The seventh anniversary of South Sudan's independence is, at best, a bittersweet occasion. Seldom has a country come into being with such promise and good will. Alas, it did not take long for things to fall apart as the new country's leaders put personal ambition above all else. The result has been a brutal conflict that continues today, leaving, out of a population of approximately 13 million, 2.5 million refugees in neighboring countries, 1.9 million internally displaced, and 7 million requiring humanitarian assistance, including 5.3 million in need of food assistance. The much-ballyhooed recent "permanent ceasefire" between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and on-again-off-again Vice President Riek Machar lasted all of six hours before the attacks began again.
Consequently, the Trump administration needs to take the comprehensive review of aid to South Sudan which it announced in May one step further, to its logical segue: a reconsideration of US recognition of the Kiir regime. A reckoning is overdue for both Kiir and Machar, the two most responsible for turning the dreams of millions of South Sudanese into an ongoing nightmare.