Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sanity in Somalia?

To be truthful I haven't been following the Ethiopian incursion into Somalia terribly closely, but a quote from today's LA Times story caught my eye.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said the country's troops would remain in Somalia for only a matter of days or weeks, not months. He insisted that the international community would need to finish the job of putting Somalia's weak transitional government back on its feet and the (sic) Ethiopia would not allow itself to become bogged down in an Iraq-style occupation.

"We don't believe is it our mission to reconstruct Somalia, militarily, politically or otherwise," Meles said. "What Somalia needs is beyond our capacity now. What Somalia needs now is massive humanitarian assistance. We cannot provide that." [Emphasis mine-CK]

It remains to be seen whether Ethiopia's determination to be strictly short termers remains intact given future events as yet unknown, especially given the last two paragraphs of the story:

Though Meles stressed that the future security of Somalia will be left to the transitional government, he vowed to restore stability in the capital.

"We will not let Mogadishu burn," he said.

It strikes me, though, that Ethiopia's recognition that it can't rebuild Somalia by itself strikes me as a rather sane bit of humility, a realistic estimation of the limits of its own power.

Your Caliblogger then wonders whether such humility is even possible for the US.

Does our insane amount of military spending and expertise blind us to the limits of what one nation, however powerful, can do alone?

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