Friday, February 17, 2006

Darfur and Peacekeepers

Even people who typically dislike President Bush, like Nicholas Kristof, have grudingly tipped their hats to him on the issue of Darfur. Now, Bush seems to have stepped up to the plate in a big way, saying that twice the numbers of peacekeepers currently in Darfur will be needed to protect the people there, and the NATO should take a lead role. Things are still a long way from actually happening, but at least the talk is moving in the right direction.


stefan moluf said...

I was just reading more about this, do you think the President is hesitant to commit U.S. troops because they would be working against the Arab government in Sudan? Would it be easier if it were the native African oppressing the Arabs?

Seth Weinberger said...

Mr. Moluf:

No, I don't think the hesitancy is due to a need to assuage the Arabs or from fear of offending them. I believe the answer is, plain and simple: Sudan and Darfur don't really figure into US national interest, just like Somalia and Rwanda did not. Intervening in a situation where national interest is low, as in Somalia, is a recipe for disaster. It takes lots of precious political capital to convince a nation that its soldiers should die and its treasure expended for something not seen as important to the national interest. This is why despite pessimism on the course of the war in Iraq, Americans still, in general, think that it is worth fighting: They see it, and Bush has made the case, that it is in our national interest to fight there. Such a case is much harder to make in Sudan.