In the 2018 National Defense Strategy, the Department of Defense announced a shift away from counterterrorism operations around the world to focus on major state power competition.
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Editor's Note: The United States is more engaged in Africa than ever before. This increasing role is occurring as Africa struggles with political liberalization: although we’ve seen impressive successes, much of the continent is mired in authoritarianism. Kristen Harkness of the University of St. Andrews explains the different ways that militaries can interfere with successful democratization. She argues that the West should focus on reforming militaries as part of a broader effort to democratize and stabilize Africa.
Editor's Note: The United States has long depended on a worldwide network of military bases to project power, reassure allies, contain enemies, and fight terrorism. Indeed, as the Islamic State has metastasized, the Pentagon is considering expanding the U.S. basing network in the developing world, particularly in Africa. Renanah Miles and Brian Blankenship of Columbia University describe how China and other countries are joining this quest for bases. They argue the resulting competition is creating a market, and a dysfunctional one, for access.