UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited the Democratic Republic of Congo last week, and the publicity, coupled with a $1 billion aid package from the World Bank, inadvertently spotlighted President Joseph Kabila's image as an ineffective manager of the affairs of his impoverished nation.
France will shortly be engaged in rebuilding Mali, a country twice the size of Texas. Does the U.S. really want to join in another nation-building exercise, in a Muslim country, on a continent where Americans are not welcome?
The U.S. military "presence" anywhere is much more than simply a question of troop levels. Nevertheless, given that the U.S. is technically not "at war" in Africa, the more than 200 percent increase in U.S. personnel there since 2005 seems striking to me.
Echoes of victims call out to us over television or even twitter with bloodied images of civilians suffering. Those with empathy want to stop it. There is vast appeal for a fast fantasy of firepower solution
War always has consequences, although not all of them are initially obvious. In war, as Carl von Clausewitz noted, the only thing you can determine is who fires the first shot. After that it is all fog and plans gone awry.
Reported have said that joint military operations between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have been a catastrophic failure. Now satellite imagery of the Busurungi area in North Kivu clearly shows burned villages.