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Congo: The Roots - and The Trap

| 13 Comments | 5 TrackBacks

On Friday, I analyzed the situation in the Congo, where a couple million people may well be dead from the ravages of ethnic warfare, unrelenting banditry, and the secondary effects of that situation. The U.N. has had peacekeepers there since 1998, of course, to predictably little effect. Could the USA help (nope, no capacity left)? What was the history of recent stabilization attempts in Africa, and what do they teach us (mixed, be serious or begone)? What would success require (20,000-50,000 internatrional troops, with serious fire support and a no-guff attitude)? Would the "international community" step up to serious responsibility (that's the big question).

Coincidentally, Michael Totten chimed in with a pretty good piece of his own: "The Globalization of Chaos". To really understand what's going on, however, you also need to delve into the history of the area. Flit doesn't think much of Andrew Sullivan's cited analysis. In its place, however, he does an outstanding job tracing the present situation from its roots 40 years ago, to its entanglement in the Rwandan genocide and the U.N.'s role in facilitating same, to the present and its shifting set of players, and finally the economic connections to Tantalum, a metal used in the production of electronics. If you're serious about the Congo, this set of blog posts are must-reads.

"Not Joining the Congo Line," also argues that active U.N. intervention in the Congo would undermine every one of the principles it claims to stand for, and Flit may have a good case here. Intervention would have seismic consequences, starting with the U.N. but not ending there by any means...

Old Situation, Older Options

Let's start with Flit's appraisal:

"The people directly responsible for all this are the same Hutu leaders, and their successors, who organized the genocide in Rwanda. Practically coddled by humanitarian agencies after they fled across the border to escape justice for genocide, they were able with that assistance to set up a Kurtz-style jungle quasistate in east Congo. From there, they've continued to kill Tutsis whereever they find them. (It's as if in 1945, all the pro-Nazi Germans had fled across the German border, and continued to terrorize a German state now largely populated by the remaining Jews.) The Rwandans first tried putting Kabila Sr. in power, who sold them out to the Hutus... then they just occupied the quasi-state themselves.

Still, there are the innocents to worry about. The west wants aid to start flowing again, and for that someone has to step in now that the Rwandans have gone. The trouble is that a peacekeeping force in the Congo now isn't a normal UN peacekeeping force.... No, if the UN goes, it's going to keep the Hutus down, and Kabila in power. How is that consistent, in any way, with the founding principles of this organization?"

That doesn't mean nothing should be done, of course, and Flit does offer some suggestions. Even if Canada is literally incapable of participating. The thing is, many of Flit's suggestions hearken back to the 18th and 19th centuries rather than the 20th.

The Congo Ideology-Trap

Therein lies the essence of the ideological trap that is The Congo: the vast disconnect between what's required for success, and the belief systems of the intervenors. Here's what I see as the requirements for a successful intervention that really stops the violence and allows a functioning and decent polity to emerge. All contrast dramatically with [the 20th century transnationalist mindset]:

  • Forceful, armed intervention that shoots first rather than last, at least until order is restored, TV cameras and public image abroad be damned.
    [Extreme care in all use of force and refusal to fire first, even in the face of danger or extreme provocation - many U.N. blue berets come back with stories of having to watch rapes, kidnappings, murders, etc. and not intervene.]

  • Heavy support via air, helicopters, armor, and artillery that gives intervenors massive fire superiority, and makes even neighbouring states hesitant to act against them.
    [All neighbouring states and regional bodies/players must agree, and potentially 'provocative' equipment must be left at home.]

  • Strenuous and organized efforts to kill those fomenting and organizing the violence, even if they have not directly threatened troops on the ground. Since "human shield" tactics are only to be expected in response, these either would have to be ignored or bypassed somehow.
    [Threats must be proven to legal standards first, or action is immoral. No action can be taken against human shield tactics if it endangers large numbers of civilians, even if that policy has the effect of encouraging such tactics in future.]

  • Non-neutrality. Actively making a judgment and taking sides against the primary perpetrators of the carnage, to the extent of crushing the Lendu and Hutus as an organized movement if necessary and reserving aid for other areas until the situation is in hand.
    [Neutrality between the warring parties regardless of behaviour is an article of faith. Besides, evil doesn't really exist - there are only different and equally valid narratives.]

  • Demonstrated willingness to use military assets on the ground, and more, if neighbouring states calculate that no punishment will be forthcoming for attacks on the intervention force.
    [That would touch off a wider war, avoidance of which trumps all other missions.]

  • Refusal to treat national borders as sacrosanct if doing so gets in the way of dealing with the problem, esp. a willingness to continue "hot pursuit" across borders and remove any sanctuaries for hostile elements.
    [National sovereignty is sacrosanct.]

  • Willingness to reorganized national borders if necessary in order to implement a long-term resolution.
    [q.v. national sovereignty; borders are sacrosanct, especially in Africa.] The "necessary measures" above would have been completely familiar to any European colonialist of 100 or 200 years ago. As noted, every item here is also completely foreign to the U.N. mindset, and Flit is right to point that out. African states and the OAU would close ranks en masse against every single one. Such measures are, of course, equally foreign to many of the Western voices now pushing for intervention.

    The Tragedy

    Absent these kinds of measures, we can expect continued survival and mischief by those behind the current problems, more death, no stability, endless rounds of "peace process" that cannot realistically lead to real resolution, and an open-ended military commitment in perpetuity. That won't be forthcoming, especially if the effort is failing visibly due to other deficiencies. Which means failure is almost inevitable for intervention under the banner of the U.N. and/or the transnationalist mindset of the 20th century.

    I could be wrong, of course. There could be a viable plan that somehow deals with the Congo's key issues without stepping on any major political or ideological toes, in which case the lesson would be mine. Personally, I can't imagine such a plan given the situation there. Which is precisely why I see a classic tragedy in the making.

    That tragedy may come immediately, in efforts that are obviously a farce and don't even slow the conflict down (the "World Indifference/U.N. Failure" scenario). It may come early, in tales of horror and failure that either rival the situation in Rwanda (the "Rwanda Redux" scenario); or as a result of large-scale bloodshed by the international force and a backlash against a 'dirty war' that results in pullout (the "Somalia-Algeria" scenario). Alternatively, the failure may come only after a long and quasi-successful intervention that must be terminated even though the bad actors, intentions and capabilities all remain (the "Square One Relapse" scenario). Indeed, this is the very scenario that created the present crisis in the wake of Rwanda's pullout from the area. As Kim du Toit puts it: "Africa wins again."

    Now comes the real mind-bender: I'm still a cheerleader for international intervention.

    First of all, intervention might actually succeed. I'd call it lottery odds myself, but who knows? The humanitarian situation is compelling, and success would be a great accomplishment. Besides, as I noted back on Friday, it's an opportunity to prove that terms like "the international community" and "U.N. multilateralism" actually mean something in practical and moral terms. Let's see if they do.

    Here's the other thing, too: failure and even tragedy might catalyze something equally important.

    The Wages of Failure

    The "problems from hell" of the 21st century are genocide, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. All fundamentally engage and challenge the same set of views and assumptions about independence and state sovereignty. Many aspects of that worldview are no longer appropriate to new social and technological realities, or to the threats they produce. As a civilization, we can't afford that kind of "stability." The willingness of some left-liberals to engage these Problems from Hell in a serious way and use force if necessary is a critical component of long-term civilizational health, and even failure may well be part of that re-learning process.

    Without the self-examination that follows failure, the broken aspects of the 20th century's transnationalist worldview will not be seriously challenged from the left. Failure's aftermath would create precisely that challenge.

    Does this mean the anti-Western left would vanish? Of course not. The murder of 3 million Cambodians by the Marxist Khmer Rouge didn't make a dent in their views, and neither will a few million more dead Congolese. Reasons will be found to blame America, and in most cases that will be the end of their examination.

    Most cases, but not all. For some on the left, this would be a "Kronstadt moment" that calls their core beliefs into question. Meanwhile, the ensuing debates would dramatically pit the hard left against the liberal hawks. The left would once again be arguing for doing essentially nothing, and the liberals would be left unable to accept either the left's arguments or the prospect of a similar debacle next time. The Right would also be involved in the wider debate, but it too would be fragmented along internal fissures between neocons and classic Hamiltonian republicanism.

    Amidst these tensions and predicaments, the ripple effects would be profound. Dramatic new ideas would likely take shape - and take root - across the political spectrum. That would be good for everyone, even if it does end up intensifying the nascent colonialism/neo-sovereignty debate in a big way.

    Besides, as noted earlier there's always the outside possibility that planning an intervention could stretch peoples' thinking in ways that lead to success instead. That, too, would be an interesting learning experience for all concerned.

    UPDATE: Excellent follow-up post on the most recent developments and military options at Belmont Club, a blog whose sub-title is "History, and history in the making."

    Meanwhile, in "No New Colonialism," Michael Totten agrees with what has to be done but doesn't like the word. Never fear, Michael, a new word will come. As for the reality, these expeditions abroad must be financed somehow - and so the issue is real unless we create a better framework. I give you Gandalf: "Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good." Also Galadriel: "That is how it would begin. But it would not stop with that, alas!" Moral interventions abroad for non-strategic reasons is one area where the Left's reflexive distrust and societal scrutiny might serve it well for a change.

  • 5 TrackBacks

    Tracked: June 8, 2003 4:33 PM
    Excerpt: Winds of Change.NET: Congo: The Roots... and The Trap Congo: The Roots... and The Trap Joe Katzman On Friday, I analyzed the situation in the Congo, where a couple million people may well be dead from the ravages of ethnic...
    Tracked: June 9, 2003 3:50 PM
    Excerpt: In the run up to the war against Iraq, the opponents, especially on the Left, frequently argued "well, we helped him in the '80s", often in some sort of extreme form (implying Saddam had power because of America or that
    Tracked: June 11, 2003 12:03 AM
    Imperialism from Caerdroia
    Excerpt: Michael Totten agrees with Joe Katzman about what needs to be done in places like the Congo, but doesn't like calling it colonialism or imperialism. OK, fair enough. I can see the need for a different word. Imperialism is the notion of taking adjacent ...
    Tracked: June 11, 2003 9:16 PM
    All Is Hell In Africa from Electric Venom
    Excerpt: With so much world attention focused on al-Qaeda, Iraq and Iran, the horrors going on in the Congo have largely gone unnoticed by the Big Media. But the blogosphere isn't overlooking it: •Suburban Blight lays the blame squarely on France. •Th...
    Tracked: June 28, 2003 12:37 AM
    More Troops in DRC? from The Poor Man
    Excerpt: Map from the CIA factbook. Bunia is in the northeast corner, above Rwanda ("RW.") and very near the Ugandan...


    Good post, but just to be clear about the impact of the Khmer Rouge, it was the anti-Communist government of the United States that supported the rise of the pro-Chinese K.R. as a counterweight to the pro-Soviet Vietnamese Communist movement. It was also the United States that tried valiantly in the UN to prevent Vietnam from invading Cambodia and ending the bloodshed.

    The comment by Matthew Yglesias is an outrageous lie. Saddly, it is also typical of the type of analysis we get from those infected by Comsky Induced Amensia Syndrom (CIAS).

    The United States supported the anti-communist Lon Nol Government in every possible way until it was overthrown by the Khmer Rouge in 1975. The Cambodian geocide commenced immediately after the fall of that Government. During the "killing fields" period the United States Government opposed, and every left wing existance supported, the Khemer Rouge.

    It is true that the genocide was eventually terminated by communist government of Vietnam. However, the underlying dispute between pro-Soviet Vietnam and the pro-Chinese Khemer Rouge was hardly based on the great respect for human rights felt by the Vietnamese. Please note, that although the anti-Chinese feelings in Hanoi lead to the end of the "killing fields" those feelings also led to the persecution of ethnic Chinese in Vietnam and added significantly to the humanitarian disaster of the "boat people" episode.

    Hmm, on the one hand the "Khmer Rouge" question is a digression - irrelevant to the Congo argument in every way. On the other hand, I'm not prepared to let Matthew Yglesias' response stand unchallenged. BMcBurney, good start - thanks.

    Matt... 2-3 million Cambodians die at the hands of fanatical Maoists backed by China, and it's America's fault? This also evades the point I was making, which is the failure of this event (or the "boat people" mass exodus from Vietnam) to shake the lib-left's general faith in their views and the consequences of same. In some ways, actually, this response is a good illustration.

    I can't see why a similar debacle in the Congo would have more effect on the lib-left mindset - except that Bosnia has already created a mental wedge.

    I also have a bone to pick with the Cambodian history you present. Some support for these views on your end would have been nice. As for the "we spawned the Khmer Rouge" stuff...

    "on March 18, 1970 -- one year to the day after the first U.S. bombing strike -- he was overthrown in a coup led by Lon Nol and Prince Sirik Matak. The new regime was instantly recognized by Washington; the Americans surmised, correctly, that Lon Nol would be willing to permit more aggressive moves against the sanctuaries. Meanwhile, on March 23, Sihanouk announced that he would join his former enemies -- the Khmer Rouge -- in a bid to overthrow Lon Nol. The battle lines were drawn." (Bruce Sharp)

    Lon Nol was a strongly pro-America General, long in favour of aggressive action against the Vietnamese and, as you can see, the Khmer Rouge.

    Read, too, Stanley Karnow's "Vietnam: A History." It notes that:

    "The Cambondian Communists, originally organized and trained by their Vietnamese comrades, began to assert their autonomy in the early 1970s" (p44).

    Later, he goes on to mention that:

    "Early in 1969, after Sihanouk acquiesced to the American bombing of their sanctuaries, the North Vietnamese had expected him to swing against them completely. They had been arming and training guerillas of the Khmer Rouge - the Cambodian Communist movement- in North Vietnam. To exert pressure on Sihanouk, they infiltrated a Khmer Rouge force of some 12,000 back into Cambodia, spurring an incipient civil war..." (p604)

    These accounts from one of the definitive books about the war do not square with your account. If the Americans helped the Khmer Rouge in the belief that this would aid their war against Vietnam, they not only had to betray Lon Nol and Sihanouk, they also got suckered to the max. So, if you want the claim to be credible... how about providing some real support for it?

    Finally, moving on to the obvious:

    "tried valiantly in the UN to prevent..." Isn't that an oxymoron?

    If the UN is the limits of your trying, you're not serious about preventing anything. Especially during the Cold War, when nobody even pretended that the UN had any real infuence (that's the biggest difference: these days, they pretend). If the USA realy wanted to prevent stuff, Afghanistan is an example. Guatemala, Iran, Greece, Berlin, Nicaragua. That's prevention.

    The UN is not. Then, or now. As I fear the Congo is about to make very clear. I hope I'm wrong - but I don't think so.

    In your prescription, I think you overestimate the importance of "massive overweling firepower"

    As the South Africans and mercenary groups have repeatedly shown and the British and French occaisionaly (IC, SL) relatively small lightly armed forces can acheive a great deal in Africa

    The real issue is whether the force has the required ruthless ness, military and political.

    The clarity and will required are of course the fundamental issues. Without them, it doesn't matter how much firepower one has.

    The force I advocate is about more than firepower, it's also about mobility in a very, very large country. Air strikes would give Special Forces a much bigger punch all over the country. Armor and helicopters give fast reaction time, the ability to quickly address multiple threats with less dispersion of one's forces (dispersion makes them more vulnerable), and also make village-based CAP efforts more viable.

    I advocate the accompanying firepower for several reasons. One is that, like Somalia, a serious intervention in this case could find the international forces at odds with entire clans/tribes. If that happens, the backup had better be there. If it's there, and used, major clashes will only happen once or twice until word gets around. That's reason one.

    Second, because it's necessary to keep an international coalition together. Single-state actors can absorb setbacks, coalitions can too but only as long as nobody feels they were hung out to dry. If support is there, and used, everyone will be bolder and no-one will feel abandoned come what may. A serious force would also deter neighbouring states from game-playing, also an important goal in this particular situation.

    Finally, the composition suggested allows different nations to contribute different things: air power, helicopters, troops, armored vehicles and crews, etc. Communication would be a nightmare and response efficiency would be pitiful by American standards - but compared to their opponents, they'd still look great.

    Could intervention be done without this level of backup? Maybe. Would I plan it that way? Not if I could help it. This effort looks chancy enough without adding to that.

    Of course, the real question right now is: will France, China, India, Italy, Indonesia, Turkey, Egypt and other nations with large militaries and/or funds actually step up and provide a force like this when the USA is too stretched to do so? I think I know the answer already, but let's wait and see.

    The more fundamental problem for the UN mission is that their logistical bases are located within the territories of the masterminds of this conflict. The Hema and Lendu tribal milities are mere proxies for the Rwandan and Ugandan governments who are vying for control of the mineral-rice northeastern corner of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and it is through these countries that the UN lifeline goes.

    Indeed, without the cooperation of Rwanda and Uganda, it would be doubtful if the European UN force could supply it's airhead in Bunia at all, given that the town is 800 miles from the nearest coastline. The militias have demonstrated the possession of mortars, and it would go ill with the Uruguayans and the EU force if they were to attempt to clear the militias, with their airhead vulnerable to bombardment and the support airfields in Rwandan or Ugandan territory.

    Yet if the UN and the European Union were to take the bull by the horns, it might be possible to rout the cannibal militias. For the supply lines of the militias lead east and south, too, back to Rwanda and Uganda, across the Great Rift Valley across difficult terrain obstructed by the great lakes Edward and Albert on the other side of the Blue Mountains watershed.

    The first step, would of course be to create an alternative line of supply through territory that is not compromised by the squabble over the control of the disintegrating Democratic Republic of the Congo. If the UN were willing, the Europeans could seize or negotiate forward airbases in Kenya or the southern Sudan and simply overfly Uganda whether the Ugandans agreed or not.

    The second step would be to deploy an airmobile battalion, possibly based in Bunia, to conduct deep attacks on the lines of communication of the Hema and Lendu and raid their leadership centers. In order to prevent another repetition of the "Blackhaw Down" incident in Somalia, the Europeans must ensure the availability of heavy close air support, possibly with the cooperation of the United States. AC-130s would be ideal for this fire support mission. This would give the UN enough leverage force the Rwandans and Ugandans to compel the disarmament of the militias, as part of restoring peace in the region.

    Unfortunately, the UN and the EU have opted for a public relations exercise aimed at deflecting the accusation that they are leaving hundreds of thousands of Africans to their deaths, which is precisely what they are actually doing. By perpetrating this charade, they are not only abetting genocide, they are doing so with deception and malice aforethought.


    Unfortunately, I think the same fundamental problem you identify for UN intervention (logistics) would also plague any kind of intervention by the US.

    Since Congo is land-locked, any logistics effort to support a force would HAVE to pass through one or more of its neighbors, few of whom seem to have an incentive to truly stop the conflict.

    More importantly, for Joe Katzman's force, you'd be talking about a massive effort. The tonnages involved for maintaining helicopters and mechanized forces (as compared to light infantry) is enormous. Unfortunately, my understanding of African infrastructure suggests that there is neither a road nor rail network that could sustain such a supply line. And its length means that it would be enormously vulnerable to any group unhappy with the intervention.

    This is apart from the further infrastructure required to keep air support available on a regular scale. While long-range bombers (e.g., B-52s) could fly from Diego Garcia or even the US, A-10s and F-15Es would have to be based in-theater----in a region which neither flies such aircraft, nor where we have basing rights (i.e., prepositioned stocks of parts).

    Of course, this would all be exacerbated further, if the force wasn't a coupla battalions, but entire divisions or even corps (not completely unthinkable, given the size of the place).

    All of this suggests that any Western-style intervention (as opposed to UN beret-waving) would require enormous planning, and even more extensive diversion of resources. The closest equivalent that comes to mind would be the infrastructure build-up for Vietnam (remembering that Cam Ranh Bay was a sleepy sea-side port in 1963 or so), in order to sustain the kind of intervention that Joe and you are suggesting. And, even there, the port was IN-COUNTRY.

    Color me skeptical....

    Whether we'd be prepared to sustain such a multi-year effort,

    The Congo, as well as other African military conflicts, have no real end in sight. They have the capacity to absorb an unlimited number of outside troops, UN or not. And, there are trees, lots of trees. Is this important? Well, the US military, or any modern military force equally equipped, can win any battle in the desert with almost no casualties. And any conflict in the mountains, almost no casualties. But in a dense forest environment, we are back to being blind, simply targets for any guerilla warfare. I would not be willing to serve in any military force that is going into a jungle to keep order.

    Are there reasonable solutions? Yes, entirely packets delivered to areas of refugees, small water purification devices delivered to the same areas,and occasional air-drops of easy to use medical supplies. Taken by private agencies or airlifted directly to where the refugees are.

    That's it. Cheap, available now, moral, zero casualties for us, and a realization that these unbelievable wars and the culture of warfare in Africa is their own doing, and their own responsibility. We can do our best to take care of refugees, and let the others fight until they are exhausted, and ready to make peace.


    I suspect you are a bit pessimistic in your assesement of what could be done if the West really put in an effort. Trees are not an insurmountable problem. But I agree that the likelihood of anything more than a pure PR exercise is dim.

    I would suggest an addition to your refugee relief suggestions. Create well protected zones where refugees could be safe and in those zones train and arm a force which would first, take over the protection of the zones, second, begin to expand the zones.

    While fighting a guerilla war is not at all acceptable, protecting the victims of such a war and creating a counter force to take over that protection makes moral and political sense.

    It would also make miltary sense in that while Western advantages in airpower and armoured strength would simply be lost in the jungle, they can provide truly awesome perimeter defence.

    I've written a lot about this.

    And I have a very simple take. Perhaps it's too simplistic, but there it is.

    Substitute the word "Jews" for "Lendu" or "Hema."

    Then say, gee, gosh, it would cost a lot to save them.

    Tough luck if millions die, because it's expensive, it's awkward, it's tough, to save them.

    Bye, bye, Jews. Too bad. It's expensive to save them. It's expensive to save you black people, you Hema, you Lendu. It's tough to keep track of your names, even. Even your clan, your tribe, your people.

    Bye-bye. Die in peace. Die by the thousands. Die by the tens of thousands. Die by the hundreds of thousands. Die by the millions. I have fast food. Bye-bye. I don't need to go to trouble. Bye-bye. Die well. Bye-bye. My conscience is untroubled. I could have saved you for a few days of work, but I don't want to be troubled. Bye-bye. Bye-bye.

    Die well.

    I can't be bothered to take a few minutes or hours to help stop it.


    Die well.


    Gsry, if you're making the beginnings of a moral argument, you're on solid ground. I know you've posted about this, so I know you go beyond this beginning. For those who haven't read Amygdala, it's important to note that thinking must not end at that point.

    There are always practical considerations. Saving the Jews was more than hard - it took the whole Second World War, fought for other reasons, to do it. It was not "a few hours or minutes," either, just as Iraq was not. Just as Congo would not be. For many, it would be ALL their hours and minutes. Let's not forget that, or trivialize what's involved.

    I'll also note that even WWII largely failed as a vehicle for saving the Jews, and would have largely failed even if the allies had made it a focus by bombing the camps. Europe's Jews were in the wrong place, at the wrong time, unarmed and facing real human evil. "Die well" was indeed the order of the day for many.

    As it is for many people in Africa, and will be whatever we decide.

    I've been very impressed by the people in this thread, many of whom have posted well thought-out options and noted important constraints. There are indeed limits to America's capabilities, and short of wartime mobilization it has reached them and more. There are also limits for any international force to take into account, which is why Jay's idea, if conducted seriously rather than as Srebrenica II, is a useful contribution.

    Outside those safer zones, and in other places like the Sudan, tens of thousands and more will die. We can't be everywhere. We should be in some of these places. Practical considerations, cold-blooded capabilities analysis, and confidence in the long-term plan forward (or belief that survival offers no alternative) will determine both where we choose to be and how much can and will be done to bring down those numbers.

    Sometimes, the depressing answer to how much we can do is: "not much," or "not much, unless we're prepared to jettison many of our existing beliefs." In which case, tragedy may be all that's left. Sometimes, in a fallen world where human evil is real, the only legacy for the future is a cautionary tale.

    If it took minutes or hours, it would be done a la Haiti. Do remember that it took us four months to get 300,000 troops to the border of Iraq, three weeks to carry out the battle (in the desert, against a rational and immoralized army supplemented by a poorly trained rabble) and there is still shooting going on.

    The logistical problems have been covered in some detail. Rules of engagement are an issue, and it is interesting that Congo's rulers are not filling the headlines by begging for UN or international assistance in reclaiming their east.

    It brings up the issue of dereliction of sovereignity under international law. If Congo is being negligent about restoring its sovereignity over those territories, then it can be argued that it has relinquished its right to sovereignity over its East. Any movement of more that $10,000,000/year from government coffers to government officials' bank accounts would count as dereliction of sovereignity, as would national policy short of a mobilization along the lines of the US Pearl Harbor (which included a 100% tax bracket for income over $1,000,000.)

    At that point, a conference could be held to redraw Congo's borders, or it could become a No Man's Land with enclaves guarded by UN or EU troops with robust rules of engagement.

    Gary: One small difference between Israel today and the Congo today is that Israel has a potent self-defence mechanism in place, while the persecuted Congolese pretty much have nothing.

    I think Jay's idea presents the most feasible long term chance of success. After all, who has the greater will to fight, the people that have been on the front lines for years, and have seen their neighbors/family, etc. slaughtered?? Or a national/multinational military force whose members might prefer to be somewhere else?

    This solution, or a variant, would be the slowest, but which is better:

    Fast and fail?


    Slow and succeed?

    The logistical and transport problems are very troubling. ANY outside force, short of overwhelming manpower and the concommitant massive supply effort, will face a daunting task.

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