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Air & Space Power Journal

Volume 06, Issue 3, Fall 2015

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Power Transition, China and Africa, Global Health, Genocide, Operation Serval, and the Indian-American Partnership

Rémy M. Mauduit
As usual, this issue of Air and Space Power Journal-Africa and Francophonie addresses diverse topics relevant to our time and its readers in 185 countries. This editorial serves as a guide to introduce the many topics covered in this edition.


Beyond Peace and War: Towards a Typology of Power Transitions

Carsten Rauch, PhD
This article argues that the spectrum of power transitions or better power transition constellations is even broader than this and goes beyond just war and peace. Consequently, the article amends PTT by adding a variable that captures the willingness of rising powers to commit themselves to change the status quo. (This is not the same as mere dissatisfaction, and both might not be congruent.) Such an addition increases the potential types of power transitions from two (peaceful power transition and power transition war) to four. In addition, the article maintains that it is necessary to discuss the peculiar role of the dominant power within the PTT framework.

China’s Worldview and Representations of its Engagement with Africa

Earl Conteh-Morgan, PhD
China’s engagement with Africa has generated discourse that is both positive and negative. In this article, a select number of sources—articles, official speeches, policy documents, among others—are utilized in order to compare and contrast representations of China’s role in Africa. It is argued that discourse on China’s engagement in Africa is a result of : (1) differences in worldview between the West and China; (2) the perceived threat that China poses to the West’s hegemonic status in Africa; (3) China’s lack of commitment to some international regimes; (4) the fact that China may be providing an alternative development model not grounded in liberal democratic values; and (5) the tangible infrastructural projects that China has constructed in Africa.

Where Are Rights, Where Is Responsibility? Who Acts for Global Public Health?

Annamarie Bindenagel Šehovic, PhD
There is a tension inherent between rights and responsibility. Whose and which rights are to be protected? Who or which entities bear responsibility for ensuring those rights? Who acts, and how, for (global) public health? Despite decades of rights’ advocacy and acceptance, promoted and solidified in the public health arena by advances in access to public health services, these questions remain largely unanswered.

South African Springtime, Rwanda Winter: Why April 1994 Illuminates the Limitation of Political Analysis in Predicting Genocide

Arthur Gilbert, PhD
Kristina Hook

Musing on the 1994 contrast between Rwanda's genocide and South Africa's conciliatory presidential elections, Mahmood Mamdani states, "If some seer had told us . . . there would be genocide . . . how many of us would have [identified] correctly its location?" This conundrum highlights profound genocide prediction questions. Many scholars pinpoint Nelson Mandela's towering leadership, including the antistructuralist Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, who writes of Mandela's "character, disposition, and foresight/". Even Marisa Traniello's structural analysis on Rwandan and South African power sharing ultimately admits that the latter was "led by a dream team of elites.". Despite the initial differences of the two investigations, then, each would agree regarding the catastrophic consequences of South Africa's elites being assassinated. Therefore, we contend that additional genocidal criteria must exist alongside leadership and political systems. Did international publicity create antigenocidal momentum in South Africa? Do economic variables encourage reconciliation, given Rwanda's poor agricultural economy and South Africa's developed industrial status? What disparities existed under apartheid versus colonial-encouraged ethnic divisions? What role did the relative absence or predominance of outside invasion fears (South Africa and Rwanda, respectively) play? Only by looking beyond personality and politics can we comprehend why April 1994 ushered in two such disparate eras and how this informs genocide-prediction frameworks.

Operation Serval: Analyzing the French Strategy Against Jihadists in Mali

Lt Col Stéphane Spet, French Air Force
Operation Serval fulfilled the limited objectives set by the French President in order to liberate northern Mali. This initial victory in the struggle against terrorists in the Sahel is explained by adherence to strategic principles : first, a clear political direction shaped at the highest political level relying on a good understanding of the situation and its causes in order to avoid political traps; second, a combination of economy of means, initiative and concentration of forces displayed in the use of a combination of Special Forces mentoring local military forces and supported by airpower to track and destroy the enemy and weaken its will to fight; third, the full use of ‘’boots on the ground’’ to keep the initiative by holding the ground acquired by the Special Forces and the air campaign but also to focus massive force on the point of weakness of the enemy during the final assault against jihadist stronghold; and finally the shaping of an exit strategy to avoid a quagmire. France benefited from many contextual advantages: its knowledge of the area of operation; a support from countries neighboring Mali; the enemy’s lack of support within the Malian population; a proximity with French forward bases in Africa as well as an optimal geography for this kind of military operation.

Building a Partnership between the United States and India: Exploring Airpower’s Potential

Adam B. Lowther, PhD
Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, PhD

This article examines current and prospective opportunities for the United States Air Force and the Indian Air Force to collaborate in the development of airpower diplomacy as a means of building partnerships. In suggesting that soft power plays an important role in achieving American and Indian objectives in the Asia-Pacific, the authors offer a number of examples that illustrate how soft power initiatives between the two air forces helped strengthen the larger Indian-American relationship. They also suggest additional initiatives as possible options for expanding airpower diplomacy.

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