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October 15, 2003

The bright side of things?

One survey in mid-2001 estimated that 2.5 million people had died since 1998 due to the conflict in The Democratic Republic of Congo. King Leopold's policies resulted in 5-10 million deaths in 20 years. If the world community does something that sort of catastrophe can be averted....

Posted by razib at 03:17 AM




And what is the world community supposed to do, exactly? Would you go as a peacekeeper/soldier? In some cases like the DRC maybe a boycott of the resources fueling the dispute would help, but most of the time (Rwanda, Sudan) you have no convenient way of addressing the motive.

Posted by: bbartlog at October 15, 2003 08:07 AM


And what is the world community supposed to do, exactly?

1) militarily crush all native powers and force out non-congolese forces
2) break up the country

the first would be trivial i suspect. the latter needs to start being done in africa, for 40 years people have said that "too much chaos" would ensue if you re-drew boundaries. too much chaos???

Posted by: razib at October 15, 2003 11:04 AM


It probably would be helpful if some of the national boundaries in Africa were redrawn along tribal or ethnic and religious lines. This already happened to some extent in Ethiopia, when Eritrea was created, and again with Western Sahara. But in a resource-rich area I think it's not such an easy project.

Posted by: bbartlog at October 15, 2003 11:52 AM


Hey isn't cleaning up messy situations of not much importance to us be a good reason for using mercenaries? If reasonably supervised (and I am not sure how that is done), they could have a beneficial influence.

Posted by: Larry Levin at October 15, 2003 03:37 PM


Hey isn't cleaning up messy situations of not much importance to us be a good reason for using mercenaries?

No. The mercenaries are likely to commit crimes against humanity. America will be blamed.

Posted by: bbartlog at October 15, 2003 06:45 PM


"mercenaries are likely to commit crimes against humanity"

Why would they be any more likely to commit atrocities than regular soldiers? In 1998 in Sierra Leonne the British government paid Sandline International, a mercenaries firm basicly, to restore the democratic government to power after a coup d'etat. They were pretty effective. If America had done something similar in Liberia an awful lot of trouble would have been spared. As long as they are in the pay of a western government I would think that mercenaries are unlikely to go on a murder spree.

Posted by: RossF at October 16, 2003 10:51 AM