No Time for Celebration

Praise thus lavished (see the post below), I need to protect my independent, contrarian credentials. So Brad's right that Democracy Arsenal's posts on Sudan seem a smidge unrelated to the issue. While I'm glad we've agreed upon a framework for trying the country's genocidally-inclined, the Janjaweed, the state-sponsored militia doing the genocidal thing, hasn't whipped out the machetes because they figured the the current controversy over how best to prosecute war criminals would let them slip under the radar. They're hacking away because they don't believe any powerful countries -- read the US, Britain or France -- are going to deploy troops and drag them in front of some higher authority. So celebrating our acceptance of the ICC, coming as it is in exactly the context Washington said they'd accept the Court, really doesn't merit much celebration. If we were serious about, well, anything aside from naked self-interest, we would have done something substantive to stop the bloodshed there, rather than spent our time arguing over how completely insulated we'd be from the ICC.

But we didn't. In fact, most people likely believe the area's already quieted down, given the spate of good press Khartoum's received in the past few months. Problem is, they got plaudits for a ceasefire in the North-South conflict, not the genocide going down in the West (it's a real mark of how screwed up a country is when conflicts have enveloped three out of four points on the compass, and the heretofore untouched East is considered likely to follow in Darfur's footsteps), but resolving the former slackened international pressure on the latter.

And that's a crime (or at least should be). Getting Khartoum to pay attention would, at the outset, be no more complicated than freezing the ruling party's assets, banning their travel, and extending the arms embargo. If we needed to go further, we could recognize that the African Union's "protection through presence" scheme is completely ineffective at its current size and needs an injection of 10,000 or so more troops. Of course, the AU (and the UN) are rightfully worried that their ineffective forces will be routed, a la Sierra Leone, and their only hope will then be a bailout, like the one Blair unilaterally conducted the first time. The UN, of course, really can't absorb another show of irrelevancy, so you're unlikely to see them take that risk, or even marshaling support for strong sanctions, and thus the killings will likely continue. Kinda makes you long for the day's when Sudan was merely an R&R destination for weary terrorists, doesn't it?