U.S. Seen Returning to Big Haiti Role

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The Obama administration says it doesn't seek a return of a long-term American presence in Haiti, the poor Caribbean nation the U.S. colonized from 1914 to 1934.

But as the nation's death toll and governance challenges mount in the wake of Tuesday's earthquake, many Latin America specialists and leaders said the lone superpower across the sea will have little choice but to play an extended administrative role in Port-au-Prince.

Already, U.S. naval and air power are proving the only tools capable of bringing order to a decimated Haitian capital in a country long known for vigilantism and political disorder. Much of the Haitian government's infrastructure is destroyed and many of its leaders are missing.

An extended U.S. mission in Haiti would tax U.S. coffers and military capabilities already stretched by the Pentagon's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Mr. Obama has also committed the U.S. in recent weeks to ambitious new stabilization campaigns for Yemen and Pakistan in a bid to curb mounting al Qaeda terrorism threats....
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