Decline of Westphalia in West Africa:
How Decentralized Power in West Africa Can be a Rebirth of African Identity
by Matthew D. Pride, Bryan C. Smith and Harmonie Foster
The day might soon arrive where responsible sub-state and non-state actors may rotate seats on the United Nations Security Council as non-voting members. It seems implausible today that a non-state actor would have the latitude to act officially within the existing framework of global institutions like the United Nations and the European Union, institutions exclusively built on a foundation of state actors and liberal governance. Still, the modern-day rise of non-state actors wielding power and influence is unprecedented in world history. Despite potential negative aspects of rising non-state actors, this article argues the potential for state advancement through effective cooperation with sub-state and non-state actors within the existing order. In West Africa, powerful and responsible non-state and sub-state actors, who leverage globalization and political decentralization to secure “political goods”—what scholars consider “critical ingredients of good governance”—that advance stability and security may be the critical factor missing from the region to allow African nation-states to flourish and thrive.
The world’s larger sub-state and non-state actors (i.e., nongovernmental organizations [NGOs], multinational corporations, intergovernmental organizations [IGOs], and terrorist groups) employ hundreds of thousands of people from dozens of countries and frequently deliver on political goods more effectively than smaller governments. Large multinational corporations (e.g., Walmart) often provide their employees with benefits and entitlements that small governments struggle to provide, such as educational and development opportunities, access to health services, commercial and communication infrastructure, and safe work environments. Unfortunately, the news is not all good…
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| About the Authors:
Major Matthew D. Pride is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College’s masters of military art and science program with a focus area in strategic studies. He also earned a M.S. from University of Missouri Science & Technology in Engineering Management and is a B.S. in Environmental Geography from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.
Major Bryan C. Smith is an active duty Strategic Plans and Policy officer assigned as a Contingency Planner at United States Southern Command in Doral, Florida. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 2001 with a B.A. in Economics. In 2013 he earned a M.A. in Political Science from George Mason University. He is a 2017 graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
Major Harmonie Foster is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Major Foster received her M.A. Degree in Management and Leadership from Webster University, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and her B.S. in Management from Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana. She is currently assigned as the Deputy State Surgeon for the Indiana Army National Guard.