This article addresses the relations between Belgium and Zaire during the time of Mobutu Sese Seko’s rule of Congo/Zaire between 1965 and 1997. Several authors have focussed on the importance of the Cold War, or the existence of Zaire’s dependency relationship with Belgium. This study, however, argues that the Cold War was not the singular decisive factor. Through his foreign policy, Mobutu approached his African neighbours, Eastern European countries, China and North Korea, in order to actively shape his own policy whereby he sometimes acted against the interests of his Western allies.
This article investigates the attitude of Belgian diplomats in the debate about the creation of a stronger army in the decades before the First World War. Closely reading the writings of three members of the diplomatic corps and comparing their discourse with the words of their colleagues, it argues that the current historiographical narrative on the diplomats’ stance towards militarization is in need of revision.