The CCISS Intelligence and National Security Seminar
Dancing on the Brink:
Nigeria's Current Political Crisis
Council on Foreign Relations
Nigeria, the United States' most important strategic partner in West Africa, is in trouble. While Nigerians often claim they are masters of dancing on the brink without falling off, the recent vacuum in government authority, the upcoming 2011 elections, and escalating violence in the delta and the north may finally provide the impetus that pushes it into the abyss of state failure. In this presentation, Campbell explores Nigeria's postcolonial history and presents a nuanced explanation of the events and conditions that have carried this complex, dynamic, and very troubled giant to the edge.
John Campbell is the Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York. His new book, Nigeria: Dancing on the Brink, has recently been published by Rowman & Littlefield. He also writes the blog "Africa in Transition". From 1975 to 2007, Ambassador Campbell served as a U.S. Department of State Foreign Service officer. He served twice in Nigeria, as political counselor from 1988 to 1990, and as ambassador from 2004 to 2007. Ambassador Campbell's additional overseas postings include Lyon, Paris, Geneva, and Pretoria. He also served as deputy assistant secretary for human resources, dean of the Foreign Service Institute's School of Language Studies, and director of the Office of UN Political Affairs. From 2007 to 2008, he was a visiting professor of international relations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was also a Department of State mid-career fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University. Prior to his career in the Foreign Service, he taught British and French history at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia. Ambassador Campbell received a BA and MA from the University of Virginia and a PhD in seventeenth-century English history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.