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Aug 23, 2004




Count on Bush? You gotta be kidding me. Bush ain't gonna do jack about Darfur. American leadership has consistently failed in recent cases of genocide. When Clinton decided to get involved in Bosnia, the less responsible Republicans were asking "What is the American interest in Bosnia?" I don't even want to think about what they would have said about Rwanda. The only guy who should can be praised in Rwanda was Romeo Dallaire, the French-Canadian general on the ground who was incredibly heroic with a 2000-man multi-national force that was equipped with side-arms.

The UN is spineless and ineffective, but we have helped make it that way. Blaming them is like the dog owner who beats his dog mercilessly and then complains that it is a lousy watchdog because it cowers when he comes near it.


you will notice that I studiously avoided anything partisan... but's it's interesting that the first comment is tainted with it.

The fact remains that President Bush called Darfur a "the worst humanitarian tragedy of our time" and Sec of State Powell called it a "humanitarian catastrophe". Both the House and the Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution calling the situation in Darfur genocide. The British are ready to go as well.

Meanwhile, over at the UN the Security Council voted for a resolution, over the objections of the U.S. that it was watered down, limited to "measures" against the Sudanese government and have strictly avoided any reference to genocide or sanctions. Why? Because China and France have big oil interests in Sudan that they wish to protect by ensuring the status quo with regard to the ruling dictatorship in Sudan.

You can debate the politics all you want, but it's not going to change the facts on the ground. The President and the Congress have sent the signal that they are ready for sanctions and UN initiatives in Darfur, while the UN has sent the message that they are comfortable hiding behind the "ethnic cleansing" euphemism in order to NOT take action. All the while, people are dying, and yet-another -African-catastrophe unfolds.

Yeah, the UN should be reformed... no, it should be outright overhauled, but that's not going to happen as long as it takes the UN itself to do it. A big part of the reason why the U.S. has withheld funds for the better part of a decade and a half is that it's the only leverage have to force action. But it's not enough, because despite the unspoken agenda of weakening the notion of the nation-state that many countries see as an effective means to combat the dominance of the U.S. in the world, the fact remains that nations can't shake the drive to assert their nationalism. You want to see this in action just suggest to the French that the Security Council should be overhauled to replace the French seat with an EU seat.


You're quite right. It is genocide. We should stop it. Making the UN work to acomplish our goals is one of the key jobs of a US President. Complaining that the UN has foiled your good intentions again is a sign of failure. (To make a tech world anology, this is like the market dominating competitor in a chip market whining that they've been foiled by the IEEE standards process. If you didn't know winning here was important to your business, you should have quit before you started.) I do hope that Bush's Stiffly Worded Diplomatic Note will take care of this business. Perhaps if we didn't have the bulk of our fighting forces axle-deep in the quicksands of Iraq, we'd be able to do something stronger than sternly disaprove. Standing by and wringing our hands is also a cost of Bush's Iraq decision.


I guess everything comes down to politics in an election year... this election year more than any other, apparently.

You make some good points, however, "making the UN work to accomplish our goals" has hardly been a winning strategy for any president, going back to Kennedy. The is a long precedent of the U.S. leading the charge (we couldn't even get NATO on board for Kosovo until we actually started bombing them). The UN is principally concerned with preserving order in the world, even if it's vile scum like what we have in Sudan, the UN has a pretty poor track record as delivering real change in the world (last time I checked, we still stand between North and South Korea 50 years after firing stopped in that conflict). Besides, the OAS certainly won't denounce a Muslim state, especially when the issue is Muslims murdering and raping non-Muslims, and with the OAS adament about not doing anything in Sudan does anyone really think that the Euro/Palestinian groupies at the UN will do anything?

The U.S. military numbers 1.4 million soldiers, a larger proportion are combat troops considering that much of the administrative and logistics functions have been contracted out. The Army alone have 480,000 active duty combat troops. The total deployment of troops in Iraq is 130,000; I admit that I'm not exact on the number in Afghanistan but it's certainly much lower than Iraq at this point. I realize that this isn't a DNC talking point, but the U.S. military is more than adequately staffed to handle a wide range of simultaneous missions.

In Germany alone the Army has 56,000 soldiers, 2 divisions and 4 combat brigades. The large number of C-130's and medical personnel make it ideal to launch a humanitarian mission. Keep in mind that is takes 20 days to deploy a heavy brigade combat team by sea from Germany to Africa... and that's a combat deployment (tanks, artillery, etc.)! You can move an entire division in 25 days from Germany, and that's 15,000 soldiers. In other words, we can deploy our resources in adequate numbers from our bases.

You can't have it both ways, criticizing the "hand wringing" while waiting for the UN to get off it's ass, and criticism for going without the UN, which is what we did in Kosovo and should have done in Rwanda.

By the way, the world's largest semiconductor company did tell the IEEE to screw themselves, Intel and their initiative on WiMax


Yes, everything is political in an election year. But is Bush not responsible for US foreign policy, including in Sudan? And our success or failure in stoping the genocide there? And yes, going without the UN into Kosovo was right. Going into Rwanda would have been right, so would using our military to stop the genocide in Sudan. I don't object to Bush's invading Iraq, I object to his failure to win there. And if you will cast your mind back to March of last year you may recall that we could have been far more deft in our handling of the UN. Would it have made a difference if instead of Bush backing out of seeking another Security Council resolution France or China had to vetoed such a resolution, which we almost had with Chile's help? Bush's past choices constrain his options here.

On overstretch, see these:,2933,124963,00.html,2933,121550,00.html


you make good points, I won't dither with you on this or that. I suspect we're probably degrees apart, at least close enough that we can debate the issue without the word 'hate' coming into things.

At any rate, my view is that we ought to be a lot more aggressive about Sudan, if anything just because it's the right thing to do.

While we're acknowledging that it's all politics all the time in an election year... at least with the President I can take him to task for tactics, with Kerry I would actually be concerned as to whether or not he'd identify a broad-based terrorist threat (aka "war on terror") and if he did then he would want to outsource the whole thing to the U.N., and as you can imagine, that just scares the shit out of me.


by the way, thanks for taking the time to comment. I really do appreciate it when people who read my blather take the time to share their thoughts.


PD Quig

The events in the Sudan are a tragedy and just the latest reminder of the fatal structural ineffectiveness of the UN. However, we have bigger fish to fry in Iran, North Korea and Syria.

Blaming any president for the despicable show of fecklessness in that brothel on Turtle Bay is total BS. The UN is not fixable: we should form an Organization of World Democracies. Any country could join but only democracies could vote. All participants would be required to contribute a certain percentage of the GDP to defense. The rest of them would have to earn a right to sit at the adult’s table.

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