Look, everything I know about Liberia comes from Fielding’s The World’s Most Dangerous Places and what was obviously a re-cast tombstone commemorating the first president of Liberia in his home town of Petersburg, Virginia, USA. I’m starting the thread because as best I can tell nobody else has done it yet, and it’s important.
Liberia was the creation of the United States. It has the distinction of being the only nation in Africa which was not colonized by white people.
Because it was colonized by the black people that white America didn’t want.
Its capital is named after America’s fifth President, James Monroe. Its original constitution was based upon the American one. Most of its leaders have been the descendents of repatriated American slaves, including its current, teetering leader, Charles Taylor. I think Taylor’s still opposed by warlord Roosevelt Johnson, (who by one specific set of criteria is two or even three times more qualified to be President) and his henchman, General Butt Naked, although the current rebels call themselves LURD, and I don’t know if they’re related.
The warriors of both sides are known to fight in wigs, or dresses, or halloween costumes, for reasons of fashion and to make the fighters invincible to bullets.
Today, five percent of the population are descendents of American slaves; twenty percent speaks some variant of English. And it appears as if the country is descending into anarchy for at least the third time in the last fifteen years. The impending disaster is compounded by the presence of more than a few refugees from the revolution in neighboring Sierra Leone. Charles Taylor has been implicated in the troubles in that country, too.
Liberia is FUBAR. Hell, it would be comedy were it not for the reputed murder, rape, looting, mutilation, and cannibalism that accompanies the sometimes nude teenagers with automatic weapons.
The last American intervention into the situation that I know about was in 1994, when we sent Marines in to evacuate its citizens from the embassy in Monrovia. Unless you believe that the US recently attempted to bribe Ghana into arresting Taylor.
I’m asking this question to learn more about and to monitor the situation there. But more importantly, does America have a “special interest” in Liberia, as France does in Rwanda and Brundi? What role should the United States play in restoring Liberia to a modicum of stability? They have diamonds, you know.
And perhaps most importantly, how does Liberia compare to other nations we are in the process of “establishing”? Is there anything we can learn from this situation and apply to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Whoever is Next on the List?
I thank you for your responses.