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Bush and Somalia April 26, 2009

Posted by Afflatus in History, World Affairs.
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I’ve been really busy recently, thus I havent had a chance to post much. Writing a paper on Somalia has taken up most of my time. I’ve briefly shared some of what I’ve learned about Somalia with some of you, but its necessary that everyone understands the extent to which the US and Ethiopia, along with other Western and African countries, made disastrous policy decisions in Somalia in 2006. Without time to explain in more detail, I refer you to this short article from cfr, my new favorite source of news on international affairs.

On thing to get clear is that the piracy on the horn and the Islamic extremism in the south are independent of each other. Pirates are generally not linked to the Islamic terrorists in the south or elsewhere in the world.

Another thing the article notes is that the US has bombed militant Islamic extremists in Somalia 5 times in the past 2.5 years! Pretty crazy right?

In essence, hard diplomacy (the military) is not the solution in Somalia. Combined Western naval fleets can only patrol 1% of the waters within range of Somali pirate attacks. Likewise, it is not the solution in the fight against Islamic fundamentalists. Both problems require soft diplomacy: building up infrastructure and industry, providing much-needed food and water, and supporting the new moderate, Islamic, transitional government in their fight against the extremists.

This view favoring a soft solution is wide-ranging, and held by experts on both sides of the political spectrum. Too bad the Bush Administration did not understand what we do now.

Two more articles that help to explain the immense humanitarian crisis in Somalia are: here and here.

I’ll post more after finals, or if you have specific questions, ask!