In February 2007, when the United States unveiled a consolidated military command for Africa, commonly called AFRICOM, it unexpectedly encountered negative reactions. The Department of Defense (DOD) attributed these responses to a public-relations failure. Numerous scholars now question this explanation, and contradictory statements continued even after DOD acknowledged its blunders. I test an alternative explanation for African reactions using a content analysis of more than five hundred African news reports. The results show that support for AFRICOM corresponded with greater aid dependence, and that countries sustaining high levels of growth with less foreign aid were more critical of AFRICOM. The critics included key American allies. The findings suggest that good economic performance increases the latitude African countries have when responding to U.S. policy leverage.