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William Reno.docx

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 324
Khalid Medani

War, Markets and the Re-Configuration of West African States—William Reno -Article is essentially about how and why and increasing amount of African rulers are opting for alternatives to bureaucratic, territorially bounded institutional arrangements. The author uses the term political unit to describe these ambiguous states and non-state organizations. None of them asserts exclusive control over internal groups, conforms to clear territorial limits or fulfills international obligations. Nor do they fulfill the requirements of cold war third world standards of sovereignty. -Rulers have found the cold war patron client networks based on foreign aid unsustainable, and have been challenged by ‘strongmen’ cut off from traditional forms of patronage. -Essentially these ‘non-state organizations’ are a response from leaders attempting to manage after the sudden end to the cold war. Rapid internal and external change. It is not always in a rulers interests to maintain strong bureaucracies and state agencies. Often these are destroyed simply to prevent them from being used by rivals. -also the emergence of a trans-continental African elite and their influence on both internal and external forces further weakens a system which assumes strict territorially defined units. -During the cold war, form of Marxist political organization were often used to manage ethnic differences. State bureaucracies were put to work distributing patronage. However this paradigm has shifted, Bretton wood lending institutions with strict conditionality attached to loans has meant the cutting of state bureaucracies and the reduction of patronage. This has meant the emergence of strongmen seeking access to resources outside of traditional channels. -Often rulers who hold onto power in these political units must contract out the use of force by hiring mercenaries form other countries, leading to the proliferation of these mercenary organizations. -Often rulers may use insistence on privatization as a means to favour certain factions and groups by allowing them access to the new resources available or to the loaned funds from credit institutions. H
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