South Sudan, which has been independent since 2011 and has a population of 11 million, is in the process of dragging the United States and other nations into a trap.
The South Sudanese, led by two tribes, the Dinka and the Nuer, continue to fight each other vigorously. They are doing this instead of managing their resources (in this case, considerable oil wealth), planting crops to feed themselves and seeing to the nation’s well-being in health care, housing, education and infrastructure.
South Sudan’s leaders are now whining that, if the crops aren’t planted many people will fall victim to food insufficiency and malnutrition. In addition, the fighting has caused many South Sudanese to be either displaced inside the country or sent fleeing to neighboring countries.
To add insult to injury, there are, in principle, peace talks underway between the groups in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The hotel bills and other expenses of the delegations are being paid by the international community. The talks have been described by observers as sporadic and generally inconsequential.
A 12,000-member international peacekeeping mission in South Sudan also is attempting to stand between the Dinka and Nuer fighters.
There is no reason why the United States and other nations should feed the South Sudanese, stand between them to try to prevent fighting and watch while they don’t negotiate a peace agreement. The United States alone has provided South Sudan military and other aid amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars. The two groups’ leaders, President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, the vice president he fired, should be told immediately that they won’t get another nickel until they stop fighting and concentrate on delivering good governance to their people.
Further tolerance of this behavior by the United States would be very bad policy and unnecessarily costly as well.