What causes local conflict in Africa and the rest of the Third World? What role, if any, can the U.S. play in helping to resolve these conflicts, and when is the ripe moment for a response by an external power? This new study, written by the internationally renowned Africanist I. William Zartman and undertaken as part of the Africa Project of the Council on Foreign Relations, examines the causes and nature of African conflict and addresses the issue of how foreign powers can productively contribute to the management and resolution of such conflicts without resorting to the use of military force. The book focuses on four case studies of local conflict and external response-in the Western Sahara, the Horn of Africa, the Shaba province in Zaire, and Namibia-to assess various approaches to conflict management, and offers guidelines for identifying the critical moment for effective external response. Zartman also evaluates U.S. policy toward Third World conflict and spells out a policy toward Africa and the Third World in general that is based on preemptive treatment rather than military intervention.