December 13 2013
photo by Reuters/Sam Phelps
This commentary appeared on U.S. News & World Report on December 12, 2013.
The coincidence of the passing of Nelson Mandela last week with France's decision to intervene in the Central African Republic highlights a number of inconvenient truths about Africa and the role of the international community in its affairs.
First, with good leaders — of which Mandela was a paragon — all too rare, many African countries have suffered under rulers who have been little more than looters intent on enriching themselves along with their immediate families and tribes at the expense of everyone else. Much of the Central African Republic's present agony can be explained by the fact that the best of its rulers have been no better than the continent's dismal mean, including former President François Bozizé, whose ouster last year set the immediate stage for the current crisis.