Sunday, February 5, 2012

Romney's Foreign Policy Ahitophels

Ahitophel is the proverbial cynical advisor who comes to mind every time I see all these campaign advisors swarm around the candidates. Milwaukee Journal, a blog on US politics has written several excellent blogposts on the Republican nominating process. For example the article on Iran and the Pentagon. January 30th Shaun Booth puts the spotlight on Romney's foreign policy team which is composed of 23 people that served under Bush. Sofar during this nominating process, the focus has been entirely on Ron Paul's Iran comments. Have Ron Paul's advisors, people like Trygve Olson, been sleeping?
ouldn't it be fair at some point to focus on Mitt Romney's foreign policy and these Ahitophels? Do we really want US foreign policy decided by people like Pierre Prosper? An individual who has troubling close ties to the controversial Rwandan President. It's clear Pierre Prosper is a key player in US foreign policy when we consider that he was recently hired by Amir Mirzaei Hekmati's family. Prosper was Romney's advisor in 2008. 

For obvious reasons Prosper was hired by Kagame in the high profile case against him by the widows of former Presidents of Burundi and Rwanda.  Florence Hartmann, former spokesperson for Carla del Ponte, former prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, has explained how on pressure from the United States (read: Pierre Prosper) the special investigations targeting suspects from the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) were buried forever, sullying the legacy of the ICTR. This controversial cozy relationship between US high-level politicians, like Senator Inhofe, officials at State Department, Jonnie Carson, and Pentagon, like Tom Odom with Paul Kagame's RPF has not gone unnoticed. It was mentioned in an article about Stephen Rapp's visit to Sri Lanka this week. For obvious reaons: the nephew of Sri Lanka's President, Shyamlal Rajapaksa, died in 2009 under suspicious circumstances while investigating RPF crimes. That's why I like Tony Gambino's quote that sums it all up: "During the Cold War, US foreign policy globally had clear priorities. That clear lens, however, disappeared with the end of the Cold War in 1990".

Elizabeth Blackney (@richardgrenell & Elizabeth push #romney on twitter), a (past?) communication strategist for Pierre Prosper, has allready "dropped" Prosper's name as potential Secretary of State on twitter, january 24th:
Mitt's foreign policy team is very, very impressive. My 1st choice for SecState is on that team.
I prefer former War Crimes Ambassador Pierre Prosper off Romney's team. Dear friend, great man, favorite client EVER.
Awww, shucks. Thank you. And Pierre is an amazing man, great diplomat, strategic thinker. Romney was smart to bring aboard.
 She wrote on politico january 24th:
"Romney's foreign policy team includes Rich Williamson and Pierre Prosper, both with tangible records of delivering positive results in America's policy towards Sudan."
And as clockwork Romney attacked Sudan on january 31th, as tweeted by @medializzy and reported by global post:
" Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney today condemned the "slow motion genocide" in Sudan and pledged, if he becomes president, to "protect innocents" in Sudan"
Which she used as a tweet aimed at Florida voters:
 #Romney commits to civilian protection in . When will act to protect "innocents" there?
January 31th Josh Rogin essentially republished this Romney press release on the Foreign Policy website.
Richard Grenell tweeted february second:
just words MT : Outraged that bombed a school run by I condemn this heinous attack
Jon Hutson tweeted:
Must-read in today's : and are being savaged as world shrugs:
Richard Grennell:
US Ambassador Susan Rice did nothing about Rwanda in the 90's while Assistant SecState & now Sudan
January 27th Elizabeth Blackney retweeted Michael Gerson's article advocating Ugandan military adventures inside Congo:
"An American combat mission in this conflict is not contemplated. But the U.S. government should press Congo to readmit Ugandan troops pursuing the LRA. And the U.S. military could aid the UPDF with more advanced air and communications capabilities. A small, final push might remove the LRA’s most capable leaders from the field"
The "Gerson" interventionist narrative leaves out essential parts of the great lakes political puzzle. Note for example that he did not interview Rwanda's opposition party leaders like UDF-Inkingi Alice Muhirwa or mentions Victoire Ingabire in Rwanda. Not once election rigging, the mapping report and assassinations by Rwanda's RPF were mentioned. Is it part of the urban bias in Research on civil wars described by Kalyvas ? It's a fallacy to claim, as Pierre Prosper and Jendayi Frazer do, that supporting strongmen in Africa is in the long term US interest or advances sustainable peace. Their hostility towards Occampo's indictments of Kenyan politicians is part of their strategic foreign policy towards Africa and should be part of any real debate inside the Republican party.

For those who want an alternative and superb read of events in eastern Congo, read  (google translate will help) the article "Killer King of North-Kivu" by Stefano Valentino, John Vandaele en Anneke Verbraeken !

Will Minnesota's caucus and the thriving blogging avant-garde in that part of the US provide an opportunity for a real debate on foreign policy inside the Republican party to finally take off. When endorsing Ron Paul former Minnesota GOP State Chair Chris Georgacas said "he is the only real advocate for freedom, peace, and prosperity". Does this include denouncing the above mentioned cozy relationships with bloodsoaked and undemocratic "leaders" in Ethiopia and Rwanda? I would hope so.

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