Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The cost of failure in Somalia

The Center for American Progress and One Earth Future Foundation issued a report dated September 2011 titled “Twenty Years of Collapse and Counting: The Cost of Failure in Somalia.”

Written by John Norris and Bronwyn Bruton, it estimates that the international community has spent more than $55 billion dealing with crises related to Somalia since 1991. It describes Somalia as “a tragic case study of the international community getting it wrong repeatedly.” It adds that “the United States in particular shows an almost willful disregard for sensible diplomacy or the kinds of patient, grassroots engagement that might have helped Somalia achieve a greater level of stability at different junctures.”

While I agree that the international community and the United States have made more than their share of mistakes in Somalia, I believe the report is excessively harsh on the role of the international community. It was the international community that ended the 1992-1993 famine and has continued to keep many Somalis alive with emergency food aid. In the final analysis, it is Somalis themselves who created this situation. Could the international community done much better? Yes.

Decide for yourself by reading the entire report.

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