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Congo and Reverse Colonialism
Nothing short of a wholesale takeover of Congo by an outside force can save it, and France is just the country for the job.
A peace pact
is currently in place in Congo, and Congo is trying to form a new, more inclusive,
government. But this almost certainly won’t do anything, experts agree, except
create a short lull in the fighting. There have been three previous peace
pacts; they did zero.
So what could
stop this horrific conflict? Nothing. Well, nothing short of a wholesale
takeover of the country by an outside force. An overwhelming force that would
go into an African country to save and preserve the country’s riches and
rights for its people. How odd. And how desperately needed. Call it reverse
this would be quite costly to the occupying country, both financially and
in military lives. It would have to be a last resort, the very last resort.
But then the Congolese were ready for a last resort years and millions of
It is likely
that the government in Kinshasa headed by Joseph Kabila (his father Laurent
was assassinated in year three of this war) would welcome a temporary occupying
army. For one thing, it would mean Kabila would get back the half of the
country he’s lost to the country’s various rebel groups. Kabila would likely
get to stay on as leader until the rule of law could be established and democracy
And if something
like a country going into another country to save it for its people sounds
somewhat familiar, it should. Think Iraq.
It is becoming
clearer every day that it doesn’t matter if we find weapons of mass destruction
in Iraq because it is obvious that life was so horrific under Saddam that
the invasion was more than justified. And life for the Congolese is worse
now than it ever was for the Iraqis. But who could accomplish for Congo what
we (and the Brits and Australians) accomplished in Iraq? Who could best learn
from our example and follow it?
France. Yes, France.
had, and continues to have, very close ties to sub-Saharan African. Stronger
than the United States’ and probably stronger than any other European country’s.
As evidence, over 50 African countries sent their leaders or other representatives
to the annual Franco-African summit in Paris on February 20 of this year.
And France is very familiar with the situation in Congo in particular: it
is already leading a multinational force there of about 1,400.
be a huge sacrifice for the French. So, what’s in it for them? It’s the right
thing to do, but with the French, that’s clearly not enough. But there’s
much more. France here has a chance to earn the respect of the world. The
respect it deeply desires and failed to get through its attempt to keep the
United States out of Iraq. A French invasion and temporary occupation of
Congo would also help to ease the impression around the world that France
has always been, and continues to be, militarily weak.
Now the French
didn’t originally colonize Congo (Belgium did), but this isn’t about making
up for past wrongs; it’s about doing what’s right, right now. Does France
have the power and the willpower to do it? Let’s just say that we only know
for sure that it has the power (especially if the Congolese government is
byproduct of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq is the fear and respect
we’ve earned in the region. Iran and Syria in particular no doubt feel self-conscious
about every move they make. Is Iran next? Is Syria next? These questions
have been asked not just in the Washington but also in Damascus and Tehran.
of Congo by France would also send a message to other African countries.
Liberia, Sudan and Zimbabwe come quickly to mind. Zimbabwe, especially, could
use a wake up call and a rude awakening. It is clear that Robert Mugabe won’t
leave office there unless a gun is put to his head. Reverse colonialism in
Congo by the French would serve notice that the gun is locked and loaded.
Put a little
glibly, it’s time France invaded another country for a change. Having been
saved by others in two world wars, it’s time France saved someone else. And
if they resolved to do it, I seriously doubt the United States, or anybody
else for that matter, would run crying to the United Nations to try to stop
Greg Pomeroy is a high school English teacher and freelance writer who lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.