Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Clinton in the Congo: Behind the veil of concern and outrage, a legacy of failure in U.S. foreign policy

Note: this is a draft version of a coming 3-part series on the DR Congo and Secretary Clinton's visit to the country. Have a look at the Additional Resources section at the end of this post in order to peek into my mind as I put this baby together.

Behind the humanitarian concern and moral outrage, a legacy of ashes

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton touched down in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, for talks with President Kabila and Alan Doss (UN Special Representative to the DRC and MONUC head) and local dignitaries and civil society organizations, she had in tow some pretty heavy baggage. The relationship between the United States and this sprawling central African nation has a very troubled history of neglect and failed foreign polices. Although many people are familiar with U.S. support for the longtime Congolese leader Mobutu Sese Seko during the Cold War years, we should also not forget the failures in U.S. foreign policy toward the region under the administration of former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

It was under his administration that the devastating wars and mass atrocities took place in Burundi and Rwanda, setting the stage for the nightmare scenarios we see taking place today in the eastern DR Congo. If the United States together with our European allies and African partners in the region had made smart changes to post-Cold War policies in the early 1990's, engaging these brewing problems head-on before the chaos and bloodletting took place, the situation in the Congo today, fifteen years after the Rwandan Genocide, would look very different. This is something that Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and her entourage should have had firmly in mind as they stepped down on the tarmac of Kinshasa’s N'djili International Airport, and this should have especially been at the forefront of Secretary Clinton's thoughts as she was engaging in roundtable discussions and dialogue with young Congolese students. Students who oft times must study for exams by candlelight due to a lack of a reliable supply of electricity in Congo's capital city Kinshasa.

The Atlantic Magazine – September 2001 issue
Bystanders to Genocide by Samantha Power
This is a must-read feature article for anyone seeking to gain understanding of the Clinton White House during the period preceding, throughout, and following the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. Samantha Power, the Yale and Harvard-educated academic, journalist, and award-winning author of ‘A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide’, is now serving in the Obama administration as a special advisor to the President on foreign policy and humanitarian issues and is a member of the National Security Council. She was not invited along on the Secretary’s important trip to some of Africa’s most troubled conflict zones.

Forbes Magazine (Forbes.com)
Commentary: Congo's Conflict and What the U.S. Can Do December 22, 2008
A good background editorial about the conflicts and resource exploitation in the eastern Congo by independent journalist, blogger, and academic Mvemba Phezo Dizolele. Mvemba is presently working on his new book “Mobutu: the Rise and Fall of the Leopard King” after completing a fellowship at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He was a former grantee at the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. More of his writing on the DR Congo is listed in the Additional Resources at the end of this post.

One last thing before I proceed with the main topics of this post about U.S. foreign polices and the DR Congo. I can imagine that many people back home and around the world feel that America has no business being involved with this central African nation and its troubles, especially in light of the Congo’s brutal 75 year colonial history (Belgium’s King Leopold II, the Belgian Congo) and the post-colonial period when it was used as a Cold War proxy against Soviet and Cuban expansion in Africa and a precious minerals plantation for Western powers. But let me throw out a few factoids about this vast, mineral-rich, environmentally important giant at the heart of the African continent for the doubters among you:

Fast facts about the Democratic Republic of Congo
General geographic information and basic indicators

Straddling the Equator, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the third largest country in Africa (after Sudan and Algeria). The mighty Congo River flows north and then south through a land rich in minerals, fertile farmlands, and rain forests. The country has a tiny coast on the Atlantic Ocean, just enough to accommodate the mouth of the Congo River. The forested Congo River basin occupies 60 percent of the nation's area, creating a central region that is a communication barrier between the capital, Kinshasa, in the west, the mountainous east, and the southern mineral-rich highlands. As many as 250 ethnic groups speaking some 700 local languages and dialects endure one of the world's lowest living standards. War, government corruption, neglected public services, and depressed copper and coffee markets are contributing factors.

Size (Area): 2,344,855 sq. Km (approx. 905,365 sq. miles)
The DR Congo is approximately the size of the United States west of the Mississippi River and covers an area larger than all of Western Europe.

Population: approx. 63 million and growing fast (median age = 16 years)

Birth Rate: 50 (births per 1000 persons)

Mortality (Death) Rate: the International Rescue Committee (IRC.org) reports that approx. 45,000 people are dying every month in the eastern DRC, mainly from severe malnutrition, preventable diseases and a lack of basic medical care and clean drinking water (figures from 2008). More than 5.4 million people have died since the beginning of the 2nd Congo War in 1998, half of them children under the age of 5 years old.

Life expectancy: 46 years

Adult Literacy Rate: 67% (persons over 15 years old who can read and write)

Primary School Net Enrollment/Attendance: 52%

Sources: National Geographic Travel, UNICEF (2007 statistics for the DR Congo), the IRC blog Voices from the Field and other reliable sources i.e. The New York Times
Congo’s Death Rate Unchanged Since War Ended by Lydia Polgreen Jan 23, 2008

Congo’s Minerals, Forests, Ecology and Conservation

According to a February 2009 report in African Business magazine, the value of the mineral reserves buried under the soil of the DR Congo exceeds US$24 trillion dollars. This sum is greater than the combined GDP of both the United States and the 27 European Union (EU) countries. As far as I understand, the figure does not include the potential economic value of Congo’s sprawling tropical forests (located in the Congo River Basin, 2nd in size only to the Amazon rainforests of South America) and its mighty rivers (navigation, hydroelectric power, fresh water supply), and the Congo's precious flora and fauna (unique biodiversity and biospheres, pharmaceutical base products, and agriculture). The value of the non-mineral natural resources to future generations on Planet Earth could easily exceed the trillions of dollars of gold, diamonds, coltan, cobalt, and other minerals of Congo’s rich soil.

Source: US Government information websites, ICUN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), CARPE (Central African Regional Program for the Environment), WWF (World Wildlife Fund)

WWF: Forests of the Congo River Basin, The area: Congo River Basin forests

USAID Presidential Initiatives: Congo Basin Forest Partnership
USAID Africa: Congo Basin Forest

IUCN - Congo Basin Forest Partnership
The 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (full text and multimedia features)

National Geographic – Megatransect II: The Green Abyss and Megaflyover I with Dr. J. Michael Fay

VOA News
Congo Defends China Mineral Deal August 12, 2009

BBC News
Scramble for DR Congo's mineral wealth April 17, 2006

Allbusiness.com (a Dunn & Bradstreet website)
DR CONGO'S $24 trillion fortune by M.J. Morgan February 1, 2009 (source: African Business Magazine)

Fleet Street Invest
China's Relationship With Congo Soured by IMF by Manraaj Singh May 6, 2009

The Rumble in the Jungle: Hillary Clinton ‘loses it’ in Kinshasa

Now I know that several people back home in the U.S. and across the African continent have been highly critical of Hillary Clinton’s trip to Africa, and I have read blog posts and news articles about her unfortunate outburst at the meeting in Kinshasa with Congolese university students. I really do not want to get mixed up in all the trivialities and punditry and political mudslinging at Hillary Clinton. I don’t feel that would be very helpful when addressing something as important as America’s strategic interests in Africa____ especially with the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, I must say a few things about Hillary Clinton’s short visit to Kinshasa and her unfair scolding of that young Congolese student re: his question about President Clinton’s opinion of Chinese loans and investments in the Congo.

After Hillary Clinton’s marathon tour of Africa which ended with important visits to Nigeria and Liberia and a brief whistlestop tour of Cape Verde, I can well imagine that Mrs. Clinton and her entourage were eager to fly home to the USA. The extensive travel across this vast continent and the many meetings and discussions with Africa’s political leaders, students, and civic leaders had begun to take their toll halfway through the trip, as was evident at the invitation-only event for students arranged by the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa.

If Hillary Clinton was not prepared to answer questions from students and citizens of the Congo, especially in light of what I have pointed out in the introduction above, then she should not have arranged a public forum where journalists and bloggers would follow her every word. The use of Bill Clinton’s name and work in Africa served her well at the AGOA Forum in Kenya, but all of a sudden in the Congo it was a red button issue that caused her to blow her top. She never answered the question from the student about the disputed US$ 9 billion dollar Chinese government loan to the Government of the DRC in trade for mineral rights (10 million tons of copper and 600,000 tons of cobalt). Beijing has promised to the government in Kinshasa that they (the Chinese) would build US$ 3 billion in infrastructure development (mines, roads, highways, and rail systems). God only knows what else was negotiated under the table between Beijing and President Kabila and his ministers, but you can be sure it was worth plenty for both sides, and nothing for the people of the Congo.

If the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has a problem with this dubious transaction, then that’s a problem for them. However, I would be very interested in the Obama administration’s honest opinion (not their official position, but the honest opinion) about this dispute as well as their views on China’s growing economic and political influence in Africa. As a matter of fact, damn near all of the American people would like a clear answer to these important questions. Secretary Clinton fully understood that this is what this student meant with his question no matter how it was worded. Clinton blew up on this young man instead, denigrating him with her bitchy attitude and sharp response, and she never apologized to this young man publicly, and that is what was wrong with her behavior. So hear is my advice for the U.S. Secretary of State: Answer the damn question, Madame Secretary, and cut the BS!

While some have come to the defense of Madame Secretary with suggestions that the question was sexist or there was a possible problem with the translation, one has to wonder why a US Secretary of State would have required a translator at all. The student posed the question in French (not in his native tongue of Lingala or Kikongo), and a basic knowledge of French or other world languages should be a minimum requirement for America’s leading diplomat (and members of her staff), oder nicht?

The New York Times
Was Hillary Clinton’s Answer in Congo the Right One? 08/13/09
Robert Mackey of the excellent New York Times blog, The Lede, has probably the best follow-up post about Clinton’s angry outburst at the student forum in Kinshasa presenting eyewitness accounts from French-speaking journalists in attendance (700+ reader comments)

VOA News
Chinese Mineral Deal Blocking Congo's IMF Debt Relief by Scott Stearns May 26, 2009

NPR – National Public Radio – Morning Edition program
China, Congo Trade For What The Other Wants by Gwen Thompkins July 30, 2008
China Rising: China's Influence in Africa (full 5-part series at NPR)

Asia Times Online
China’s Copper Deal Back in the Melt by Peter Lee – June 12, 2009

The Jamestown Foundation
Chinese Inroads in DR Congo: A Chinese "Marshall Plan" or Business? By Wenran Jiang - January 12, 2009

And another thing about Secretary Clinton’s visit to Kinshasa while I’m on that subject: why did she not pay a visit to the common folk of the capital city? There are over 5 million people living in and around Kinshasa from all corners of the Congo and beyond. A quick 1-2 hour tour of the city’s open markets, shops and small businesses, town squares, and other points of interest (churches, bars, and bordellos) would have done a ton of good to lift the hearts and spirits of the Congolese people, showing them that Secretary Clinton and the American people really cared.

The Secretary could have learned all sorts of things about the Congo and the Congolese people that she cannot learn from reading expert reports and analysis and holding special Senate and House subcommittee meetings on the DR Congo. By simply by getting out on the streets and meeting with these people face-to-face she would have been immersed into the true heart of this sprawling jungle metropolis on the mighty Congo River. I'll bet you that her staff ever entertained such an idea, opting instead for a death-defying 1700+ Km flight across the Green Abyss (no ground radar, no air traffic control, no roads, no SAR) to Goma for a meeting with Congo's president Joseph Kabila and the tortured souls trapped in miserable UN (un)guarded refugee camps of the eastern Congo.

As important as Clinton’s visit to Goma was in order to meet with the doctors and nurses struggling to treat violent rape victims and mutilated survivors of attacks, widows and orphans of war and savagery, to meet with the President of the DRC to discuss his problems in trying to govern this lawless land, and of course to take advantage of the important photo opportunities in front of the world's press___ it would have been as important to spend a little more time in search of something positive in the Congo to tell the folks about back home. This was an important opportunity missed by the entire Clinton team, much to the regret of the people of the Congo and to the precious few people of the United States of America who follow news and events about this troubled country. Schade Hillary. Wirklich Schade Frau Secretary.

End of Part I

Related news articles, editorials, and additional resources

Note to myself:
I need to add text that emphasizes that Secretary Clinton was in Africa on the American people’s business and not just the President’s business or her own. Also explore the idea of the U.S. and E.U. government training and arming Congo’s women to protect themselves against rogue Congolese army soldiers and predatory militias. It has worked well in countries such as Sierra Leone and Liberia (national army and police). The U.S. is already involved in a proposed training of Quick Reaction Forces for Congolese National Army, and the European Union has been training Congolese police and military officers for years. Has it worked? It doesn’t seem so when one reads the latest HRW reports and various news stories. Research this information and include in the second installment of my Clinton in the Congo series. Use AFRICOM, U.S. DoD, State Department and other websites.

Democracy Now!
Clinton Unveils US Plan to Combat Sexual Violence in Visit to Eastern Congo 08/12/09
Guest: Christine Schuler Deschryver, Congolese human rights activist. She lives in Bukavu in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo and is the director of V-Day Congo. Christine met personally with Secretary Clinton during her visit to Goma and states that Clinton promised at least US$ 3 million of the US$ 17 million pledged for the training of a woman police force in the eastern DRC.

UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) - Defence News - Training and Adventure
British soldiers train Congolese Army June 30, 2009
News In Depth - Defence in Africa

Clinton Sprinkles US Military Aid Across Africa by Daniel Volman* 08/06/09
Secretary Clinton is alleged to have pledged US$ 185 million to assist military, paramilitary, and police forces in African countries in the coming year. This is excluding the US$ 1.3 billion military assistance package for Egypt. This article was also published to allAfrica.com by the Inter Press Service.

AFRICOM – US Africa Command
TRANSCRIPT: General Ward Says U.S. Military will Continue Supporting Security Assistance Activities in DRC - US AFRICOM News 04/24/09
The United States military will continue working with the Congolese armed forces in training, advising and capacity building to support security assistance cooperation activities, but has no plans to put combat troops here, said General William E. "Kip" Ward, the commander of U.S. Africa Command during a visit to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, April 24, 2009.

Ward in Congo: U.S. Military will Continue Supporting Security Assistance Activities - US AFRICOM News 04/27/09

U.S. Military Legal Experts Train DR Congo Military in Preventing, Prosecuting Sex Crimes - US AFRICOM News 02/09/08

A team of military investigators and lawyers from the United States and Europe arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo in late January to take part in a collaborative training project with the Congolese military on the investigation and prosecution of sex crimes that take place under military jurisdiction.

A four-day training workshop was organized by the U.N. Mission in DR Congo's Rule of Law division in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Defense Institute of International Legal Studies, home-based in Newport, Rhode Island.

The capacity-building training workshop on sex crime investigation targeted 42 military investigators, prosecutors and magistrates, drawn from the province of Orientale. Training workshops are scheduled for other provinces in May.

The goal of the seminars is to address sexual violence in the DRC by strengthening the capacities of the investigators and magistrates in the military justice system to investigate and prosecute these crimes, and in turn to move the Forces Armes de la Republique Democratique du Congo (FARDC) closer to its goal of attaining professional, disciplined military standards.

"With all the wars our country has experienced sexual crimes committed by men in military uniform," FARDC 9th Region Commander General Jean-Claude Kifwa said in a U.N. news release, "but with this seminar I really think we'll be able put an end to sexual violence in our military region."

Note to my readers: I am a big supporter of the US Africa Command and General William E. Ward's work on the continent (so far), so have your sh_t together before you make any critical comments about US AFRICOM. Other blog authors, pundits, and more than a few of my blogger buddies have learned this lesson the hard way.

Embassy of the United States - Kinshasa, Congo
Profile of U.S. Ambassador to the DR Congo William J. Garvelink (2007-present)
Agreement on Military Training Signed (June 19, 2009)
U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa news and press releases and podcasts
Note: the website of the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa is bordering on the pathetic!

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (Washington DC)
CSIS Africa Program - Online Africa Policy Forum blog
A Smarter U.S. Approach to Africa by Jennifer G. Cooke and J. Stephen Morrison
Excerpts from the groundbreaking CSIS March 2009 publication “Beyond the Bush Administration’s Africa Policy: Critical Choices for the Obama Administration”.

CSIS Africa Program: U.S. Security in Africa, China in Africa, Rising U.S. Energy Interests

U.S. News Online
A Killing in the Congo by Kevin Whitelaw July 24, 2000
A Mysteries of History special feature on the death of Patrice Lumumba and the involvement of Belgian security forces and the role of the CIA in the assassination

The New York Times
C.I.A. Sought Blackwater’s Help in Plan to Kill Jihadists by Mark Mazetti 08/19/09
C.I.A. Had Plan to Assassinate Qaeda Leaders by Mark Mazetti 07/13/09
Lawrence R. Devlin, 86, C.I.A. Officer Who Balked on a Congo Plot, Is Dead by Scott Shane 12/11/08
Memories of a C.I.A. Officer Resonate in a New Era by Scott Shane 02/24/09
Report Reproves Belgium in Lumumba's Death 11/17/01
Editorial Observer; The Rise and Violent Fall of Patrice Lumumba by Bill Berkely 08/02/01

Bill Berkeley uses Raoul Peck’s riveting film ‘Lumumba’ to help explain the reason behind the decades-long war-ravaged legacy of the eastern DR Congo.
Excerpt from 'The Rise and Fall of Patrice Lumumba' by Bill Berkeley___

''Lumumba'' recounts the swift rise and fall of the man who became Congo's first and last legitimately elected prime minister after it won independence from Belgium in 1960.

The film begins with images from the Belgian colonial era -- pith-helmeted white officers lording it over barefoot natives in scenes that recall one of Africa's most violent and predatory colonial orders. The narrative picks up the energetic and articulate Lumumba as a young salesman for a Belgian beer company who emerged in 1959 as a popular nationalist leader. Jailed and brutally beaten, he was then freed to participate in negotiations in Brussels that would lead to the Congo's independence. Lumumba's party won the largest number of votes in the country's first free elections, and he became prime minister at the age of 35.

Within days, the vast new nation began to unravel. The army mutinied. Belgium's military intervened to protect its citizens and encourage the mineral-rich province of Katanga, led by the conniving opportunist Moïse Tshombe, to secede. United Nations troops intervened to little effect. Nikita Khrushchev decided to send Soviet planes, weapons and advisers to help Lumumba, seeming to confirm the worst fears of the Eisenhower administration.

Lumumba and his neophyte nation, which at independence had barely a dozen university graduates, were caught up in a web of cold-war intrigue and neocolonial knavery. Just six months after he took office, Lumumba was murdered by Congolese rivals with the collusion of the United States and Belgium.

End Excerpt____

The New York Times – a short list of my favorite NY Times’ journalists reporting on Africa and the DR Congo (Note: I shall add more of my favorite journalists, photojournalists and videojournalists and filmmakers covering the DR Congo ASAP)

Lydia Polgreen (award-winning journalist, West Africa bureau chief from 2005-2009)
A Massacre in Congo, Despite Nearby Support by Lydia Polgreen 12/11/08
The Spoils - Congo’s Riches, Looted by Renegade Troops by Lydia Polgreen 11/15/08 – this special feature series on resource conflicts in Africa earned Lydia the prestigious 2008 Livingston Award for International Reporting.
New Power in Africa by Lydia Polgreen and Howard French August 2007
A 3-part series about China’s growing economic and political power in Africa

Nicholas D. Kristof (award-winning author, columnist, and passionate author of the New York Times’ On the Ground blog)
Crisis in Congo: Laurent Nkunda's troops advance on Goma 10/29/08
Dinner With a Warlord by Nicholas Kristof 06/18/07
Kristof interviews the infamous Tutsi Lord of War Laurent Nkunda on a remote hilltop in the eastern DRC

Jeffrey Gettleman (the young new East Africa bureau chief for the NY Times)
Symbol of Unhealed Congo - Male Rape Victims 08/04/09
Photo Essay: A Predatory Conflict in Congo 08/04/09
Book Review - 'Africa’s World War,' by Gérard Prunier - History of Conflict in Congo and Rwanda 04/02/09
Rape Epidemic Raises Trauma of Congo War 10/07/09

Howard French (a former NY Times bureau chief for West Africa and Shanghai, China. He is presently an associate professor of journalism at Columbia University)
Book Review - 'The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget - Murder and Memory in Uganda,' by Andrew Rice 07/29/09
Howard French reviews this excellent book about Uganda under the rule of Idi Amin
Letter from China - China Could Use Some Honest Talk About Race 07/31/09
Letter from China - U.S. Finding Its Voice in Africa Again 07/13/09

Le Monde Diplomatique (English edition)
Power Struggle in Kivu: Congolese flashpoint by Gérard Prunier July 1998
A chilling account of the events that led up to the brutal violence of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, the Congo Wars, and the continued violence we see in North and South Kivu to the very day. Read more of Professor Gérard Prunier’s articles at OpenDemocracy.net, such as his November 2008 article ‘The eastern DR Congo: dynamics of conflict’. He is the author of several good books about Africa, including his 2006 work “From Genocide to Continental War: The Congolese Conflict and the Crisis of Contemporary Africa” and his 2008 book “Africa’s World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe”. Here is a link to the January 2009 interview with Gérard Prunier at the Oxford University Press blog: A Few Questions for Gérard Prunier by Eve Donnegan - January 14, 2009

Excerpt from the OUP interview with Gérard Prunier___

OUP: How has the involvement of the world increased or decreased in Africa since the initial conflict?

Gerard Prunier: I don’t think international involvement of a non-commercial nature in Africa has increased or diminished since the 14 nation war. Basically what you see towards Africa is humanitarian goodwill (of a slightly weepy nature) backed up by celebrity photo ops, journalistic disaster reporting (unfortunately justified), “Out of Africa” type of exotic reporting and diplomatic shuttle diplomacy on Darfur and assorted crisis spots. None of this results in very much action. Meanwhile the United States drinks up crude oil from the gulf of Guinea, India and China export cheap trinkets to the continent and in exchange (particularly China) chew up vast amount of natural resources and build cheap roads and sports stadiums. The Africans at first loved it. Non-imperialistic aid, they said. As the Chinese shoddily-built roads already show signs of wear and tear and as their stadiums and presidential palaces (another Beijing specialty) begin to look slightly out of place, they are beginning to have second thoughts.

OUP: How has the 2006 election in Congo affected the country?

Prunier: It has stabilized it internationally and tranquilized it internally. But an election is only an election. Phase Two of the Congolese recovery program has so far failed to get off the ground. Security Sector Reform never started (the Congolese Army is still basically a gaggle of thugs who are more dangerous for their own citizens than for the enemy they are supposed to fight), mining taxation is still touchingly obsolete, enabling foreign mining companies to work in the country for a song and a little developmental dance, the political class mostly talks but does not act very much, foreign donors have forgotten the country as it made less and less noise, the Eastern question is a continuation of the endless Rwandese civil war which has been going on with ups and downs for the last fifty years and the sleeping giant of Africa still basically sleeps.

OUP: What sort of future do you see for Central Africa?

Prunier: Only God knows. It will depend a lot on the capacity of the Congolese government to move from a secularized form of religious incantations to real action. Mobutu is dead but his ghost is still with us. One typical feature of Mobutism was the replacement of action by discourse. Once something had been said (preferably forcefully and with a lot of verbal emphasis) everybody was satisfied and had the impression that a serious action had been undertaken. This allowed everybody to relax with a feeling of accomplishment. In a way the last Congolese election was a typical post-Mobutist phenomenon. A very important and valid point was made. This led to a great feeling of satisfaction and a series of practical compromises and lucrative arrangements. The Congolese elite sat back, relaxed and enjoyed its new-found tranquility. Meanwhile the ordinary population saw very little result of this new blessed state of affairs. Beginning to rejoin reality might be a good idea.

End excerpt___

Congo News Channel - a blog that aggregates English-language news, press releases, and editorials about the Democratic Republic of Congo
What the U.S. Can Do for Congo by Zachariah Mampilly 08/17/09
Zachariah Mampilly is an assistant professor of political science and African studies at Vassar College
Congo-Kinshasa: Question and Answers - Dossier for Hillary Clinton's Visit 08/11/09
The latest Human Rights Watch report on the DRC ahead of Clinton’s visit

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1 comment:

Don Thieme said...

Bill - This is going to take me quite a while to read! I do know that the DRC is one of the most mineral-rich areas on Earth, comparable in many ways to Bolivia in South America. Unfortunately, a resource-based economy tends to impoverish the vast majority of citizens in most nations where it has developed. This is what is called the "resource curse." Let us hope that the emphasis on sustainable development in recent years will alleviate some of these all too common circumstances.