Warning Shot

Lirio Da Fonseca / Reuters

On full alert: Peacekeeping troops are back in East Timor

The near-fatal shooting of East Timor President José Ramos-Horta on Feb. 11 shocked average East Timorese as well as the foreign governments that midwifed the birth of the new nation. Ramos-Horta needed eight liters of blood to stabilize his condition before being airlifted to a hospital in Darwin, Australia, where he is in serious, but stable, condition.

But the shootout in the capital Dili should not have been such a surprise. When most multinational peacekeepers flew out of Dili in the years after East Timor's formal independence in 2002, the world considered the country...