Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

US Policy Toward Africa: Eight Decades of Realpolitik

Herman J. Cohen
US Policy Toward Africa: Eight Decades of Realpolitik
ISBN: 978-1-62637-869-8
ISBN: 978-1-62637-870-4
Forthcoming January 2020/260 pages/LC: 2019033985
An ADST-DACOR Diplomats and Diplomacy Book


Herman Cohen draws on both the documentary record and his years of on-the-ground experience to provide a uniquely comprehensive survey and interpretation of nearly eight decades of US policy toward Africa.

Tracing how this policy has evolved across successive administrations since 1942 (beginning with President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third term in office), Cohen illuminates the debates that have taken place at the highest levels of government; shows how policy toward Africa has been affected over the years by US relations with Europe, the Soviet Union, the Middle East, and most recently China; and points to the increasing reliance of Western economic interests on Africa's natural resources. His deeply informed narrative reveals the roles not only of circumstance and ideology, but also of personalities, in the formulation and implementation of US foreign policy.


Herman J. Cohen was a member of the US Foreign Service for thirty-eight years, posted to embassies in France, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. He was US ambassador to Senegal and The Gambia and served as assistant secretary of state for Africa under President George H. W. Bush. Subsequently, he was senior adviser in the Africa region at the World Bank. He is now president of Cohen and Woods, an international consulting firm.


  • The United States and Africa: A Historical Perspective.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1941-1945.
  • Harry S. Truman, 1945-1953.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953-1961.
  • John F. Kennedy, 1961-1963.
  • Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-1969.
  • Richard M. Nixon, 1969-1974.
  • Gerald Ford, 1974-1977.
  • Jimmy Carter, 1977-1981.
  • Ronald Reagan, 1981-1989.
  • George H. W. Bush, 1989-1993.
  • William J. Clinton, 1993-2001.
  • George W. Bush, 2001-2009.
  • Barack H. Obama, 2009-2017.
  • Donald Trump, 2017-2019.
  • Reflections on Successes and Failures.