December 1, 2012

THERE IS NO CONGO:

To Save Congo, Let It Fall Apart (J. PETER PHAM, 12/01/12, NY Times)

Whatever else Congo's various armed groups may be, they are clearly viewed by large segments of some communities as de facto protectors -- a point underscored by the several hundred government soldiers and police officers who recently defected to M23 and publicly swore allegiance to it after the fall of Goma.

If Congo were permitted to break up into smaller entities, the international community could devote its increasingly scarce resources to humanitarian relief and development, rather than trying, as the United Nations Security Council has pledged, to preserve the "sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity" of a fictional state that is of value only to the political elites who have clawed their way to the top in order to plunder Congo's resources and fund the patronage networks that ensure that they will remain in power.

Despite its democratic misnomer, Mr. Kabila has repeatedly delayed holding local elections since 2005. For years, every last mayor, burgomeister and neighborhood chief in the entire country has been appointed by presidential decree.

Given the dysfunctional status quo and the terrible toll it has exacted in terms of lives and resources, the West should put aside ideological dogmatism in favor of statesmanlike pragmatism and acknowledge the reality that, at least in some extreme cases, the best way to break a cycle of violence is to break up an artificial country in crisis and give it back to its very real people.

People who think themselves a nation are one.
Posted by at December 1, 2012 7:43 AM
  
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