The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Mogadishu on the Mend

Here’s something you don’t see every day: Good news from Somalia.

Mogadishu is on the mend and is pulling itself out of the chaos and anarchy that have gripped it for decades. The NYT has the story:

In the past several months, Mogadishu has made a notable turnaround, making such a high-level visit possible. A city that once echoed with gunfire and was haunted by emaciated, hollow-eyed famine victims trudging through its streets is now returning to life with new hotels, new cafes and even a dry cleaner.

This comes with a related but lesser bit of good news: On Sunday Wendy Sherman, the fourth highest ranking State Department official, traveled to Mogadishu to meet with Somalia’s newly elected president. Sherman thus became the highest ranking U.S. official to step foot in Somalia in 20 years, imbuing with special symbolism what might otherwise have been a humdrum visit.

Somalia isn’t out of the woods by any means, but it’s good to see one small truth confirmed: that nobody likes living under the rule of the violent nutjobs whose bigotry and ignorance opened the floodgates to terrorism. Indeed the lion’s share of the credit for the positive developments in Somalia should go to Somalis themselves.

The Obama administration also deserves some share of praise. In working with the Ugandans and other African peacekeeping forces to begin the normalization of Somalia, it is helping to make sure the U.S. military doesn’t have to step in.

Published on November 7, 2012 1:34 pm