THE BLOG
01/20/2009 12:35 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Somalia Update II: Dodging a Bullet

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously endorsed, in principle, a resolution sponsored by the United States (ie, Condie Rice) authorizing the notion of sending a UN Peacekeeping Force to Somalia. However, on Thursday, Susan Rice, President-Elect Obama's proposed ambassador to the UN, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that she was "skeptical about the wisdom of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Somalia at this time."

In its great wisdom, the Security Council requested that the Security General submit a report by April 15th, and that a decision on the US sponsored peacekeeping proposal would be reached by June 1, 2009. So, Condie proposes, but Susan disposes.

The problem is that, according to CNN, "there is widespread concern among diplomats and regional leaders in the Horn of Africa that, with the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces, a power vacuum will be filled in Somalia by regional Islamic extremist groups, some with links to al-Qaeda."

Islamic fundamentalists have already executed at least one opposition politician, and stoned to death a twelve-year-old girl who had been raped because she was no longer a virgin. So Somalis will die, piracy will continue, and extremists will flourish because the Bush Administration was unable to persuade our Ethiopian allies, to whom we gave financial and tactical support, to remain in Mogadishu.

There is little we do about this now, and I congratulate the Obama administration on dodging a bullet by avoiding the Blackhawk Down trap that ensnared President Clinton. But it's a tough call for an Obama administration -- what do you do when the previous President leaves you with a choice of getting involved in another war, or perhaps, permitting America's enemies, Islamic extremists, to gain control of the entrance to the Red Sea?