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Asymmetry and Power Disparity in East Africa: The Strength behind Interdependence and Cooperation in US-Kenya Counterterrorism

Sky Lukas Mkuti


This study examined asymmetry and power disparity in US-Kenya bilateral relation to counterterrorism in East Africa. It employed a qualitative approach using a desktop approach. The study further employed secondary and primary data from incidents of terror attacks in East Africa since 9/11 period. The study is deemed significant because of notable persistent expansion of Al-Shabaab’s terrorist cells in the East African Region. Although this threat remains a concern to US-Kenya interests, the expansion of terror activities in regions such as the Central Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is alarming and brings relevance to this study. The study employed asymmetry theory as a benchmark to explain how international relations amongst states with visible power disparity can yield normalcy in bilateral and multilateral relations when tackling mutual insecurity threats such as terrorism. The study findings indicate that asymmetric bilateral relations are likely to respond positively to challenges posed by terrorism through counterterror measures pursued by means of interdependence and cooperation as is the case of US-Kenya asymmetric relationship. The counterterror measures employed through joint efforts despite the visible US-Kenya asymmetric power disparity present valuable lessons to the Southern African Region. Hence, the study recommends policy makers in Southern Africa to consider counterterror strategies that are incrementally multidimensional to better address the rising regional insecurities.

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eISSN: 2714-2132
print ISSN: 2714-2183