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Brownback’s save-Sudan plan: a traveling basketball team

Seems like everyone has their own idea about how to solve the crisis in South Sudan and get more international attention for the people suffering there. What’s Kansas Senator Sam Brownback‘s plan? Have them send a basketball team to the United States. Seriously. In today’s Senate Appropriations Committee hearing with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ...

573035_100224_manutbol2002.jpg
573035_100224_manutbol2002.jpg

Seems like everyone has their own idea about how to solve the crisis in South Sudan and get more international attention for the people suffering there. What's Kansas Senator Sam Brownback's plan? Have them send a basketball team to the United States.

Seriously.

In today's Senate Appropriations Committee hearing with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Brownback lamented that representatives of South Sudan's government can't get attention or publicity in the United States, let alone a meeting with President Obama.

Seems like everyone has their own idea about how to solve the crisis in South Sudan and get more international attention for the people suffering there. What’s Kansas Senator Sam Brownback‘s plan? Have them send a basketball team to the United States.

Seriously.

In today’s Senate Appropriations Committee hearing with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Brownback lamented that representatives of South Sudan’s government can’t get attention or publicity in the United States, let alone a meeting with President Obama.

“I even urged them, I’ve said, ‘Why don’t you get a basketball team together and start traveling America with the southern Sudanese?’ It’s Dinka tribe-dominated — and they’re very tall,” Brownback explained.

“They’ve got 10 guys over 7 feet tall playing basketball in southern Sudan. So I’m saying just show up. You may get beat by 40 points, but everybody is going to say, ‘Where did these guys come from?'”

Clinton responded to Brownback with a non-committal “Mm-hmm,” and confirmed that yes, the Dinka tribesman of southern Sudan are in fact “very tall.”

PICTURED: retired NBA center Manute Bol, the son of a Dinka chief and a very tall man

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin

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