Peace has become a reality in Angola since the end of its bloody, twenty-seven-year civil war in 2002. However, much work remains to be done if Angola is to become a democratic state with an inclusive and prosperous society. It is in the interest of the United States to help develop a sustainable and lasting peace in Angola—not only for the security of U.S. energy supplies, but also to promote stability in southern Africa. In so doing, the United States must tread carefully, because while Angola's leaders respect and, at heart, want a strong relationship with the United States, there are many in Angola who—based in part on the history of U.S.-Angola relations—are suspicious of American policy.
The mission of the Council's Center for Preventive Action (CPA) is to help prevent, defuse, or resolve conflicts in countries or regions that may otherwise be overlooked. After a careful assessment of the country, the CPA's Independent Preventive Action Commission finds Angola to be an emerging power on the African continent, one with the potential to realize long-term stability and prosperity. Sensitive that any proposals must not exceed the reach of American power and influence—and recognizing that stamping out corruption or producing respect for democracy in a manner Americans would recognize, especially after centuries of Portuguese colonial rule in the country and decades of civil war, is a long-term goal—the commission aimed to be realistic in its recommendations. The commission believes that the United States should firmly and clearly state that nurturing U.S.-Angola relations is important to the United States. In addition to increased diplomatic attention and sustained assistance, the United States can take steps to advance shared objectives through more regular bilateral discussions, cooperation with multilateral organizations, and innovative partnerships with private enterprises.