Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rwanda as Africa's Israel

I have been trying to read up and understand the recent history of Congo. It is pretty complex, so I still do not completely understand it. One thing that is clear is that the history is intimately tied up with the history of Rwanda and to a lesser extent Uganda, both of which with US and UK support have consistently intervened in Congo since 1996. Their aggression which has included widespread pillaging and rape as well as killings has a number of causes. But, it does appear that the frequently made comparisons to Rwanda and Israel do have some merit. Both are states where a minority subjected to genocide, Jews in Israel and Tutsis in Rwanda, control the state. They are also both demographic minorities in those states if you include the territories occupied and controlled by Israel and displaced refugees. In both cases the state draws much of its international legitimacy from representing a group victimized by genocide and in both cases these states have parlayed this moral capital into massive and unconditional support from the US. In particular the US Democratic Party has been supportive of both Israel and Rwanda in every crime they have committed. The first military intervention in Congo by Rwanda took place in 1996 and the second in 1998 both with the support of the Clinton administration. The International Rescue Committee estimates that this second war cost 1.7 million lives by 2000 including 200,000 direct deaths from violence. Now Rwanda is again intervening in Congo and destabilizing the country to the detriment of the indigenous population through its support of the M23 militia. Like Israel, Rwanda has basically gotten anything it wants from the US. The Obama administration has continued the Clinton policy of facilitating Rwandan aggression against Congo. US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice who is currently being touted as the next secretary of state has been one of the key figures in the US efforts to provide cover for the aggressive behavior towards Congo by the Rwandan regime. I realize that all US "progressives" support Obama in everything he does and that all US "progressives" support the nomination of Susan Rice for Secretary of State. But, US "progressives" have been notoriously bad for the people of Africa. Yet one more reason I am not a "progressive."


Leo Tolstoy said...

Otto, the general consensus among non-African scholars is that the borders of many of these states are all wrong, drawn by the Europeans in a way that not only divides nations into different states but also disrupts traditional migratory routes. Does that seem like anything corresponding to the reality?

J. Otto Pohl said...

Walt this is true, but in no way justifies the looting, rape, and murder perpetrated by the Ugandan and Rwandan armies and their proxies in Congo. It certainly does not justify the "Rwanda can do no wrong" attitude of people like Susan Rice.

Leo Tolstoy said...

Thanks, Otto. Naturally, I agree with you concerning the Congo situation. I've found that Republicans and Democrats differ little in the brutality of their foreign policies.