US Leadership and the AIDS Epidemic in Africa
Uploaded by roseline55 on Nov 19, 2003
The end of the Cold War ushered in a new era in American Foreign Policy. With the United States coming out as the dominant world power some predicted that the world was heading for a new age of peace, an “integrated international system based on the principles of liberal democracy and free markets” (Brower and Chalk 1). The United States’ victory proved that these were the best models for government and general social structure. Yet, the past decade has been filled with a growing sense of unease and the insurgence of non-traditional challenges. The threats may not be as imminent as possible mutual nuclear destruction, but they are vast and varied. In some ways, the world we live in now is more dangerous than that of the relatively monotonous Cold War years. There is no longer one major clear threat, no obvious division between good guy and bad guy.
The majority of the current threats facing the United States are nebulous in nature with a common thread of transnationalism running through them. This includes the drug trade, environmental degradation, terrorism, and the spread of disease. None of these problems have a “return address,” and none of them can be traced back to a single people or nation. These are “threats without enemies” (Abshire 42). AIDS is such a threat. By the year 2011, the disease is expected to have killed over 80 million people worldwide (Brower and Chalk 7).
Without doubt, Africa has been the hardest hit by the AIDS virus. The continental average is now 8.6 percent as opposed to 1.1 percent worldwide (Morrison 198). The impact of HIV/AIDS on Africa’s security and stability has been and continues to be substantial. Not only has the disease led to large-scale human death and suffering, but it has also undermined social and economic stability, weakened military preparedness and contributed to crime (Brower and Chalk 42). Without strong US leadership and multilateral international cooperation the AIDS epidemic in Africa will grow to monstrous proportions, severally turning back the tide of development in dozens of countries.
The virus is so pervasive in South Africa that statisticians at the University of Cape Town project South African life expectancy at birth to fall to 40 years by 2010, down from 60 years in 1997 (Brower and Chalk 43). According to the Department of Health, by 2005 nearly one million South African children under the age of...