Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction, but Which Comes First?

In February 2012, I finished the first draft of my debut novel about an imaginary coup in Mali and American diplomatic efforts to reverse it in the middle of a terrorist attack. My fictional junta in Bamako called itself “The Council for the Restoration of Democracy” and my fictional terrorists were Ansar al-Sahra. Six weeks later, Mali had a real coup when the “National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State” seized power and, a few days later, the northern half of Mali was overtaken by militant groups including a never-heard-of-before Ansar al-Dine.

Three Reasons Why Electricity Should Be President Obama’s Legacy in Africa

A month after the inauguration, it’s not too early for the White House to start thinking about legacies. President Obama will surely want some signature development achievement that will outlive his Administration and help, in the public mind, to solidify the connections between Africa and the American people. To be worthy of a US President, and especially one with a family connection to the continent, it has to be something great. Bill Clinton has AGOA. George W.

After France Attacks Radicals in Mali, What Next for the United States?

The unexpectedly sudden French military action in Mali is a first step toward reunifying the country, but it also highlights the risks for outsiders, including the United States. In the days ahead, the US will need to balance its cautious instincts on Mali with the imperative to help shape events as they unfold. In the months ahead, the US must reflect on the future of American counterterrorism and democracy strategies in places without a massive US military presence.