Skip to comments.South Sudan: US Military Aircraft Hit By Rebels
Posted on 12/21/2013 5:47:18 AM PST by ilovesarah2012
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I’ll never forget Patsy Schroeder and Red Ron Dellums hi-fiving when they rammed through funding for it over the objections of the military and Reagan administration.
The story is that they were dispatched to rescue humanitarian workers who were trapped in the war zone. If true, I can't object.
You have hit the proverbial nail on the head re: Africa. Tribal trumps ALL.
There is scant to nil "nationalism" in existence there. Most, if not all groups have historically been nomadic tribes-people. This is their reason for life.
As you suggest - it might as well be a genetic aspect of their existence. This is what determines their allegiance - not some politically shifting 'border' or political group.
To understand Africa this must be understood.
“Large segments have been martyred or escaped to other African nations.”
Actually, large segments of them were brought to the US, like here in San Diego, where they get substantial aid to this day.
It is one of the best purpose built CAS designs ever.
Tribalism is definitely an underlying issue, but religion is directly connected to tribalism in this case. I'm not convinced America has a dog in this fight, but Christians do. A collapse of South Sudan would represent a victory for Islam, showing the Islamic world that even when Christians win a civil war, they can't govern themselves without the dhimmitude of Sharia.
For better or for worse, the South Sudanese are (at least relatively speaking) the “good guys” who spent decades fighting Islamic Jihadists who tried to destroy Sudan's Christian population. They're a mix of conservative Christians and animists who in both cases were subject to horrific genocide by Islamic radicals, along with some Muslims of black ancestry who the predominantly Arab Muslims in the north of Sudan didn't like for a combination of racism and belief they weren't sufficiently Islamist.
Some things are more complicated than they seem at first, and this is an example of a case where the “good guys” are not all wearing white hats. Those who have followed South Sudan for a long time knew that and were afraid something like this would happen.
The reality is that all of central Africa is becoming a Christian/Muslim battlefield. Sadly when the two cultures come in close physical proximity, there is no peace. Somehow the Africans will have to work out a consensus and modus vivendi. American mothers did not raise their sons to die in Africa.
I do understand the difference between bad things happening someplace and an American duty to intervene in that place. We do have a military duty to help get our own American citizens out, but once that's done, South Sudan is probably going to be on its own.
I hate to say it, but the Chinese are probably the best hope the Christian population of South Sudan has right now.
China wants oil, it needs stability in both Sudan and South Sudan to get the local oil, and for China's own reasons (i.e, the Uighurs), China is very concerned about radical Islam and would prefer to see their oil coming from people who have an economic interest in selling oil rather than seeing a tribal and religious war disrupt those oil supplies.
In other words, China does have a direct economic interest and may force a settlement.
But China is not known for respecting any sort of standard of human rights or constitutional government in imposing that settlement. Orderly government and economic progress, not freedom, is what motivates China.
Perhaps the best-case scenario under a forced Chinese settlement would be the Chinese installing some sort of business-oriented technocrat from the black Christian population of South Sudan and giving him the military muscle necessary to run an authoritarian government — and there are a lot worse possibilities for a Chinese-enforced settlement than that.
I was working in Nevada back in the early 90s and saw a couple flying figure 8s. I was astounded at how nimble the planes seemed (and glad they weren’t hunting me).
African wars are brutal beyond anything we’ve dealt with complete with child armies and forced cannibalism.
You make an excellent point about China and how its economic needs direct its foreign policy. It would be a major extension of their power to involve themselves in Africa to the extent you are describing. However their needs are huge and they are building a great navy to project power. Sub Sahara Africa is evolving with a militant Islamic population in much of the North and a largely Christian population in the South. As you point out the resource rich central area where they clash will be contested and the scene of continual bloodshed. If the Chinese establish a harsh peace, it would benefit the less aggressive Christians.
The role of China in Iran is also overlooked.China views Iran as a natural source of energy. It also views its seventy million citizens as a potential huge customer base for its export driven economy. It has absolutely no fear of a nuclear armed Iran, and knows the mullahs are not so foolish as to support China’s radical Muslims. Most importantly China bitterly abhors American political, military and economic intrusions in Asia. It bitterly resents the American imposed sanctions. Americans do not realize how Asians deeply resent foreigners ( read that white Europeans) involving themselves in Asia. The rational for WWII for the Japanese common citizen and most intellectuals was that Asia was humiliated by the British, French, Dutch and Americans not only economically dominating but directly ruling. Japan of course saw itself as Asia’s dominant and natural leader. China now views itself as such. Its inherent anti-American postures and actions in Asia should be viewed in that context.
Whenever they have airshows again the A-10’s make a spectacular demonstration team. Nimble is a great description. They can out turn anything flying.
We are a "Global Force for Good", don'cha know?
The Knockout Game?
You are also absolutely right about how most Westerners barely begin to understand Asian politics and culture. We think in terms of years or at most decades; the Chinese think in terms of centuries or millennia of their historical role in the region.
China's views of international relations are not those of America, or of the former Soviet Union, or of the European colonial powers before the Cold War. On the contrary, they are based on an attitude of Chinese cultural superiority dating back well beyond half a millennium before Chinese relative power began to decline in the 1600s vis-a-vis the West, and quite probably for thousands of years before that.
The simple fact of the matter is that China is one of the world's oldest civilizations. While modern Egypt and modern Syria and modern Iraq and modern India have varying levels of (often distant) connections to their ancient cultures, modern China is unquestionably the heir of a culture which, even in the few cases when it was conquered from outside, absorbed the conquerors rather than being radically changed by them.
To show just how old Chinese civilization is, I often point out that my Italian ancestors were living in caves in what would someday become the Etruscan kingdom predating the rise of the earliest Roman kings before the Roman Republic, and perhaps watching a few passing Phoenician ships whose captains considered the Italian peninsula full of worthless barbarians, at the same time China had large cities and strong central (or at least regional) governments. Even before that, Abraham left Sumeria as a wandering nomad who herded animals in what is now Israel, long before the rise of the Assyrian or Babylonian Empires, during a period that the Chinese already had shipping and trade with other parts of Asia.
Despite five centuries of self-isolation of the Chinese, I think it is obvious that the current Chinese leadership has decided the Chinese have no choice but to participate in the world economy, and that means China must have secure access to natural resources. If China were to decide to intervene anywhere in the near future to secure resources for itself, South Sudan would be the place.
Will China do that? I'm sure it would regard such action as a last step, not a first. But I can't see China tolerating a return to the North-South civil war in Sudan given the amount of time and effort they've spent in trying to get oil out of that part of the world.
This, unfortunately, is probably going to be a situation where we as Americans can't do much beyond watch and wait. We do not have a compelling national interest there.
And if they decide they do, that decision will have region-changing consequences, some of which could actually be good.
But long term, I think we have good reason to be concerned about Chinese intentions. Their power is growing, ours is not, and a decisive demonstration in the Third World of Chinese willingness to take military action could create an entirely new set of problems for the United States.
That is especially true if, post-2016, American power continues to decrease and various Third World nations decide it's easier to work out a commercial deal with the Chinese than to bother with American vacillation and weak presidencies.
I do not believe Americans have even begun to comprehend the amount of damage that President Obama’s perceived international weakness will do by opening the doors for others to act, not necessarily because they want to do so, but rather because they believe we will not.
I'm thinking primarily of Israel and South Korea when I say that — both are already taking actions based on the perception, probably true, that if things get really bad they're pretty much on their own. But China deciding to act outside its traditional sphere of influence in Asia would be a game-changer in many ways, not so much because of the initial action, but rather because of how others would react if China acts and America doesn't.
Perceptions count in world politics. That is especially true in some of the world's bad neighborhoods and trouble spots.
There is no doubt that China has a long cultural history and no doubt their power and influence will grow in the near future. However there are a few things that Western observers often overlook because they are so familiar and not aware of history.Asia for all its resentment of Western cultural, political and economic imperialism has changed radically over the last one hundred and fifty years. Almost all building whether it be residential, commercial or government is now virtually indistinguishable from Western models.Plumbing , air conditioning, materials and the architecture itself is all virtually Western. Economic patterns after first following Euro-socialist models now mimic American style capitalism (albeit the pre-Obama kind). Even their diets are changing to include more animal based proteins and Western styles. Asians have adopted many of the values of the European enlightenment and it is beginning to reflect in the attitudes,behavior and tastes of its people and their leaders.
However what has yet to be seen in the fruits of unique Asian creativity. Where are the new great insights, inventions or even innovations? That creative spark which defines greatness has not yet been demonstrated.