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.