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By Christopher Clapham

African independence embarked on overseas politics a gaggle of the world's poorest, weakest and so much synthetic states. How have such states controlled to outlive? To what volume is their survival now threatened? Christopher Clapham exhibits how an in the beginning supportive foreign setting has develop into more and more threatening to African rulers and the states over which they preside. the writer finds how foreign conventions designed to uphold kingdom sovereignty have usually been appropriated and subverted by way of rulers to reinforce their household keep watch over, and the way African states were undermined via guerrilla insurgencies and using diplomacy to serve basically deepest ends.

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Sample text

But the 'idea of the state' underlying the territorial integrity of most African states none the less rested much more on the maintenance of inherited colonial boundaries than on any internal rationale. The governmental legitimacy of newly independent states was even 19 African states and global politics more fragile. Though most of them reached independence under governments which had achieved popular support in reasonably fair elections, many of these governments lost much of their support over time, and were not subject to regular contested elections through which to re-establish their credentials.

In all but the most exceptional cases, those people who constituted the government had an interest in their own survival, and thus in their continued control over the state's territory and population. If they could not achieve this end through the support of the population, they were likely to seek to achieve it through the support of outside powers, and their relations with the rest of the population were correspondingly altered. Those African rulers who, in the later years of the nineteenth century, signed protectorate treaties with intrusive colonial powers may well have been right to regard such treaties as essential for their own survival; but even those who had initially enjoyed the fullest legitimacy among their subjects came with time to act as the agents of colonial rule.

The effect of these provisions was to enhance the power of those individuals who gained the right to 'represent' states in the international community. Those who formed the government of an internationally recognised state were able to make alliances with other states, and to use their own domestic statehood as a bargaining counter with which to attract resources, such as weapons or development aid, which could enhance their ability to retain domestic control. They were also in some degree insulated against the danger of attack by their neighbours, and against the possibility that dissident groups within their own territories might gain international support.

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