Framing Kony: Uganda's war, Obama's advisers and the nature of "influence" in Western foreign policy-making

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This article explores the influence of actors and organisations outside the corridors of power in Washington, DC on US ‘crisis foreign policy making’ in Africa. Focusing on the case of US policy towards the lra/northern Uganda crisis – particularly the Obama administration’s 2011 decision to send ‘combat-equipped US forces’ to pursue the rebel group across central Africa – it is argued that the role of African governments themselves merits greater consideration. The decision to send in these ‘military advisers’ was arguably strongly influenced by campaigns run by Western policy institutes, notably the International Crisis Group, and US advocacy groups since around 2007. The Ugandan regime of Yoweri Museveni has – it is suggested – nevertheless itself fundamentally shaped the nature and direction of the debate into which such groups have entered. This raises crucial questions about the agency of African governments in Western ‘crisis’ decision-making fora.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)686-704
JournalThird World Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2014


  • Uganda
  • LRA
  • agency
  • Africa
  • foreign policy analysis
  • International Crisis Group (Icg)
  • Enough Project


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