Monday, November 20, 2006


Do something on we can criticize you on it

Darfur is becoming an increasingly visible problem here in the US as it is becoming more and more politically advantageous to come out in favor of some sort of non-specific action there.

(How do I know it’s now politically advantageous? Would you be reading this: Senator Clinton Repeats the Need for Urgent Action on Darfur, if it wasn’t?)

Darfur, like Rwanda before it and Uganda today, is a foreign policy sinkhole – with almost no good alternative staring at us. Today’s Op-Ed in the Washington Post by John Prendergast - So How Come We Haven't Stopped It? – makes this point inadvertently in a piece obviously intended to be critical of the current administration.

“As Darfur descends further into hell, all signs explaining the United States' pathetic response point to one man: Osama bin Laden.”

Mr. Pendergast’s then goes onto outline how this administration’s obsession with Osama has caused it to soft-pedal our response to the Darfur problem. (Meanwhile, from elsewhere on the left, the accusation is that we’re not obsessed enough with Osama)

Fair enough. There’s little doubt that our response to Darfur, as with any international problem, isn’t made in a vacuum. Competing priorities play into what is an appropriate response. And watching from afar, the instinctive response is that we have to do something. But these kinds of pieces all seem to tip-toe around just how far the pundits are willing to go to “do something”.

While the President gets hammered repeatedly for going it alone in Iraq (even though, of course, he didn’t), he is getting hammered here because…he won’t go it alone?

“The United Nations and other groups have accused Sudan's government of arming Arab militiamen known as the Janjaweed to bomb villages and crush the rebels. But [South African President] Mbeki said: "It's critically important that the African continent should deal with these conflict situations on the continent. And that includes Darfur. And therefore, indeed, you will notice that we have not asked for anybody outside of the African continent to deploy troops in Darfur. It's an African responsibility, and we can do it." In Break With U.N., Bush Calls Sudan Killings Genocide

Like John Edwards’ piece a few weeks ago on Uganda, left unsaid here is whether Mr. Pendergast is willing to put U.S. troops in harm’s way in order to restore order in Sudan? Does this then become our M.O. in similar situations? Do we more or less tell Africa we think their response is pathetic (and it is) and try our own way?

I’m guessing these lefties can’t actually come out and say that…which relegates their writings to little more than public displays of piety, adding little to the debate of what to do about Darfur.

Side Note: Mr. Pendergast writes: “Indeed, Washington's constructive engagement with the Sudanese regime is as ineffective and morally bankrupt as the Reagan administration's approach to the apartheid regime in South Africa.”

Reagan and South Africa? You're going to completely skip over the 90's and, I dunno, the Clinton administration’s response to Rwanda?

Well, Mr. Pendergast does note Mr. Clinton’s lament over not doing anything about Rwanda but Mr. Pendergast was also a member of the Clinton Administration so...any more questions?

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