American Military and the 'War' on Terrorism: Watching Over Africa

General Charles Wald is a large, imposing man with the easy manner of someone used to being obeyed.

The World Today Updated 16 October 2020 Published 1 July 2004 4 minute READ

Martin Plaut

Fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies

Charles Wald is second in command of the United States European Command (EUCOM), working from the giant Ramstein air base on the outskirts of Stuttgart in Germany. But Wald’s mind is no longer focused primarily on the North German plain and the threat from the east. He has special responsibility for Africa. 

Indeed, so much of EUCOM’s time is now spent looking south that there are moves afoot to rename the command to reflect its new priorities. It would not be an exaggeration to describe the general as one the most powerful influences on the continent’s affairs. Yet his is a name almost no African has ever heard.

American interest in Africa waned at the end of the Cold War. The great struggles with the Soviet Union for influence over Angola and the Horn of Africa were clearly a thing of the past. Washington’s involvement was relegated to the back burner.

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