Freedom On Fire Chapter Summary

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In the 1890s Germans arrived in Rwanda to find a nation-state with an army and centralized administration. Kigeri IV Rwanbugiri was the king at this current time and had been ruling since the early 1860s. (Prunier 87) The Europeans had predicted that Rwanda would be filled with chaos and small tribes. The Germans and Belgians eventually adopted John Hanning Speke’s Hamitic hypothesis. (Prunier 84) Speke traveled to the region in the 1850s. He theorized that the Tutsi kings were related to Europeans and this was the only explanation for the social and political structure. Before Europeans began colonizing Africa they thought that Africans had no history, culture, or any social structure; they were just people inhabiting an area. Speke believed…show more content…
He has written a book titled Freedom on Fire where in one chapter he discusses why the United States Failed to Act in Rwanda. One of his main reasons is that Somalia had soured the taste for intervening in African countries. After the Somalia debacle, people in Washington began to point fingers at everyone but themselves. Congress blamed the United Nations and the executive branch as well. Shattuck believes that since President Clinton handled the draft issue and the issue of gays in the military poorly the Pentagon was not holding Clinton in high respects. Instead of pulling back from peacekeeping after the Somalia event they should have began to prepare for similar crises in the future and define the criteria for humanitarian intervention. Also support for UN peacekeeping operations was needed. Another reason that Shattuck believes that the United States failed to act was old Cold War ideals. He quotes James Baker, former Secretary of State commenting on the Yugoslavia conflict in 1991, “We have no dog in that fight” (Shattuck 26). This same thinking can be said about Rwanda. The United States was used to dealing with proxy states either affiliated with the Soviets or the Americans. Rwanda did not directly relate to either one of these countries so its importance was low on the totem…show more content…
Graham Allison discusses several policy models as an explanation to how governments make decisions. The rational policy model involves looking at all the options and picking the best one. The probability of success is always evaluated in this model. The decision to do nothing, which is still a decision, would have been the best option for the United States had they been using this model. The organizational process model is also a possible answer when trying to understand the decision that the Untied States made. Different groups such as the army, CIA, and NSA all work separately to obtain information and they all delegate power down the line. All of the different information is sorted out by the different levels which can be inefficient at times since not all the information makes it to the top where the final decision is made. These groups are very conservative and always have a procedure for doing things. When an issue arrives that they are unfamiliar with it can either be ignored if it does not specifically pertain to the country itself or a new operating procedure can be created. When we were attacked by a terrorist group on 9/11 there was no standard operating procedure that told U.S. government officials what to do next. Since the issue was in public eye and demanded a response, a new doctrine was established. The United States had been dealing with
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