Friday, August 14, 2009

Department of Really Bad Ideas

The U.S. military is already tied down in two long-term nation-building projects, and has numerous other smaller commitments. But Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution thinks we should send troops to the Congo.
If the situation is to improve, we need to do the one thing that is required above all others -- strengthen security, especially in eastern Congo. And by now we should have learned the hard way that there is only one way to do so -- by leading through example, with the deployment of at least modest numbers of American troops, to spark a broader strengthening of the current U.N. mission.

Even O'Hanlon recognizes that his own idea sounds crazy, given our current situation, so he proposes that we create a new military formation, a "peace operations division." This would be comprised of hastily-trained volunteers to be sent on peace-keeping missions. Sounds great, huh? Where do I sign up?

The Congo is one of the biggest basket cases on earth. The UN peacekeeping mission is often part of the problem, with corrupt, underpaid, poorly-trained "peacekeepers" contributing to the general hellish state of the country. Even if we weren't wrapped up with Iraq and Afghanistan, getting involved in Congo's mess would be a terrible idea. Its problems will not be solved by peacekeeping efforts -- if they are ever solved at all. They'll be solved by even greater killing & violence. The only thing that will stabilize such a situation is a central government powerful and efficient enough to exterminate the various armed gangs and rebels and impose order -- or in the absence of that central power -- local forces able to pacify & defend their own regions -- at the individual village level if necessary. Humanitarian aid, refugee camps, evacuating villages, working with a corrupt and ineffective government, foreign "peacekeepers," and all the other things currently being done -- which O'Hanlon foolishly wants the U.S. to jump into -- are the equivalent of putting a dirty, bacteria-laden band-aid on a sucking chest wound.

No comments:

Post a Comment