Thursday, January 30, 2014

They're Looking for Other People's Dragons Again

I really have a hard time understanding some of the neo-interventionists. At least the old-school interventionists could some way justify their actions that put their nations blood and treasure on the line by saying that they could connect their actions in some way to economic or security gains for their nation.

The neo-interventionist? No, the less it has to do with American interests, the more effort they seem to want to make.

Heck, even a converted neo-realists like myself can give the benefit of the doubt to a few hundred trainers and enablers to go after the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda ... but this? Your decimal place is in the wrong spot.
The U.S. should send a 5,000-strong security assistance brigade to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to help stabilize a country ravaged by more than a decade of war, a prominent U.S. military analyst recommends.

In a “memorandum” to President Barack Obama, Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution also urges the White House to send several hundred military advisers to Libya to help train that country’s fledgling armed forces.

“The United States should, with a focused effort and in partnership with other states, make a significant push to improve security in Africa,” O’Hanlon wrote in his Jan. 23 memo, which was posted on the Brookings website. “No massive deployments of U.S. troops would be needed, and in fact no role for American main combat units is required. But we should step up our game from the current very modest training efforts coordinated through Africa Command (AFRICOM).”

The recommendation comes at a time of increased concern about instability in certain parts of Africa. The list of hotspots is long: Mali, Somalia and across ungoverned spaces in the Sahel region of western and north-central Africa, where extremists have taken root, armed in large part with weapons looted from Libyan armories during NATO’s air assault on Moammer Gadhafi’s regime in 2011.
In the case of lawless eastern Congo, where thousands of people have been killed in the past decade, despite the presence of U.N. peacekeepers, there are no clear national security risks at stake for the U.S. While the U.S. has provided some military training to support DRC troops in the past, sending a 5,000-strong brigade would be an unprecedented move in the region.
O’Hanlon also recommended that the U.S. send several hundred troops to Libya to train that country’s military. Since Gaddafi’S fall, Libya has been in a state of virtual anarchy. The U.S. and European partners are drawing up plans to train government forces, but that will likely occur outside of the country.

O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, acknowledges that increasing the U.S. military’s profile in Africa could be a hard sell.

“At a time of national war fatigue and fiscal austerity, it may be counterintuitive to propose increasing American involvement, particularly if it involves military commitment, abroad. But, for a modest investment, the United States and other countries may be able to make major strides towards improving the prospects for peace and stability on the continent.”
Voice of reason? Ahh ... here it is.
Thierry Vircoulon, the International Crisis Group’s director for Central Africa, was skeptical that the U.S. military is capable of helping to bring stability to the Congo.

“I believe that, unfortunately, the problems of Congo are not the type of problems that can be addressed by the U.S. Army,” Vircoulon said.

The DRC’s problem, Vircoulon said, is “bad governance, bad governance, bad governance.”
To be short; sending that many forces to Congo is a fool's errand.

5,000 isn't enough to effect change on this scale - but big enough to risk entanglement and being seen as one of the belligerents. Non-Africans have spent centuries trying to "fix" the place. Why don't we do something shocking and let them fix it themselves? 

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