Freelance journalist James Traub, though not having written much on Africa in the past, provides a very good summary of the crisis in Ivory Coast and why it matters for West Africa and the continent as a whole. How African regional bodies such as ECOWAS and the African Union, international bodies such as the UN, and world powers - China, Russia, Britain, France, and the US - react could signal a new era in political crisis response and the quest for sustainable democracy in Africa.
To act against Gbagbo would be a shot across the bow of Mugabe, Bongo, Museveni, Kibaki, and others in Africa who cloak themselves in democracy then behave undemocratically. Regrettably, I doubt that there will be an intervention in Cote d'Ivoire given the history of such adventures in Africa, Liberia notwithstanding. But I do hope an ECOWAS intervention supported by the AU and the UN will occur and thereby provide a "shot heard 'round Africa" - No more sheep-clad kabuki democracy hiding autocratic wolves!
January 7, 2011
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