The United States and the Nigerian Civil War : A review of United States foreign policy from the perspective of the Federal Military Government

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1974

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Abstract

The Nigerian Civil War was one of the major political and military crises to erupt in the late 1960's. This African conflict lasted over two years and involved many nations, including the United States. The purpose of this thesis is to focus on United States foreign policy from the perspective of the Federal Military Government hypothesizing that American policy was contradictory to its stated aims, for, by providing relief supplies to Biafra, it became politically entangled in the crisis and prolonged the conflict. To accomplish the. purpose of this thesis, I propose to use a descriptive approach to review United States policy statements, diplomacy, sanctions, and humanitarian aid to show that these undertakings were inadequate on several counts. This requires an examination of the effect of American activities on the belligerents and their reactions to this policy. Some of the conceptual ideas about foreign policy and the variables influencing it have been adapted from-James Rosenau and K. J. Holsti. Several conclusions can be made about United States policy: (1) it was inconsistent, (2) American reactions were reserve and cautious, reflecting the ambiguity of its aims, and (3) American officials thought this policy was neutral, but the Nigerians and the Biafrans felt United States actions had political implications.

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Keywords

Nigerian Civil War, United States, Foreign policy

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