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January 2, 2010 2:26 PM   Subscribe


 
Zoellick was the right man to send. A Washington insider with nest-of-a-drunken-bird eyebrows and a lanky, Ivy League intensity
What is a lanky intensity? Much less a lanky, Ivy League intensity?
posted by delmoi at 4:13 PM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the dude is lanky, the intensity is Ivy League. But I think there are so few comments because it's impossible to know what to say to this. Do nothing? Awful. Do something military? Also quite likely awful. Give aid without military stuff? Pretty bad. No good answers here-- so complicated and sad.
posted by Maias at 6:44 PM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is an answer and it's called "right of return". If we want our aid to be both just and finite the UN can give them provisions and safe passage to their homes, and enough food aid to last until herds are restocked and fields are ready for harvest.

And a real guarantee that the developed world won't stand idly by if the death squads mount up and take after them again.

This is what fixes everything. This is how we end the squalor of the camps and the tragedy of lost generations. It's true for every dispossessed people everywhere. You want to help them? Help them go home. It's not some abstract philosophical conundrum. Nothing to figure out, other than logistics.

I've never heard of it being done, however.
posted by clarknova at 8:58 PM on January 2, 2010


I've never heard of it being done, however.

That's because "other than logistics" is huge. Centralization is non-ideal but much easier to secure, and much easier to manage.
posted by nat at 9:05 PM on January 2, 2010


Centralization is non-ideal but much easier to secure, and much easier to manage.

Then the quagmire persists and the dilemma has its answer.
posted by clarknova at 9:44 PM on January 2, 2010


"This is what fixes everything. This is how we end the squalor of the camps and the tragedy of lost generations. It's true for every dispossessed people everywhere. You want to help them? Help them go home. It's not some abstract philosophical conundrum. Nothing to figure out, other than logistics."

It's a nice thought, but totally simplistic. Quite a few folks don't want to go home, safe or not. They've built up local power bases.

The basic problem is that the Sudan is a failed state. The only real solution is to build an effective state, in a place that's never really had an effective modern state. Colonialism gets a bad rap (deservedly), but we can't pretend that the Sudan was some sort of tribal Scandinavia prior. And guess what? Nation building, or, more aptly, state building, is really fucking difficult, really fucking expensive, and takes both vision and commitment from the public that the state comprises.

Saving the Sudan means convincing not just America, but roughly all of the UN to commit billions of dollars and likely hundreds of thousands of troops for a generation, and that this is more important than getting, say, health care here at home.
posted by klangklangston at 8:31 PM on January 3, 2010


Giddiddy
posted by stormpooper at 6:57 AM on January 4, 2010


What is a "failed state"? How can something be "failed" in the present tense? Shouldn't it be "failing"? And if it's failed, isn't it no longer a state? Or is this one of those metonymy things (like "the White House issued a press release" when the building didn't do anything) and it really means "the government of Sudan has failed to _______"?

Not being a pedant here, I really don't understand the term. I'm obtuse, but not deliberately so.
posted by Eideteker at 8:48 AM on January 4, 2010


A failed state is a state that does not hold a monopoly on legitimate force within its stated territory, most broadly. It's a bit of jargon, and I was using it here to emphasize that the government of Sudan does not have popularly legitimate control of its territories (hence competing rebel groups) nor does it provide the basic goods required of a functioning state, that of providing protection and services for its citizens. Regarding the tense issues, a state has failed much like a car has stopped.
posted by klangklangston at 3:35 PM on January 4, 2010


There is an answer and it's called "right of return". If we want our aid to be both just and finite the UN can give them provisions and safe passage to their homes, and enough food aid to last until herds are restocked and fields are ready for harvest.

And a real guarantee that the developed world won't stand idly by if the death squads mount up and take after them again.


This is called "sending in troops" (to keep the death squads away from the homes) and "nation building" (to ensure they don't come back) both of which are very, very hard, expensive and difficult to achieve. It's not like people haven't thought about this: it's a truly extremely difficult problem.

You are talking about creating trust, reliable institutions and safety in places that have little or no experience of reciprocal trust outside the family and/or tribe and little or no experience of non-corrupt institutions. If you can't create trust of outsiders and fair government, you won't be able to grow the economy because those things are necessary to prevent the return of the problem. Without trust of outsiders you can't have economic growth and noncorrupt institutions because trade relies on trust between parties who are not in the same groups and institutions will become corrupt when people favor their family and tribe (which they do if they can't trust outsiders).

No one knows how to do that from scratch-- the countries that have done this don't really know how they did it themselves, even.
posted by Maias at 4:01 PM on January 4, 2010


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