As Biden seeks to assemble an international intervention, learning from the past is key.
Haiti is falling apart. The people of Haiti are living under a reign of terror imposed by armed gangs who have a stranglehold over the economy. The country is stalked by disease and the prospect of widespread starvation. With the Haitian state almost completely incapacitated, a growing number of desperate Haitians are trying to reach the United States and there is potential for a mass exodus by sea in the direction of Florida. In response, the Biden administration is stepping up interdiction efforts by the Coast Guard while also moving to try to put together an international force to intervene in Haiti at the request of the country’s embattled interim prime minister.
Prospects for an international rescue mission, however, currently appear dim. There is serious opposition to international intervention within Haiti, and U.S. unwillingness to participate in the force risks its viability. Although becoming more urgently needed by the day, an intervention could be stillborn unless the administration revises its current approach in several key areas. Otherwise, the deteriorating situation could confront Washington with even worse choices and the likelihood of having to shoulder the burden alone.