Friday, February 06, 2004

Playing Politics with People's Lives

The immorality of the American government obstructionism over peacekeeping in Ivory Coast is simply astonishing. What motive can there be for it, other than a desire to score a petty point against the French?

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 4 — The United States on Wednesday blocked the dispatching of United Nations peacekeepers to Ivory Coast for at least a month even as France argued that the mission was essential to peace.

The American ambassador, John D. Negroponte, in a closed meeting of the Security Council, questioned a United Nations estimate that 6,240 peacekeeping soldiers were needed for the job and expressed concern that the mission might lead to a de facto partitioning of the country.

It would be one thing if the American government were obliged to provide troops for any peacekeeping force, but this doesn't seem to be the case. What is more, a partitioning of Ivory Coast, "de facto" or otherwise, is arguably precisely what is needed to resolve the ethnic tensions there.