President Obama determined that it is once again in the national interest of the United States to waive a provision of a law against aiding regimes that use child soldiers to provide non-lethal assistance and peace-keeping support to several African countries.
By law, the president has to notify Congress that he is waiving the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 within 45 days of making the decision. Obama's press team published the presidential determination on Monday afternoon, with Congress on the eve of a government shutdown.
The Child Soldiers Prevention Act waiver applies fully to Chad, South Sudan and Yemen. Congo and Somalia received partial waivers.
Obama first waived the provision in 2010. Samantha Power, then the National Security Council senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights, promised "at the time that the waivers would not become a recurring event," as The Cable recalled.
"Our judgment was: Brand them, name them, shame them, and then try to leverage assistance in a fashion to make this work," Power said. "Our judgment is we'll work from inside the tent."
Power is now the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Here's the text of the presidential determination:
Pursuant to section 404 of the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 (CSPA) (title IV, Public Law 110-457), I hereby determine that it is in the national interest of the United States to waive the application of the prohibition in section 404(a) of the CSPA with respect to Chad, South Sudan, and Yemen; to waive in part the application of the prohibition in section 404(a) of the CSPA with respect to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to allow for continued provision of International Military Education and Training (IMET) and nonlethal Excess Defense Articles, and the issuance of licenses for direct commercial sales of nonlethal defense articles; and to waive in part the application of the prohibition in section 404(a) of the CSPA with respect to Somalia to allow for the issuance of licenses for direct commercial sales of nonlethal defense articles, provision of IMET, and continued provision of assistance under the Peacekeeping Operations authority for logistical support and troop stipends. I hereby waive such provisions accordingly. You are authorized and directed to submit this determination to the Congress, along with the accompanying Memorandum of Justification, and to publish the determination in the Federal Register.