Stuart Reid, executive editor at Foreign Affairs Magazine
Wednesday, October 18, 2023
12:00 PM (Pacific Time)
UCLA Bunche Hall 10383
315 Portola Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095
ABOUT THE BOOK
A spellbinding work of history that reads like a Cold War spy thriller—about the U.S.-sanctioned plot to assassinate the democratically elected leader of the newly independent Congo
It was supposed to be a moment of great optimism, a cause for jubilation. The Congo was at last being set free from Belgium—one of seventeen countries to gain independence in 1960 from ruling European powers. At the helm as prime minister was charismatic nationalist Patrice Lumumba. Just days after the handover, however, the Congo’s new army mutinied, Belgian forces intervened, and Lumumba turned to the United Nations for help in saving his newborn nation from what the press was already calling “the Congo crisis.” Dag Hammarskjöld, the tidy Swede serving as UN secretary-general, quickly arranged the organization’s biggest peacekeeping mission in history. But chaos was still spreading. Frustrated with the fecklessness of the UN and spurned by the United States, Lumumba then approached the Soviets for help—an appeal that set off alarm bells at the CIA. To forestall the spread of Communism in Africa, the CIA sent word to its station chief in the Congo, Larry Devlin: Lumumba had to go.
Within a year, everything would unravel. The CIA plot to murder Lumumba would ﬁzzle out, but he would be deposed in a CIA-backed coup, transferred to enemy territory in a CIA-approved operation, and shot dead by Congolese assassins. Hammarskjöld, too, would die, in a mysterious plane crash en route to negotiate a cease-ﬁre with the Congo’s rebellious southeast. And a young, ambitious military officer named Joseph Mobutu, who had once sworn fealty to Lumumba, would seize power with U.S. help and misrule the country for more than three decades. For the Congolese people, the events of 1960–61 represented the opening chapter of a long horror story. For the U.S. government, however, they provided a playbook for future interventions.
ORDER THE BOOK
Order The Lumumba Plot: The Secret History of the CIA and a Cold War Assassination from Penguin Random House.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stuart Reid is an executive editor at Foreign Affairs magazine and the author of The Lumumba Plot. He has written for publications including The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg Businessweek, Politico Magazine, Slate, and other publications. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he lives in New Jersey.
ABOUT THE MODERATOR
Kal Raustiala holds the Promise Institute Chair in Comparative and International Law at UCLA Law School and is a Professor at the UCLA International Institute, where he teaches in the Program on Global Studies. Since 2007 he has served as Director of the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations. From 2012-2015 he was UCLA’s Associate Vice Provost for International Studies and Faculty Director of the International Education Office. Professor Raustiala's research focuses on international law, international relations, and intellectual property. In 2022, he published a biography of the late UN diplomat, civil rights figure, and UCLA alum Ralph Bunche for Oxford University Press.
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Sponsor(s): Burkle Center for International Relations, African Studies Center, International & Comparative Law Program (ICLP) at UCLA School of Law, Department of History