A peace process in 2002 brought many of the rebel groups into government, leading to an election in 2006. The election did succeed in solidifying the rule of Congo’s 35-year-old president Joseph Kabila, who came to power following the suspicious death of his father, Laurent Kabila, a former rebel leader. But despite some progress, the persistent fighting in the eastern part of the country has never subdued, largely due to a failure by the international community to address the regional sources of instability.
Can the United States play a productive role in bringing peace to the region? I am willing to say yes, but only if the Obama administration is brave enough to move away from the disastrous tendencies that have characterized our engagement with African countries.