June 02, 2005

The Virtues of Genocide

Read Eugene Oregon on whether or not the situation in Darfur has "improved" over the last few months. Also, read Eric Reeves. It comes down to this, really: the gangsters running Khartoum are attacking aid workers, arresting members of Doctors Without Borders, arresting a translator for the UN Secretary General, and conducting massacres while Kofi Annan is in the goddamn country, all for one good reason—because they can. And that's sort of a problem. Besides the bloody fact of genocide in Darfur, which is a monstrosity in its own right and a latent security threat, didn't we establish in the run-up to the war in Iraq—on both sides of the debate—that letting regimes flout international law was a terrible thing that undermined the credibility of the international order? Yes? No? Yes? Well, consider it undermined.

If I were a budding dictator in the year 2005, contemplating genocide as a means of putting down an insurgency within my own borders, I'd be learning some very interesting lessons here.

UPDATE: Eh, I'm becoming less enthralled with the "we'd have to invade if we wanted to stop the genocide" school of thought. Not because it's untrue—heck, I wrote a whole article on the subject—but because the incremental battles here really are crucial and tend to get obscured by talking too much about "perfect" possible solutions. For instance, the ICG recently put out an assessment of peacekeeping needs in Darfur. It's still a lowball on troop needs, I think, but as Eric Reeves points out, it's the first time an organization has been willing to think "realistically about the essential features of true civilian protection in Darfur." The next step here is to convince the African Union to think in these terms as well.
-- Brad Plumer 8:11 PM || ||