Thursday, September 02, 2004

Actually, you were more accurate in your blog post (the more recent one, not the one where you called me an idiot); my acknowledgement that the AU is the key to a solution comes much more from a practical and pragmatic reading of what's politically possible right now than it does from either a) any real confidence that engagement by the AU is going to be adequate to the task or b) any real concern that Western imperial powers are chomping at the bit to intervene in Darfur. I can only WISH that were the case.

There's no contradiction between my posts. My problem with Hallward's piece has nothing to do with his advocacy of an AU solution, nor with his accurate account of the historical origins of the crisis that he gives in the first four paragraphs. It's with his ridiculous presumption that the U.S. is somehow anxious to intervene in the crisis:

"But Bush's opportunity to adopt an election-season cause that can appeal, simultaneously, to fundamentalist Christians, the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, multilateralist liberals and the altruistic "left" may now be too tempting to pass up."

This isn't exactly crackerjack political analysis of the domestic American scene. Bush isn't going to put a single U.S. troop on Sudanese soil, and he's not going to suffer for it in this election one bit. American NON-involvement and disinterest in African affairs is the rule rather than the exception, and when it comes to large-scale ethnic cleansing and atrocity I tend to think that's a bad thing, not a good one.

Sam Rosenfeld
The American Prospect


No problem with the delay, I don't expect responses, especially from Tapped.

You're right, I was sloppy. It's absurd to think Bush wants to do anything for Darfur.
The paragraph you quote is delusional. But I skipped right over it in favor of what interested me (always a mistake).
Let me pick and choose, more carefully this time:

"Most importantly, we should learn to approach conflicts like the wars in Sudan in terms of actors and principle rather than victims and confusion. Where they exist, we should lend direct political support to movements working for justice and equality."

The right may be in favor of tough love -or no love at all- but liberals often prefer a short memory, superiority and pity. I read Hallward's argument as a criticism of that, from the left, And I agree with him.

It's not only that it is now practical to push for an AU response; it should be as much a principle as the preference for UN as opposed to American leadership. Practically, Bush's war policies have given support to Putin in Chechnya, as many were worried that they would do for India. Europe has to deal with a large Islamic population that is already distrustful. Neither the US nor Europe can lead on this issue without appearing to be self-interested, and it makes no sense to argue otherwise. Bush has no interest in Darfur and liberals should understand that by his actions in Iraq [and Afghanistan] he has made it impossible for us even to try. At the same time they should understand the problematic nature of such leadership even under the best circumstances.

Thanks for the response. I'm often rude, and I'm rarely in the mood to apologize.
That being the case, I should be more careful.

S.R. replies that we are "in general agreement."
Still I don't think I'll be getting the call from The Prospect anytime soon.

This will explain things.

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