Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Monday, July 26, 2004

About Freakin' Time reports that "EU to Push for Sanctions on Sudan"

But what does it mean, exactly?  Nothing in the article actually says what, specifically, those sanctions might be.  Instead, "EU officials said they did not plan to cut off million it gives Sudan in development aid, which is focused primarily at the country's poorest people."  That's good, because a simple embargo does nothing but exacerbate the plight of the people being butchered.  During the worst possible famine, the government never starves.  But are we talking about military intervention?  France seems determined not to let that happen (they have too much Sudanese oil coming in to worry about a little genocide), and they have a veto power on the Security Council.

Unfortunately, the "sanctions" the article mentions may be nothing more than pressure - i.e. trying to shame the Sudanese into compliance. 

The EU said the Sudanese government "will be pressed to arrest these persons or suspend them form office and to bring them to justice."

That's an interesting approach, given that the government is accused of backing the militias.  I can't imagine that the leadership in Khartoum will say, "Hey, the EU is going to frown at us.  Let's arrest ourselves." 

Personally, I don't know what to do about the situation, but the EU method seems totally useless.  The France method seems demoncially corrupt.  The UN - well, the UN doesn't really offer solutions so much as rhetoric.  And the U.S., while we have a President who is willing to blow up bad guys, also has a thinly-stretched military (thanks, Clinton) and no particular interest (other than humanitarian) in the Sudan.  Maybe a humanitarian interest is good enough.  Maybe it isn't.  Certainly it is ironic to suggest a military invasion to keep people from being killed. 

Also, I can't decide what exactly would be the goal of an invasion.  Topple the regime?  That's what the rebels are after in the first place.  And replace it with what?  We are gambling in Iraq - gambling that what we've gotted rid of will be replaced with something better.  No need to roll those dice any more than necessary.  If you're going to send in ground troops, you have to tell the troops who they are supposed to shoot, and you should have a pretty good idea of why they are shooting (and being shot at). 

Update: According to CNN's on-line, non-scientific web poll, 42% of respondents think the UN should "take the lead in resolving the conflict in Darfur, Sudan."  Compare that to Sudan, 20%; African Union, 18%; the EU, 12%; the US, 6%, and Britain, 1%.  The poll makes me wonder whether any of the 42% can name a single instance where the UN has successfully resolved a violent conflict.  I'm not just referring to te genocides it knows about but ignores (i.e. in Rwanda), but to any conflict where it gets involved.  Consider the UN's success rate before deciding it should take the lead in resolving something.

I mostly check web poll results on and to learn about their respective readerships.  Invariably, where the viewpoints of poll answers can be classified as "liberal" or "conservative," CNN polls favor the liberal answer and Fox polls favor the conservative answer.  (I know, this shouldn't surprise anyone).  This poll falls squarely into the pattern.