Cablegate: Media Reaction: Liberia

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

071811Z Aug 03




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. "Share the burden"
The conservative National Post opined (8/1): "Liberia's
14-year-old civil war may finally be ending. Last
Wednesday, the country's giant neighbour,
Nigeria, agreed to send 1,300 peacekeepers to help end
hostilities.... On Monday, the European Union voiced
support for a multilateral intervention -- but did not
promise funding for it. Also on Monday, Ottawa pledged
$1.75-million in humanitarian assistance to displaced
Liberians. We find it interesting, however, that these
moves came only after George W. Bush's July 4 decision
to send military observers to the war-plagued nation.
Two thousand U.S. Marines and three U.S. naval ships
are now en route to West Africa. This sequence of
events typifies the international community's standard
operating procedure when it comes to humanitarian
emergencies. It waits for the United States to agree to
do the heavy lifting, and then parcels out the less
onerous tasks. But U.S. manpower, capital and political
will have limits. Washington cannot be expected to bear
the burden of intervention during every crisis. What
the world needs is what international relations
theorists call 'burden sharing.' Responsibility for
global public goods - such as international stability,
or the care and feeding of refugees - must be be
carried by a coalition of wealthy, Western states....
Today's burden shirking may exact a high price
tomorrow. Isolationism always has a significant
constituency in the United States. And if ordinary
Americans gets the sense that their country's goodwill
is being exploited by other nations, they will retreat
from trouble spots like sub-Saharan Africa and the
Balkans entirely - emerging only to fight wars that
suit Washington's self-interest. The better strategy is
for Europe and Canada to ante up now, before it's too


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