ETHIOPIA HAS DONE its fellow Africans a good turn by ousting the increasingly radical Islamic Courts Union regime in Somalia. And thankfully, Addis Ababa has the wisdom to admit what everyone knows: that the Ethiopians have about 3.3 nanoseconds to get their troops out of xenophobic Somalia before they will be even more hated than the thugs they ousted. Now the question is: Who can bring order to this anarchic land?
The only move as foolish as sending U.S. troops to occupy Somalia would be for the international community to do nothing except watch it slip back into chaos. Somalia, you will recall, is a poster child for failed states. It is a place so violent that the Taliban imitators of the Islamic Courts, with their brutal "justice," were still seen as vastly preferable to the khat-fueled warlord gunplay that made a misery of life in Mogadishu for more than a decade previous. The irony is that the perpetually feuding Somali clans were finally able to unite behind the Islamists -- even though most disliked their ideology -- because they were so desperate for stability. The challenge is to provide order without a radical Islamist face.
Now that Ethiopia has done the heavy military lifting, U.S. forces are trying to bomb the Al Qaeda leaders who have followed Osama bin Laden's orders to regroup in Somalia. But unilateral fly-by interventions from 30,000 feet are not going to do the job alone.