"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

10.02.2006

darfur update

The situation in Darfur continues to worsen, and our diplomats have already wasted enough time that it's very unlikely most Darfurians will be saved at this point. That said, there's an interesting proposal in today's Post, written by one Africanist for whom I don't have much respect and another who is my former employer. Go fig.

Going into Sudan without Khartoum's permission is the only viable option for stopping the genocide at this point. What I don't understand is the why that the authors, who recognize that China's interests interests in Sudan tie the UN's hands in many ways, don't acknowledge that China is likely to have very strong objections to UN-backed NATO airstrikes in Sudan. Maybe I'm wrong. But these concerns were not an issue in Kosovo with respect to Russia in the same way that they are for China in Sudan. If Beijing perceives that NATO-backed airstrikes are a threat to their interests in Khartoum, that could be enough of a geopolitical concern to prevent the UN, NATO, and the United States from taking action.

Maybe they can find a way to give China assurances that its access to the Sudanese oil supply won't be blocked. (How they would do that if the Port of Sudan is blockaded is completely unclear.) But I seriously doubt there's a way to do this without setting off major international tensions. Is the United States willing to have an argument with China over 300,000 Africans? I don't want to know the answer to that question.

I don't imagine the Diplomat is getting much sleep these days. Hang in there, darlin'.

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