In contrast with support for Africa, when Russian troops went into Ukraine with intentions to annex the country’s Crimea region—the international community reacted promptly. The United States and the European Union immediately condemned Russia and moved quickly to implement financial sanctions on Putin and other top Russian officials. In addition, the United States and the European Union took steps to authorize billions in financial aid packages to stabilize Ukraine’s new government. This reaction is much different than support traditionally offered when African nations are in conflict.

When mass-killings began in Sudan and in Darfur there was not an outpouring of immediate international support. The United States and other western nations failed to intervene in time to save countless lives.

Ukraine’s turmoil has jolted the international community into action with pledges of both military and financial support to the country. In the past, it seems the international community acts more quickly to help European countries in distress. For example, in 1998 the western nation led North Atlantic Treaty Organization came to the military aid of Kosovo after the nation engaged in conflict with Yugoslavia. The United States and other nations also came to the strong defense of Kuwait when former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein attacked that nation.

Because of our military strength and reputation as a world leader, the United States has a unique ability to defend human rights and prevent war crimes. When horrible acts of violence, like those in Rwanda and Sudan occur the United States should not ignore them. Right now in Africa there are ongoing conflicts that could once again deteriorate into genocide—particularly in the Congo and again in Rwanda and Sudan. The international community should treat these African nations like we have treated Ukraine and come to their aid to prevent more deaths and chaos.

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