Patterned Dynamism: US Policy Securing Strategic, Humanitarian and Economic Interests in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1996-2016

  • Cyrille Mabiata Nzobo

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The United States (US)policy towards the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been proving to comply with resolute principles. When looking at this policy between 1996 and 2016;thatis, in Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama’s eras, scholars have suggested its ad hoc nature. They have depicted it as a response to temporary issues relating to the rule of law, poverty and access to natural resources. This thesis, instead, explores this policy dynamism and claims that it had articulated upon a set of permanent values, namely: stability, governance and business. These values had crossed the three eras, thereby denoting continuity. While this policy implementation responded to events on the ground, at its core, its objectives remained constant across this period. The thesis offers, therefore, an accurate account of this policy in its contemporary dynamic securing US strategic, humanitarian and economic interests in the DRC. The central argument of the thesis is that US policy towards the DRCbetween1996 and 2016 manifested a ‘patterned dynamism’, underpinned by its constant upgrade in its implementation and the continuity of its objectives rooted in the US interests. These objectives were the DRC stability and territorial integrity for US strategic interests, democratic governance and human development for US humanitarian interests, and favourable trade alongside US firms’ competitiveness in search of US economic interests.
    The thesis argues that this continuity and upgrade form a pattern. This revises, therefore, the said literature by upholding these trends, which fit in with the guiding policy principles in these three eras. Hence, the thesis employs the term ‘patterned dynamism’ to underpin these two trends at the centre of this policy, but does not test any international or political theory. It is the isolation of the US policy ‘patterned dynamism ’with its pillared continuity and upgrade obtained from empirical data analysis that forms this thesis’ contribution to knowledge. The thesis’ argument is supported by evidence collected from primary documents holding information issued by US executive and legislative branches, which are deemed the central axis of US politics. These documents are compounded with US officials’ memoirs, biographies and scholarly accounts to contextualise the research, and the views of US policy commentators, namely: media, think tanks and lobby groups, although these are external to the US official policy-making process. Interviews with US and DRC officials, as well as relevant non-state actors, supplement written documents for the purpose of data cross-checking. The thesis is premised on contemporary and diplomatic history methods, and is centred on empirical and qualitative approaches.
    Date of AwardMar 2020
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorAlexander Thomson (Supervisor), Simon Massey (Supervisor) & Judi Atkins (Supervisor)

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