>Sometimes, money really should come with strings attached.
JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN -- There are two main views of what kind of nation the world's newest country is becoming. The divide reveals much both about the place in question, South Sudan, and about the way the world relates to Africa in general.
Without strong, even fervent support from certain quarters in the West, this long-suffering country clearly would never have attained independence. Yet the question now is whether that support, driven in part by the longstanding struggle between the West and Arabism in this part of Africa, has become a millstone around the new country's neck. The enthusiasm of South Sudan's foreign backers and especially those in Washington may have caused them to turn a blind or at least excessively indulgent eye to grave political problems that could doom South Sudan to the lasting curse of failed nationhood.
President Salva Kiir himself recently revealed that the country's political leadership had stolen $4 billion in funds that should have been used to create social goods like schools, clinics, and roads. The response from donors has been oddly muted, even though Western sources who have worked with the government have told me this latest scandal may merely be the tip of the iceberg: it came to light, they say, not because of moral outrage from the president, but because of the state's crushing need for money. Yet last week, just days after this news broke, Hillary Clinton herself called South Sudan a success.