Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Quote of the Day

I have written before about Congo being policy shorthand for "hopeless situation the cognoscenti know we're not going to do anything serious about," but with the clamor growing for us to intervene in Syria, I think it's worth pointing out that we could save far more lives and put far fewer US troops in danger--and at much lower geopolitical risk--if we were to make a determined effort to help the DRC. I do wish someone would buttonhole people like Anne-Marie Slaughter and ask her to seriously answer this question from Obama. (Not, for that matter, that I think he intended the question seriously.) How is it, exactly, that Arab lives have now risen to our level of consciousness--as they did for example when we decided to intervene in Libya--but Congolese lives still don't? Why doesn't the situation in Congo  raise the specter of our moral failure in Rwanda? Why the all-but complete silence from the internationalist humanitarian crowd about the DRC?
In a situation like Syria, I have to ask, can we make a difference in that situation? Would a military intervention have an impact? How would it affect our ability to support troops who are still in Afghanistan? What would be the aftermath of our involvement on the ground? Could it trigger even worse violence or the use of chemical weapons? What offers the best prospect of a stable post-Assad regime? And how do I weigh tens of thousands who've been killed in Syria versus the tens of thousands* who are currently being killed in the Congo?
*And by tens of thousands, he of course means millions.

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