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Friday, June 03, 2005



Earlier this year, one of my oldest friends came to D.C. with her college's chapter of Amnesty International for a conference on Dafur. Two days of workshops and lectures in the labyrinthine basements of the Holocaust Museum. (Then, when she finally gets an evening off, she drags me to see “Hotel Rowanda.” I'm trying to get her help.) My point of course is that while Dafur is only just beginning to enter the public conciousness, it's been on the agenda of those rare creatures, the liberal foreign policy wonks, for quite some time.

For the best writing on the subject, check out Democracy Arsenal, here. The authors are a collection of liberal FP wonks, mostly from think tanks and beltway firms; several former Clinton appointees, including his foreign policy speechwriter and a deputy ambassador to the UN. The blog has no less than six entries on Dafur in the last week.

Right now, the concensus seems to be that what's needed in the Dafur is NATO involvement.
The Darfur mission is highlighting the AU's weaknesses in terms of capabilities, equipment and funding. The most obvious short-term solution is a hefty NATO backstop to an AU force, likely going beyond the logistics, transport and training they are providing today to include actual troops in country (over the long-term, we ought to be thinking about measures like those outlined here, including a long-term investment in developing capable military leadership for a standing AU force). This is what Derek, Madeleine Albright and others have been urging. A large amount of U.S. energy has been expended over the last decade in sustaining and expanding NATO in preparation for a post-Cold War role. With Europe chaotic but essential secure and peaceful, right now its hard to imagine a better use of the capabilities amassed than Darfur. It's also a chance for the many European countries that are not entangled in Iraq to share some of the burden of keeping the global peace, something they profess willingness to do. Building consensus for a robust NATO mission won't be easy, but the U.S. is obligated to try.
But putting troops on the ground in Dafur—AU, UN, or NATO—is not going to resolve the central issue. Dafur is part of a larger problem. I'm not just talking about the Sudanese Civil War, which has been rolling damn near longer than I've been alive. I'm talking about Rwanda, where Hutu and Tutsi kill each other over what is literally school-yard name calling. I'm talking about hospitals that do not have clean bandages and pencillin, let alone treatment for Ebola Ziere. I'm talking about Robert Mugabe, who is quite possibly the single worst human being alive right now. I am talking about thirty million people—30,000,000 people—who will die from AIDS before the decade is out.

The disease, poverty, and violence throughout Africa is the greatest challenge the world faces right now.


Great post. I couldn't agree more. I just hope the world takes action soon.

I've written, briefly, about Mugabe on my site. This entry details some interesting --and tragic-- human rights cases around the world.
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