Henry Kissinger and Africa: Camden Conference

On October 14, Wednesday, 7pm, Bob Rackmales will give a talk on Kissinger’s involvement of the US in the Angolan War, the events leading to military defeat, and whether it might have been “Henry Kissinger’s Bay of Pigs”. This program is one of our Camden Conference Community Partner events.

In the summer of 1975, three months after the fall of Saigon ended the Vietnam War, a new front opened in the Cold War in the remote Portuguese African colony of Angola. Although Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had paid little attention to Africa in his previous years in office, his controversial decision to involve the United States in the warfare in southern Africa would have long term consequences for the people of Angola, for US relations with the USSR, Cuba and China, and for Kissinger’s reputation as a statesman. Using recently declassified US, South African and Cuban documents and graphic documentary footage, we will critically examine the events leading to the military defeat of the forces backed by the United States and discuss whether the Angolan War was, as some have called it, “Henry Kissinger’s Bay of Pigs”.

Bob Rackmales’s Africa experience with the Department of State included tours in the US embassies in Lagos, Nigeria, and Mogadishu, Somalia, and as Consul General in Kaduna, Nigeria. He is a member of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the American Foreign Service Association, and previously served on the Board of Directors of the Camden Conference and the Senior College at Belfast, where he has taught a number of courses on foreign policy and contemporary history.

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