The colonial boundaries imposed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries have become the State boundaries of today.
These artificially created structures, surrounding and concentrating large numbers of dissimilar cultural groups (tribes), have tended to breed and exacerbate inter-group tensions and rivalries, and larger inter-country conflicts — Sierra Leone, Sudan, Angola, Dem. of the Congo, and Rwanda being contemporary examples of this dynamic.
Although the stated intention of political leaders and economic policymakers is to stabilize the system by inhibiting fluctuations, the result tends to be the opposite.
These artificially constrained systems become prone to ‘Black Swans’ -- that is, they become extremely vulnerable to large-scale events that lie far from the statistical norm and were largely unpredictable to a given set of observers.” “Such environments” he continues, “eventually experience massive blowups, catching everyone off-guard and undoing years of stability or, in some cases, ending up far worse than they were in their initial volatile state.
European colonists in 1884 were wholly indifferent to existing groups and cultures as they laid down the State borders, and most of these borders still exist today.
Pre-colonial Africa was dominated by tribal religions.
In every state and region, the introduction of Democratic institutions will inevitably produce varied and unexpected outcomes.
Further, there always exists the possibility of “Democratic Paradox” — when democratic institutions and traditions choose to freely embrace something less than, or other than, democracy.
What the United States (and others) learns from public health and epidemiological investigations in Africa will be critical to whether it is possible to stem this nascent pandemic from spreading across Asia and into Russia.
In the Post-Colonial period this boundless font of hope and energy has morphed into a less focused, less cohesive, and energetic phase in a general war against poverty.
Yet it is possible perhaps, that the seminal and rapidly unfolding events of the Arab Spring will prove a catalyst for something else.
In Tunisia, the most recent developments could provide a catalyst for robustly proliferating democracies across the Maghreb, Africa, and indeed, the entire Arab world, or it could deteriorate into a situation like that of Algeria in the early 1990s, where democratisation was abruptly halted, and the country plunged into a murderous civil war, when it became evident that a democratically elected Islamist government might legitimately come to power.
Despite Washington’s obvious prior knowledge — at least in 2009 — of Tunisia’s blatant human rights violations, abuse of power and the existence of a police state, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress June 30 (2010) of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Tunisia for the refurbishment of 12 SH-60F Multi-Mission Utility Helicopters, being provided as Excess Defense Articles, and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of 2 million.“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been and continues to be an important force for economic and military progress in North Africa.” In mid-April, The New York Times reported, “even as the United States poured billions of dollars into foreign military programs and anti-terrorism campaigns, a small core of government-financed organizations” channeled money to democratic movements within these countries.