U.S. must take new road in Africa

The administration correctly labeled the Sudanese geno-cide. Now, make others agree.

In May, allegations of “ethnic cleansing” were coming out of the Darfur region of Sudan. In July, Congress passed a resolution calling the uprooting of 1.8 million people and more than 70,000 massacred people genocide. In September, President George W. Bush also called the horrific violence genocide.

The current issue of Foreign Affairs has an interesting article by University of Wisconsin professor Scott Straus about whether the label of genocide should be placed on the ongoing violence in Sudan. Whether the specific label of “genocide” should be used, a new African policy must be developed by the United States.The United States should take up the burden of being the sole superpower and stop the violence in Africa.

Over the past decade, and perhaps even longer, the United States has sat idol and failed to intervene in round after round of violence taking the lives of millions. In his Harper’s Magazine March 2004 essay “The Collapse of Globalism,” John Ralston Saul wrote, “Yet we don’t know, or don’t care to know, whether it was a million or half a million Rwandans who were massacred … The Rwanda catastrophe then morphed into the Congo catastrophe, involving 4.7 million deaths between 1998 and 2003. Or was it 3 million? Or 5.5?”

It is clear to see that the United States has failed to stop the catastrophes that have taken the lives of millions of Africans for decades. The country failed in Rwanda and is failing in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Agence France-Presse claimed Monday that “more than 70,000 refugees have fled atrocities” over the past two months in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Human Rights Watch sent out a press release Monday alleging that in Sudan, “Male relatives who protested were beaten, stripped naked, tied to trees and forced to watch the rape of the women and girls. In some cases, the men were then branded with a hot knife as a mark of their humiliation.”

If the United States is being the world’s moral police as it has claimed it is doing in Iraq, then it must be the moral police worldwide. More must be done immediately to stop the conflicts.

First, in Sudan, the United States must lead the U.N. Security Council to send a United Nations “peace support” army of at least 10,000 peacekeepers. The United Nations, lead by the United States, must take over the African Union’s responsibility of maintaining the peace and stopping the genocide.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the United States must use its world supremacy to raise serious concerns about the continuous killing and displacement of thousands. The United States must bring the issue of violence to the U.N. Security Council.

Finally, if need be, the United States should unilaterally send troops into the African conflicts to stop the “ethnic cleanings” and/or genocide. Their simple justification is this: If you have the world’s best fire engine on your driveway, and the house across the street is on fire, you will send your truck and help. The United States has the best “fire truck.” Africa is on fire. Start the engines.

How many people must die before the United States acts? How many people must be forced from their homes? How many must live in fear? Doing nothing, letting others attempt to do the work or following the status quo will result in more deaths. The United States must understand the conflicts and stop them immediately.

Dan Bordwell is a University undergraduate. Please send comments to [email protected].