Sunday, February 27, 2005

More on Darfur

David Schraub, who has the good fortunte to attend the school I once labelled as my ideal job, raises a few issues on my Darfur post to which I want to respond. First, I don't think placing the primary responsibility for regional actors weakens what I'm trying to say. For one thing, I wouldn't want to articulate a principle that makes the United States responsible for intervening in these sorts of conflicts in ways that could ultimately detract from our ability to defend our own immediate national interests. In the back of my mind is the fact our military is currently bogged down in Iraq, so I guess you could call this the "Iraq syndrome" - a fear of open-ended commitment with our limited resources. In almost every case, there are others who can become involved, as the AU is willing to do in Darfur, and in these cases we should let them.

Secondly, the Bush administration's response may not have been effective, but it has at least been a response. The U.S. has been pushing this in the Security Council, even if the main hold-up seems to be our stark terror of the International Criminal Court (or, if you will, the rest of the world's insistence on using it). In addition, the Bush administration was involved in the peace agreement in southern Sudan. This is not a small accomplishment. However, Schraub's point that if we can call something "genocide" and still do nothing we might be worse off than before is well taken.

Thirdly, while I most certainly have no connections to Howard Dean or any of his projects, and did not even endorse the guy until December 2003, Dean did write this on the subject:
"However, I have also said that the U.N. bears a portion of the blame for the Iraq war. The U.N. did not understand that sometimes action is necessary and talk is not enough. There is often too much dithering in the European Union and at the U.N. when action is needed. The shameful reluctance of the European Union to intervene forcefully in Bosnia in order to stop genocide is one such instance. The ultimate failure of the entire world community, including the United States, to stop the massacres in Rwanda is another example.

"The U.N. does not seem to learn very fast."


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