FAKE DARFUR GRANDSTANDING. If you want to understand the how the Bush administration can score political points while taking a minimalist approach to the crisis in Darfur, observe how the press reacts to Ambassador John Bolton�s forthcoming disclosure of the names of four individuals slated for Security Council sanctions. The Security Council will meet in about a half an hour to discuss sanctioning four individuals for their role in the Darfur crisis. By disclosing these names and calling for an open vote on whether they should be sanctioned, Bolton is trying to force Russia and China into going public with their objection to these names. Said Bolton, "These are people who are involved in atrocities and killing people and turning people into refugees."

What Bolton will likely not say is that of those four, only one is a Sudanese government official, and a mid-level official at that. Bolton will likely also not advertise that this list of four was whittled down from a list of eight generated by the UK -- at the institence of the Americans. When the US saw the UK list two weeks ago, they objected to targeting any Sudanese government official for a travel ban or asset freeze. Obviously frustrated by Bolton�s behavior, someone (most likely from the UK mission) leaked this to the press, so Bolton was forced back to the negotiating table. But it seems that the US remained resistant to including any senior Sudanese officials for sanctions, so they settled on one mid-level apparatchik.

To great fanfare this afternoon, Bolton will paint the Chinese and Russians as the real obstructionists here, which to a certain degree they are. But in doing so, he will cover up the shameful reluctance by the Bush administration to hold any senior member of the Sudanese regime accountable for their role in the genocide.

--Mark Leon Goldberg