Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Bad Idea

Writing in the Guardian, Giles Foden says that he sees no option but the creation of a buffer state on the western shores of Lakes Kivu and Tanganyika.

Oy. Well-meaning observers episodically propose carving Africa into its constituent parts as a solution to inter-regional conflict. The problem is that most of these "parts" have their own sub-parts, each with their own internecine rivalries. If Africans were ever to decide to tear up the Berlin Act, the resulting upheaval would make the current anarchy look like a day in the park.

On the other hand, putting the eastern Congo--North Kivu, South Kivu, and Ituri--under a de facto UN protectorate for a while makes a lot of sense. The goal would be to govern the region, demilitarize it, expel foreign combatants, and put in place processes for the peaceful resolution of outstanding local conflicts, all with the goal of eventually reincorporating the region into a Congo capable of administering it. Obviously, this would require a level of political commitment currently lacking.

I should add that the rest of Foden's analysis is quite good.

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