the Disillusioned kid: Rapid Reaction Blogging
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Friday, October 08, 2004

Rapid Reaction Blogging

From today's Guardian:
Tony Blair yesterday proposed a 15,000-strong European Union battle force, including British troops, dedicated to intervening in African conflicts and deployable within 10 days of a political instruction. He said the force should be ready next year.


The EU brigade, capable of more rapid deployment than any other multinational force, would intervene with the sanction of the African Union or the UN. The intention is that it would hold the line until an AU or UN force could be assembled.


Explaining his plan for EU battle groups dedicated to the continent, [Blair] said: "There will be times when Africa cannot stop a conflict on its own. Then the rest of the international community must be there to help. That is why I want Africa to be the top priority for the EU's new rapidly deployable battle groups and to get them operational initially as soon as possible in 2005."
Got that? Those dumb Africans are obviously incapable of sorting out their own problems and are therefore reliant on our selfless benevolence. White man's burden anyone? Fortunately not everyone buys into this neo-colonial nonsense:
Donald Anderson, Labour chairman of the Commons foreign affairs select committee, said in Morocco, where he will attend today's opening of parliament: "There are dangers because of the fear of raising old colonial hackles again. The best thing we can do is not to intervene as Europeans but to help train African Union forces to take the lead themselves."
Not only would this very likely cost a fraction of the amount of Blair's plan (which to be fair also includes some training of AU forces), it is also more likely to be successful. Of course, its major flaw is that it would leave European powers less able to exert influence in a continent of increasing strategic importance.

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