My recent Oped in the New York Times on the Central African Republic described a chronically bad situation that had predictably and unnecessarily got worse. Correct and prescient analysis by the African Union had been ignored a year ago.


The major element of my argument on the French intervention in C.A.R. is the perils of crying “genocide.”  But this begs the question, what was the correct response to the AU analysis and call for action?


The first element in a response would be that the imminent collapse of governance is a sufficient reason for concerned neighbors to engage, politically and through dispatching troops to provide security. There should no need to overdramatize such a situation.


A second element is that the resulting engagement is a political mission, with political methods and goals. There are no simple or perfect political solutions, but there are outcomes that are less imperfect than others. In the case of C.A.R., maintaining at least a vestige of constitutionalism and requiring the political contenders to negotiate within such a framework, would have been a far less bad outcome than the complete collapse of governance that has occurred. “Preserve what little is there,” is a good starting point for political intervention.


And the third key element is that African nations should have taken on the responsibility of acting themselves. C.A.R.’s neighbors collectively spend over $3 billion annually on their defense budgets. If, as seems to be the case, that the principal security threat facing African states is state collapse among their neighbors, then they should not have waited for a former imperial power to take action—they should have done it themselves. Only when the acuity of African political analysis is matched by Africa’s readiness to act on that analysis, will there be any prospect of Africa resolving its problems.

2 Responses to Central African Republic: African Analysis, But Why No African Solution?

  1. Elvis Bokem says:

    Africa has gone through hard times, an it is still going through hard times but yet the perfect and true solution is hidden from the world. There is a way forward if the world really wants peace. If there is Peace in Africa, the would be peace the the world.
    Let us put genuine institutions forward and not institutions of interest.
    Let us help Africa and the world by doing the right thing at the right time with no strings or interest hidden behind
    Let us give the right education or training at the right time rather than forceful training or education.
    Let us monitor the right thing and say the truth about the outcomes
    Let us look at humanity and forget about race, history and our selfish interest.
    If we know the source of weapons and monitor the activities with the love of humanity, then the solution is just there. It will help us all.
    We should be worried about immediate issues to humanity rather than our selfish interest but yet we cry humanity louder than we care.
    The true care is to care for even our enemy.
    Where are the Guns from? Does it germinate like cocoa bean?
    Please lets come together for real peace not a peace with hidden interest.
    Just imagine SA without Mandela
    Just imagine Computer world without Bill gate
    Just imagine if all this great guys had died in one of this wars left and right. we would still be without the solutions the brought to the world.
    The solution to all this medical issues: Cancer, AIDS, Malaria ………….
    The solution to terrorism
    The solution to Economy
    Maybe the the person is gone in one of this unjust wars left and ri

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