More on African militaries, AIDS, and the Security Threat

I posted a comment on TPM Cafe about the link between AIDS and U.S. National Security. Here it is:

The hollowing out of African militaries due to AIDS is a significant problem, and one that, as the author points out, bodes ill for peace-keeping operations as well as African solutions for African problems. What this means for American national security is another question. I think there may be a temptation to overstate what state failure and governance problems in Africa mean for the U.S.

I fear that advocates who use national security language do so because they think the issue won’t get enough attention otherwise. The striking thing about HIV/AIDS it seems to me is that moral concerns have been important drivers for this White House to do something significant about the disease. The question becomes, would they have done that much less if concerns about state failure and terrorism (and wanting to project a benign face of America) not been other important considerations? To put it bluntly, did it take 9/11 to get PEPFAR?

Given the mobilization of Christian conservatives on this issue, along with more liberal AIDS activists, I think this White House was prepared to do a lot already.

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One Response to “More on African militaries, AIDS, and the Security Threat”

  1. […] There is no shortage of studies looking at the links between AIDS and security (the Council on Foreign Relations has a long study, Tony Barnett at the LSE has another, Stephan Elbe has a long piece in International Studies Quarterly, and P.W. Singer has a piece in Survival). There is also the famous National Intelligence Council report warning of the next generation of AIDS cases in China, India, and Russia. We’ve also blogged (and here) about the links between HIV and security. Despite these purported links, Alex de Waal in his recent book makes a pretty strong case for why AIDS hasn’t been much of a political issue yet which I think also causes us to wonder about whether or not AIDS will become a security challenge. […]