The Plank

Obamamania in Guinea

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An interesting article from the NYT's Adam Nossiter on how, with Obama now in the White House, the Guinean junta is wary of getting on the wrong side of the U.S.:

When William Fitzgerald, deputy assistant secretary of state, delivered an unusual personal dressing-down to the junta leader, Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara, the reaction was not sputtering rage, as it had been after tough words from the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner. Instead, the volatile officer listened with apparent calm. He kept the American envoy an hour beyond the appointed 60-minute meeting, while repeating his justifications for the massacre and asserting his lack of responsibility.

[cut]

Mr. Fitzgerald’s message to the captain was that the United States held him responsible for the killings, that he was becoming a “pariah” and that he should not run in coming elections.

But the officer, though visibly ill at ease, only rapped the table a few times, according to people who were there.

That's all well and good, I suppose, but won't the real test of U.S. influence be when Camara's forces actually change their behavior and stop massacring civilians and raping women? Getting a polite hearing from a despot doesn't really seem to be worth all that much.

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