Friday, July 11, 2003

Monrovia Doctrine-The current debate over whether to get involved in Liberia will show what American foreign policy, and the worlds, will be with regards to large chunks of Africa for the next half-decade. There are a number of chaotic, dysfunctional countries in West Africa that would warrant outside intervention from a fair mediator. However, the US will need to show resolve that we won’t cut and run when the going gets tough, as we did in Somalia. The solid stick-to-itiveness we’ve shown in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with the “Bring ‘em on” spirit, should help to convince nasty factions that the US and friends are there for the long-haul. We are the Anglosphere Collective. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. This is a task that can be done without spreading the US military too thin. If we can get European cooperation without too much paleoeuropean micromanagement, we can use that as a force multiplier in West Africa. Places like Sierra Leon and the Ivory Coast could use the same treatment as well; Congo could too, but that would wind up on a large enough scale where one needs to think twice and three times before getting in there. This approach is going to look quite a bit like colonialism, but with a more benign approach than the 20th century variety. It will be temporary and designed to construct the social, economic and political infrastructures needed to create free and stable democracies. Nation-construction efforts can succeed if the bad guys know they can’t win and the good guys have the stomach to be there for the long haul and get the occasional bloody nose. Here is where Dubya’s vision and moral clarity will be put to the test in a way that even the New York Times crowd might applaud. Intervention in Liberia doesn’t have a major military or economic angle to bring realpolitik to bear. However, if we view American policy as to extend the reach of free-market liberal democracy and to limit the reach of its foes, helping out in Liberia fits in nicely. This will be over more than just oil, or big geopolitics, it will be about doing the right thing. Pessimists will gripe about not having a compelling national interest or say something racist about Africans not being up to the challenge of democracy. To handle the first question, expanding freedom is our compelling national interest. As to the second, I don’t see a democratic temperament being genetic. Not going in shows a selfishness that says that a few American lives aren’t worth thousands of African lives, which is self-centered at best and racist at worst.

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