Mali’s foreign policy orientation has become increasingly pragmatic and pro-Western over time.
Since the institution of a democratic form of government in 2002, Mali’s relations with the West in general and with the United States in particular have improved significantly.
Mali has a longstanding yet ambivalent relationship with France, a former colonial ruler. Mali was active in regional organizations such as the African Union until its suspension over the 2012 Malian coup d’etat.
Working to control and resolve regional conflicts, such as in Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, is one of Mali’s major foreign policy goals.
Mali feels threatened by the potential for the spillover of conflicts in neighboring states, and relations with those neighbors are often uneasy.
General insecurity along borders in the north, including cross-border banditry and terrorism, remain troubling issues in regional relations.
Military of Mali
Mali’s military forces consist of an army, which includes land forces and air force as well as the paramilitary Gendarmerie and Republican Guard, all of which are under the control of Mali’s Ministry of Defense and Veterans, headed by a civilian.
The military is underpaid, poorly equipped, and in need of rationalization.