President Bush on Friday pressed for international action to address a “dire” situation in Darfur region of Sudan where more than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced by fighting.
If Rwanda is any model, Sudan can probably rest easy, at least until the number of dead approaches 800,000 or so.
Countries need “to work with the Sudanese government to enable a peacekeeping force into that country to facilitate aid and save lives,” Bush said after a meeting with South African President Thabo Mbeki. “He shares my concerns that the situation is dire, and now is the time for action,” Bush said. The United States has called the killings there genocide, a charge the Sudanese government has rejected.
I’m not sure how you “work” with a government that says genocide within its borders is all fine and dandy.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has rejected any U.N. troops in Darfur or a proposed hybrid force that includes U.N. and African Union troops. There are already some 7,000 African troops in Darfur but the U.N. Security Council has authorized up to 22,500 troops and police on the condition that Sudan agreed. The African troops are considered underfunded and lacking equipment.
“It’s very urgent, very necessary, and we’ll absolutely do everything to make sure that from the African side we remove any obstacles there might be to such bigger deployment in Darfur,” Mbeki said.
I’m not sure that there is a national interest in intervening in Sudan, and yet what is happening in Darfur is clearly awful, so I don’t have a much better proposal than the administration. But there’s no more pathetic sight than chest-thumping scolding, the equivalent of speaking loudly and carrying no stick. Reminds me of all the instances in US history, written about so beautifully in Kissinger’s _Diplomacy_, when preaching about idealist goals outside the realm of realism weakened the nation.