that a nascient revolt in the impoverished country is beginning to spread. French Foreign Minister Dominique De Villepin — remember him? — remarks, "We have the capacity to intervene and... many friendly
countries are ready to do so."
Politically, Haiti is a no-win situation for President Bush, kind of like steel tariffs. If unrest gets out of hand, as it often does, there's a flood of refugees. Since they're not Cuban, they get sent home, even if they make it. Which is racist of course.
So one solution is to send in U.S. peacekeeping forces (for the umpteenth time) and restore/install/invent a puppet government (ditto) which might keep the place roughly orderly but still wretchedly poor for a few more years. Rinse, lather, repeat.
That option has problems, too. U.S. forces are over-extended, and who wants to tell Middle America that Johnny won't be marching home for the 2004 Election?
France could intervene, perhaps under the U.N. banner with some forces from "friendly countries," as De Villepin says. That, too, could generate an interesting political dynamic, as non-U.S. forces bail the U.S. out of a humanitarian crisis in "our" hemisphere. Assuming the intervention is timely. Big assumption. Regardless, the U.S. will have to suck up to the French — Bush doesn't exactly have a lot of options if the French say "Hmmmm... Maybe we'll head over there tomorrow" as the crisis develops.
But it's all Clinton's fault, right?