Somalia Case Study

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In addition to the direct failures of the intervention, we can learn a great deal about the American failure through the consequences of Somalia. Domestic politics drives foreign policy, and in the case of Somalia, the domestic backlash sheds light on what was a step in the wrong direction for security as seen through Presidential Decision Directive 25. After the tragedy of the battle of Mogadishu and Black Hawk Down, President Clinton was facing mounting domestic pressure to ‘bring the boys home’. Congress was calling for a withdrawal of American troops, and the public were demanding an explanation for the lives lost in a battle many believed was outside the scope of U.S. interests. Another effect of globalisation was the increased media …show more content…
The National Security Archive points out five ways in which decisions made based on PDD 25 contributed to the slow worldwide response, including the lobbying of the UN for a total withdrawal of UN forces in Rwanda; the failure to authorise the term genocide to be used in public until June; bureaucratic infighting; and the refusal to jam extremist radio broadcasts. It was later revealed by Thomas S. Blanton, director of the National Security Archives, that ‘declassified State Department cables and logs of a task force set up to handle the crisis showed that 80 percent of the discussion in the United States concerned the evacuation of American citizens.’ The importance of failed states, the threat posed by non-state actors and intrastate wars fought along religious, cultural and ethnic lines which characterised the new security paradigm were forgotten; and the lesson from Somalia that the U.S. should avoid intervention in case they end up crossing the Mogadishu line, was the wrong …show more content…
practices. For ‘Training’, the document suggests that the U.S. should establish a program to train professional commanders and military for peace operations. For ‘Peace Negotiations’, the suggestion is to have military ‘on-hand’ at all times. PDD 25 told us two things. Firstly, it put in official writing the notion that the UN was in many ways responsible for the Somalia failure, as we see in the above extract. Secondly, it showed America’s return to a military based, state-centric view of international security, with the suggestions that what was needed was more military training and greater military assistance in future conflicts. The Somalia failure soured U.S.-UN relations, which did not help efforts to come to terms with the new security environment. We see this in PDD 25, and also in Clinton’s public response to the October 3 operation of Black Hawk Down. Clinton blamed the UN for the casualties as a way of saving face arguing that that the UN ‘needed to act more rationally and discontinue missions that were destined for failure and likely to marginalise the organisation.’ In reality, the operation on October 3 was proposed, planned and led by the U.S, and placing the blame on the UN just distanced the nation from the collaborative security system needed for security in the new international order. Clinton sacrificed relations with the UN to save

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