Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The AU Has Chosen Wisely...For Now

Following up on yesterday's post, the AU has decided to select Congo to its presidency, rather than following tradition by giving the position to Sudan. However, the agreement stipulates that Sudan will assume the presidency next year. The hope in the AU is that this will give sufficient time to finalize a peace deal with Sudanese rebels in the south and Darfur, who may have backed out of talks if Sudan had become AU president.

We can only hope that this deal is an example of the classic IR tactic of kicking the can down the road. That is, when a difficult problem presents itself, accept the easiest solution for the time being, leaving the essence of the problem itself to be resolved at a later date. The problem itself is how the AU envisions itself and its role on the African continent. I really hope that it eschews the UN model and makes itself a meaningful force for democracy and human rights.

2 comments:

Antiquated Tory said...

But do you truly believe that a majority of AU governments are interested in democracy and human rights, as opposed to the more immediate and pragmatic matters of stability and conflict resolution?

Seth Weinberger said...

No, of course not. But the institution of the AU may have a different function/purpose than do the member states. But, even if the priorities are "immediate and pragmatic matters of stability and conflict resolution" that still requires taking sides, favoring one party over another, and picking winners. Either way, if the AU wants to be relevant in any way, it will need to drop the pretense of sovereign equality and adopt standards, rules, and norms of acceptable behavior.