Redrawing the Borders of Africa is a geopolitical book written in 2005 discussing potential changes to the political landscape of Africa so as to increase stability and prosperity on the continent in the aftermath of conflict.


The book spends its first section illustrating the reasoning behind the current outlines of African borders. Contrary to popular belief, the Europeans, so the book says, did take care in making many of the borders. The problem, however, was that the assumptions made about the African political environment were based on facts from a different age, one in which the Europeans continued to dominate the globe. Borders mandated an orientation toward the sea and a common issue of a split between the interior and coast.

The author spends the next chapter discerning the journey that the states of Europe have taken locally, as their borders shifted and changed. He notes that when three powers expand toward a single point, they usually partition any state in between, due to the lack of a need for a buffer. When two of the powers would have a dispute, the third power would play the role of neutral party or throw in its weight to rebalance the system. However, when more than three powers faced each other, a buffer state would often apear in between the powers. Two powers facing each other usually led to war.

The next section analyzes the  wars that have occured after 1990. The common-stated element in international conflict tends to be a sudden weakening of a power and the invervention of outside powers, either African or external, to intercede in the conflict and fill the vacuum. Then, the interceding powers construct some form of arrangement where the weakened power is restored as a functioning balancing actor, but not so much as to turn it into a threat. This was the case in the DRC and is still ongoing in Somalia.

Finally, the book spends a section looking at the future of the continent. In areas of constant violence, he states, he predicts the eventual secession of the cooresponding region (he correctly forecast the secession of South Sudan, for example). The secession has to be at the initiative of an outside power, because regional powers will just restore the old balance to their collective liking. Once the secession happens, the orientation of the new state becomes a key issue. Here, in balkanization, lies the root of truly catastrophic warfare, but also the seeds of lasting prosperity on the continent. He anticipates the three-power arrangement to pervade the continent by the end of the century.

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