The New Democrat Online

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Somalia Needs a Long Term Plan: International Nation Building



When it comes to Nation Building, the only time I can recall where the United States played a key positive role in this exercise was in the mid and late 1990s in the Balkans. Some might say the World War II Aftermath might be a good example of Nation Building. But the difference is, that those nations were already nations they just needed to be rebuilt. Germany, Italy, France, Britain etc were already nations with long history's before World War II. Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Kosovo weren't nations before the Balkan Wars but were Provinces or Republics in Yugoslavia. That was dominated by serbians in Serbia which was another Province or Republic in Yugoslavia before serbians changed the name of Yugoslavia to Serbia. But when it comes to Afghanistan and Somalia and to a certain extent Iraq, even though they've had an official Central Government for eighty years or so. This is not Nation Rebuilding but Nation Building, turning States or Territory's into Nations which are different things. And when it comes to Nation Building, the United States doesn't have a very good record of doing this, especially when we've had the lead role or are trying to do it by ourselves. Afghanistan and Iraq are excellent examples of this, which I believe is the main reason why we haven't invaded Libya. To take over that government and try to install a new government there and run the show so to speak. But instead are part of a NATO No Fly Zone in Libya defending the Libyan Rebels there against their own government as ironic as it might sound. And another reason why we haven't gotten involved in Syria as well trying to throw out the Assad Regime as well. Because we already have too many obligations that we have to meet and we are extremely limited with the resources we have right now. A 14T$ National Debt and 1.6T$ Budget Deficit will do that to you. But that doesn't mean we can't do anything to help Somalia and its people, we just need to play a more limited but more effective role.

Somalia a large country physically but with only 9.3M people is going through a horrible famine right now and its already one of the top 3-5 poorest countries in the World to begin with, if you want to call it that. And yes they definitely need a lot of Food Aid and not just from the United States but the Developed World in general especially and the European Union could play a big role here. The United Nations could also play a major effective role here, the African Union could play a constructive role here, as well as the Arab League. They technically have a Federal Government but they need an effective Federal Government and a military that can protect the country. And Law Enforcement that can protect its streets, so they are not always in Civil War. They need roads, schools and more infrastructure, they need everything that an effective country needs. They are not going to go from a Fourth or Third World country to a Developed Country overnight obviously. But they need the basics that a lot of Third World countries already have to get started that they don't have now. And they need a lot of international help to get there but America can't do it all.

America is good at a lot of things even internationally, like wiping out Evil Regimes but we are not great at step two. But what we can do is be a player in an International Coalition, not with troops on the ground but delivering resources and supplies and helping out the UN and others as they play more of a major role. To help give Somalia the basics as they start to build their own nation.