Sunday, September 18, 2005

Update: Darfur Isn't Getting Better, and We're Not Helping

Nicholas Kristoff writes in today's NYT that the Bush Administration continues to be more hindrance than help in the world's response to the tragedy in Darfur.

[In] effect the United States successfully blocked language in the declaration saying that countries have an "obligation" to respond to genocide. In the end the declaration was diluted to say that "We are prepared to take collective action ... on a case by case basis" to prevent genocide.

Kristoff points out that much of Bush's evangelical base has been moved to action, making his own reluctance difficult to explain on domestic political grounds. I don't know whether that reluctance is driven by concern about overstretching our military, or unwillingness to cede our sovereignty by allowing international bodies to define genocides and thus oblige our military to intercede. But whatever the objections might be to the operational parameters of anti-genocide policy I would have hoped we would be able to at least provide the international community solidarity and strong language. It would have really cost us nothing, and would have provided the type of symbolism that influences the acts of nations.


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