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Saturday, May 29, 2004

Some good news from Sudan

Nicholas Kristof writes about some good news in the Sudan Civil war.

Sudanese peasants will be naming their sons "George Bush" because he scored a humanitarian victory this week that could be a momentous event around the globe — although almost nobody noticed. It was Bush administration diplomacy that led to an accord to end a 20-year civil war between Sudan's north and south after two million deaths.
This is great news and I hope the peace holds out. But as Kristof goes on to point out more needs to be done.
But there's a larger lesson here as well: messy African wars are not insoluble, and Western pressure can help save the day. So it's all the more shameful that the world is failing to exert pressure on Sudan to halt genocide in its Darfur region. Darfur is unaffected by the new peace accords.
Read his description of the situation in this part of the Sudan. It is chilling stuff. Kristof believes that if United States applies sufficient diplomatic pressure this genocide can be stopped.
But it's not a question of sending troops, but of applying pressure — the same kind that succeeded in getting Sudan to the north-south peace agreement. If Mr. Bush would step up to the cameras and denounce this genocide, if he would send Colin Powell to the Chad-Sudan border, if he would telephone Sudan's president again to demand humanitarian access to the concentration camps, he might save hundreds of thousands of lives.
I agree with him that every attempt needs to be made to stop this tragedy. It is the right thing to do. Also, it might be a politically savvy move for Bush. Strong denunciations of this genocide would highlight that incidents such as Abu Ghraib, while inexcusable, are of a completely different scale than many human rights abuses that are happening in so many places throughout the world. It would also bring to the fore Bush’s strengths such as his belief that evil has to be confronted, not negotiated with and would present him as a strong moral leader. Unfortunately, anything the Bush administration does in this regard will probably have to be unilateral.
Yet while Mr. Bush has done far too little, he has at least issued a written statement, sent aides to speak forcefully at the U.N. and raised the matter with Sudan's leaders. That's more than the Europeans or the U.N. has done. Where are Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac? Where are African leaders, like Nelson Mandela? Why isn't John Kerry speaking out forcefully? And why are ordinary Americans silent? Islamic leaders abroad have been particularly shameful in standing with the Sudanese government oppressors rather than with the Muslim victims in Darfur. Do they care about dead Muslims only when the killers are Israelis or Americans?
This is no reason for us to stand silent however. We have let too many incidents of this horrible nature pass unremarked only to wring our hands and promise we will do better next time. The next time is now. via Instapundit


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