Don't Lose Hope

1. DON'T LOSE HOPE. Examples such as Sierra Leone and Liberia demonstrate that there are solutions to seemingly intractable problems. This is indeed true for Darfur and for Congo.

2. RPOMOTE DEMOCRACY in all its forms. Elections are scheduled for Sudan for 2009 and should be vigorously promoted, including through support to Darfurian civil society and political organizations. Congo had an historic election in 2006, but democracy is not just one vote. It is a process of institution-building that results in a functioning state that can deliver services and security for its people. If the U.S. wants to combat anarchy and extremism, that is where it should invest.

3. STEP UP PEACE EFFORTS. In most of the cases I’ve cited, negotiations played a key role in ending the suffering. Everyone knows the U.S. has the largest army in the world. What many don’t know is that it also has the largest diplomatic service in the world, and the next administration must revalue and reinflate the importance of the foreign service. The U.S. can lead from behind in both Sudan and Congo in constructing peace processes that can bring an end to destructive wars.

4. PROTECT CIVILIANS. While peace is being made and democratic transformations are being seeded, African Union and United Nations troops in Sudan and Congo should focus their resources on protecting people, or else the death rates will continue to mount.

5. DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY. Though it will be a controversial and complicated path, there must begin to be justice for the horrific atrocities that have made Sudan and Congo two of the deadliest places on earth during this past century. The Interna­tional Criminal Court is a fundamentally important institution and requires our support. —JP

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