Earlier this week, the Enough Project and Humanity United wrote to leading members of the U.S. Administration with recommendations for how the U.S. should respond to the current crises in South Sudan and Sudan. They began their substantive recommendations with perhaps a little more candor than they intended: “the U.S. must invest much more deeply in cultivating coercive influence.”

I will write a longer commentary on how the U.S. might sensibly act on those two troubled countries. But let me repeat the Enough slogan in case you missed it. “The U.S. must invest much more deeply in cultivating coercive influence.”

Yes, you read it correctly: “The U.S. must invest much more deeply in cultivating coercive influence.”

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3 Responses to Enough Foolishness

  1. That managerial newspeak does sound pretty sinister. But isn’t the main recommendation it refers to –

    work closely with regional states to freeze or seize assets of senior government and rebel officials implicated in atrocities

    – only the obverse of what you were advocating a couple of days earlier?

    [I]f financial sanctions are to be utilized as part of the arsenal of peace making in Africa, it is important that they enjoy legitimacy in the region and the ready cooperation of African countries. For this to be possible, African institutions need to develop the necessary expertise, so that they can design and recommend the appropriate mechanisms. The enforcement of these measures will of course require international, and especially U.S., cooperation….

    • Alex DeWaal says:

      Dear Michael,

      Good point. I do not object to individually-targeted financial sanctions as such. I am concerned that decisions about how and when to enact them, and whom to target and to what end, should be taken in a manner that involves South Sudanese themselves and the countries of the region (which are in the lead in the peace process), rather than on a unilateral basis, or with cosmetic consultation only, by the U.S. At present, the countries of the region do not have the capacity to design and implement such sanctions themselves, but they should at least be thinking through how they could play a leading role in this respect, rather than leaving the issue to the U.S. alone.

      The Enough Project makes a nod in this direction. But the entire ethos of the organization is for the U.S. to take an assertive, not to say aggressive, posture in African conflicts. Even with the contextual caveats, the sentence I quote three times is so striking that only someone with a particular mindset–the liberal Neo-con interventionist–could have written it or allowed it to pass into print.


  2. Pagan says:

    As long as the intention is to arrest the mass killings and force the leaders to sit at the negotiation table “coercive influence” must be used. In the wake of the suffering that we witnessed, unceasing violence, adamant warlords happy to continue the massacres, “coercive influence” must be used to bring peace to South Sudan. It was used and they signed an agreement. For me a South Sudanese it is a glimpse of hope that we are towards a positive trend to peace deal.
    On the need to “consult” the South Sudanese and the countries in the region on the sanctions: First of all consulting South Sudanese will take time and lead to more bloodshed. Do you think Kenya and Uganda or even Ethiopia will agree to sanctions? Those targeted by the sanctions have their families in their mansions and villas in these countries. They invested in them. Secondly, the countries in the region cannot be consulted since some of them played very negative and dubious role in the conflict. Uganda was clear, Kenya was ambiguous and Ethiopia stood for its interests.

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