May 7, 2006

Assuming Good Faith

George Bush and the United States have done more than anyone to stop the killing in the Sudan, and should be accorded their successes so far, but there are reasons for skepticism that the peace deal in Darfur will hold. From the OpinionJournal op-ed:

It sounds promising, and if it sticks it will be a diplomatic triumph for the Bush Administration, which has so far provided $1 billion in humanitarian aid to the region and which sent Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick to help arrange the deal.

But we have seen Sudanese governments violate too many previous agreements to place too much stock in this one. Between 1983 and 2005, Khartoum killed as many as two million people (and enslaved hundreds of thousands) in its war against the black Christians of southern Sudan. That war itself began when Khartoum violated the 1972 Addis Ababa Accords, which had ended a previous civil war, in a bid to Islamicize the south....

...A larger problem is the unwillingness of the international community to treat Sudan as the outlaw state it is...the Darfur crisis is a reminder that the very institutions that, prior to the Iraq war, were said to be the only legitimate arbiters of international intervention turn out to be the least helpful when intervention is most needed....

...This leaves the United States, the only country in the world with the capability and, potentially, the will to aid Darfuris and every other group threatened with genocide or brutal oppression. President Bush has certainly been engaged with the crisis in Darfur, more so than any of his alleged moral betters in places such as France and Sweden. Yet having endured so much opprobrium and resistance to his last two acts of international hygiene--the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq--it's no wonder he's reluctant to carry another burden, particularly when American interests are not directly at stake.

There's a lesson here for all of those liberal internationalists who now demand the Administration "do something" in Darfur: If you want to stop genocide, don't shackle the world's only policeman.

Posted by dan at May 7, 2006 1:25 PM