Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wolpe to be Great Lakes Envoy

From Foreign Policy:
Howard Wolpe, a former Michigan congressman who directs the Africa program and the project on leadership and building state capacity at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, will be named President Obama's Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, sources confirmed.

Wolpe previously served as an envoy to the region from 1996-2001 for President Clinton. More recently, he advised the Obama campaign on African issues. He declined to comment on the appointment.

This is dismaying news, and a further sign that Africa cannot expect much from an Obama administration. As envoy during the 96-01 period, Wolpe presided over the single most disastrous time in Great Lakes history, from the first invasion and overthrow of Mobutu to the start of the deadliest war in African history. Throughout that period, as one disaster succeeded another, Wolpe affected a combination of ignorance and arrogant defensiveness. His appointment shows that Obama brings no real new drive, imagination, or interest in resolving Africa's greatest conflict. Wolpe is a Clinton retread, and Africa is the worse for it.


  1. Your view of Howard Wolpe is ill-informed and ignorant, starting with your omission of the leadership and capacity work he has recently led in DRC and Burundi. Designed to build a common sense of identity to overcome the typical winner come all mentality that has meant elections just reinforce group identities, this innovative work deserves support and continuation.

  2. I hope Howard Wolpe will acknowledge openly that the US and the US army have made enormous mistakes over the last decade in the Great Lakes Region. Mistakes that have cost the lives of millions of Congolese men and women. US policy needs change.