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‘Enormous Opportunities’ and ‘Hot Frontiers’: Sub-Saharan Africa in U.S. Grand Strategy, 2001-Present

Ryan, Maria


Assistant Professor


This article argues that, in the 21st century, there has been a significant turnaround in the US approach to Sub-Saharan Africa. No longer is the region viewed solely as the site of human tragedy and internal wars where Washington has no tangible interests. Instead, US policymakers have increasingly viewed this part of Africa as a site of valuable commercial, geopolitical, and security interests—with particular emphasis on petroleum reserves, the market potential of its growing population, and its apparent locus as a site of transnational Islamist terrorism. Sub-Saharan Africa is now considered in grand strategic terms. Unintended consequences of US intervention are already visible, however; as it integrates the region into its global strategic calculus, the United States has begun to repeat mistakes made in other key regions of the world.


Ryan, M. (2019). ‘Enormous Opportunities’ and ‘Hot Frontiers’: Sub-Saharan Africa in U.S. Grand Strategy, 2001-Present. International History Review, 42(1), 155-175.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 25, 2018
Online Publication Date Jan 10, 2019
Publication Date 2019-01
Deposit Date Sep 26, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jul 11, 2020
Journal International History Review
Print ISSN 0707-5332
Electronic ISSN 1949-6540
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 42
Issue 1
Pages 155-175
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International History Review on 10 January 2019, available online: http://www.tandfonline....0/07075332.2018.1529696


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