The Other McCain

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#SouthSudan: Words Aren’t Enough

Posted on | December 24, 2013 | 17 Comments

There has been relatively little conservative commentary on the crisis in South Sudan. Part of this could be explained by low expectations: Anarchy in Africa is not exactly unusual, and why should this particular episode of mayhem deserve our attention? Part of it may be due to the sense that no important American interest is affected by events in South Sudan. But it may be that conservatives are just overlooking an excellent opportunity to hoist President Obama by his own petard, to cite this crisis as further evidence of the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s ineptitude.

Rick Moran at American Thinker expresses a pessimistic view:

Things are getting out of control in South Sudan. There are now reports of massacres, mass graves, rape, and it’s getting worse. A refugee crisis is brewing as tens of thousands flee the ethnic cleansing underway.
South Sudan could easily become another Somalia — a failed state run by gangs and warlords who target the innocent. Will the world stand by and let it happen again?
Of course we will.

Quite likely true, but why should we pass up this chance to point out the vast distance between President Obama’s “Hope and Change” rhetoric and the dismal result of his policies? Because the dismal result is staring the world right in the face:

U.S. Marines stood by to help evacuate Americans in South Sudan as the top U.N. official there warned Tuesday of a “breakdown in respect for the most basic rights of people” amid the country’s widening military and humanitarian crisis.
U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Toby Lanzer tweeted that more accounts were reaching him of human rights abuses amid widening violence that has stoked fears of an all-out civil war in the world’s newest country.
In Geneva, Switzerland, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called human rights abuses in the country a “serious and growing” problem.
“Mass extrajudicial killings, the targeting of individuals on the basis of their ethnicity and arbitrary detentions have been documented in recent days,” Pillay said, according to the statement. “We have discovered a mass grave in Bentiu, in Unity State, and there are reportedly at least two other mass graves in Juba.”
One U.N. official saw 14 bodies at the mass grave in Bentiu and another 20 on a nearby riverbank, said Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the commissioner.
“As for the other two reported graves in Juba, we are still working to verify but it is very difficult, and there are reports that some bodies may have already been burned,” she said.

The New York Times reports:

On Monday, the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, urged a major increase in peacekeeping troops in the country, where the organization’s bases in Juba and other cities have become de facto sanctuaries for tens of thousands of civilians trying to escape the violence. Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, and Bentiu, the capital of Unity state, an oil producing area, are considered especially tense and dangerous.
Hundreds of people, and possibly many more, have been killed in more than a week of clashes and confusion around the country. . . .
On Monday, the Pentagon said it was stepping up its planning to evacuate Americans and protect those who remain in South Sudan. About 150 Marines and six transport aircraft are being sent from Spain to Djibouti, where an emergency force was created in the wake of the deadly attack on the American Mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012.
The move was hinted at in a letter President Obama sent to congressional leaders on Sunday in which he said that he might take “further action” to support American citizens and interests in the strife-ridden region.
The United States also put forward a Security Council resolution on Monday to approve Mr. Ban’s plea for more international peacekeepers. . . .
“The leaders of South Sudan face a stark choice,” said Samantha Power, the American ambassador to the United Nations. “They can return to the political dialogue and spirit of cooperation that helped establish South Sudan, or they can destroy those hard-fought gains and tear apart their newborn nation.”
Diplomats from Africa, the United States and elsewhere have tried to bring the warring parties to the table, hoping to cobble together a cease-fire before the cycle of violence gathers momentum and leads to a protracted civil war.

So far, U.S. policy in South Sudan is to issue strongly worded warnings that the combatants ignore. Good luck with that.

 

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Comments

  • ThomasD

    You point up one of the great distinctions between conservatives and the rest of society.

    Right now there is nothing good that we can effectively accomplish in South Sudan.

    In that sense Barack Obama’s inaction is the correct national posture.

    Yes, based upon his purported ‘ideals’ it a terribly cynical and hypocritical position for him to take.

    But to criticize him for being a stopped clock runs the risk of precipitating rash and irresponsible action.

    To take such risk, for transient and wholly political benefit is at least distasteful, if not downright wrong.

    Africa must come to grips with tribalism and ethnocentrism (along with corruption, and a score of other own-goals) if it is ever to see nation states rise to stability, much less prosperity. Sadly this is a lesson that cannot be taught, it must be learned.

    Learned the hard way.

  • http://www.journal14.com/ Dana

    Our esteemed host wrote:

    There has been relatively little conservative commentary on the crisis in South Sudan. Part of this could be explained by low expectations: Anarchy in Africa is not exactly unusual, and why should this particular episode of mayhem deserve our attention? Part of it may be due to the sense that no important American interest is affected by events in South Sudan. But it may be that conservatives are just overlooking an excellent opportunity to hoist President Obama by his own petard, to cite this crisis as further evidence of the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s ineptitude.

    As I noted — shameless blog plug alert! — we’ve mostly quit caring about Syria, too, now that President Assad and his minions are killing people by the approved methods of bullets and bombs, and aren’t using those absolutely horrid chemical weapons. We’ve stopped caring about Syria these days.

    There’s really nothing in this story to slam President Obama with; he didn’t start that civil war, and South Sudan is barely a blip on the radar screen.

  • http://www.journal14.com/ Dana

    As for South Sudan, here’s the wisdom of The Atlantic, the same people who employ the distinguished Mr Sullivan.

  • http://wizbangblog.com/ Adjoran

    Some people have the idea our only choices are full-scale armed intervention or doing nothing. Of course that is ridiculous.

    The United States played a key role diplomatically in getting this country its independence. We do bear some responsibility here, and greater in the respect that the neglect of that responsibility by Obama and Rice has contributed to the deterioration of the government there.

    A very limited strike against the marauding rebels with an A-10 or two could save thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of lives.

    Or we can stand by and watch.

  • http://youhavetobethistalltogoonthisride.blogspot.com/ keyboard jockey

    So Patty Murray and Paul Ryan just stuck it to the U.S. military cut their COLA by 6 billion, and now they are going to send them into another shit hole…does this sound anything like shared sacrifice?

  • robcrawford2

    Putting aircraft over the place means putting retrieval teams in place, because aircraft can get shot down or just break down. Putting retrieval teams in place means troops on the ground.

    Why is this any of our concern? Let the interested parties work out their differences.

  • ThomasD

    On what basis do we choose which side to punish? And therefore which side to support?

  • Steve Skubinna

    There’s no valid strategic reason for us to get involved… however, unlike Syria which is surrounded (more or less) by states competent to contain the violence, that part of Africa is full of failed or failing states, and the only real barrier to this spreading is the staggering lack of infrastructure in the area. No roads and transport might serve better to keep this localized than anything the First World can do.

    However this turns out, it’s not going to make managing the situation around the Horn of Africa any easier.

  • Dandapani

    Intervening in a Civil War is like intervening in a Domestic Dispute. No good will come of it and both sides will blame the intervener.

  • http://alessandrareflections.wordpress.com/ Alessandra

    It’s your kind of thinking that got many women murdered through domestic violence.

  • http://alessandrareflections.wordpress.com/ Alessandra

    Anarchy in Africa is not exactly unusual, and why should this particular episode of mayhem deserve our attention?
    ===============
    After centuries of Europeans and Americans ravaging and exploiting the continent, why indeed?
    The bourgeoisie can not really be bothered with justice. What’s always at stake is it’s own petty and horribly destructive interests.

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  • daisy

    And yet there are many a cop in the who could tell you that he went to a domestic case and was attacked by the woman trying to defend her man even though she was getting beat up a few minutes before.

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