The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before

June 17, 2008

UN humanitarian co-ordinator Marc Bowden says that Somalia is in the grips of a worsening food crisis.

Somalia faces a worse situation than Darfur, Mr Bowden says.

Contributing to the crisis are fighting between rival militias, successive droughts, sharply rising food prices and a collapse of the Somali currency.

Mr Bowden says that during the course of the next three months the number of people needing emergency food relief will climb by about one million from the current 2.5m.

Aid agencies trying to get food into Somalia face extreme difficulties.

The task is made more difficult because fighting and violence has displaced a million Somalis from their homes.

Mark Bowden says Somalia has become one of the world’s most challenging humanitarian crises.

Somalia’s recent history is, indeed, a sorry one: political collapse in the wake of the Cold War, a botched humanitarian intervention, Islamicist forces bringing harsh rule and some stability in the south–but also a new stage of civil war, US-backed Ethiopian intervention, and now a complete breakdown in food supplies and distribution.

Some consider Somalia a critical front in the “war on terror,” but I doubt that’s enough, in the shadow of 1992-1993, to motivate concerted action by the international community.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.