthetic states. How have such states controlled to outlive? To what volume is their survival now threatened? Christopher Clapham exhibits how an before everything supportive foreign atmosphere has turn into more and more threatening to African rulers and the states over which they preside. the writer unearths how overseas conventions designed to uphold kingdom sovereignty have usually been appropriated and subverted through rulers to reinforce their household keep an eye on, and the way African states were undermined by means of guerrilla insurgencies and using diplomacy to serve primarily deepest ends.

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Extra resources for Africa and the International System: The Politics of State Survival

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How did these interloping Europeans come to establish such a grid of embryonic states in a continent where Africans, over countless generations, had not done so? To a large extent, of course, the colonisers simply established the kind of territorial structure which they assumed from their own experience to be a necessary and indispensable element of government. The boundaries which they demarcated, regardless of whether they meant anything to Africans, were essential in order to regulate competition between themselves.

This in turn exacerbated the relationship between the government and the people whom it ruled. In all but the most exceptional cases, those people who constituted the government had an interest in their own survival, and thus in their continued control over the state's territory and population. If they could not achieve this end through the support of the population, they were likely to seek to achieve it through the support of outside powers, and their relations with the rest of the population were correspondingly altered.

3 Though Africa has certainly sustained a number of impressive and long-lasting political systems which have as good a claim to statehood as their European equivalents at a similar stage of technological development, these have mostly been restricted to the population centres already noted. They have moreover tended to consist in a core, whose control over a progressively less governable periphery has expanded or contracted in accordance with its internal stability and economic and military strength: whereas European states defined themselves and fixed their boundaries in competition with neighbouring states much like themselves, African ones formed islands of relatively settled government, beyond which stretched deserts, forests or zones of progressively impoverished savannah which a strong ruler would seek to control but from which a weak one would retreat.

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