Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Why Haven't We Heard More About This?

Nicholas Kristof holds his nose and says Bush points the way:
I doff my hat, briefly, to President Bush.

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.

If the peace holds, hundreds of thousands of lives will be saved, millions of refugees will return home, and a region of Africa may be revived.

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.

I'm still haunted by what I saw when I visited the region in March: a desert speckled with fresh graves of humans and the corpses of donkeys, the empty eyes of children who saw their fathers killed, the guilt of parents fumbling to explain how they had survived while their children did not.

The refugees tell of sudden attacks by the camel-riding Janjaweed Arab militia, which is financed by the Sudanese government, then a panic of shooting and fire. Girls and women are routinely branded after they are raped, to increase the humiliation.
To be sure, Kristof says Bush and the world have much more to do. Still, those critics that reject humanitarian reasons as legitimate justification for removing should be heartened by this story. After all they like to say, why not Rwanda? Why not North Korea? Why not every other murderous dictator in the world? Well, there are feasibility issues that come into question with those. Even that aside though, there is no logic behind a reasoning that concludes, since we can't do everything we should therefore do nothing. No. We should do what we can, where we can, when we can. In the case of Sudan, Bush has started doing that, the Europeans have not, incidentally. If, as Kristof suggests, putting diplomatic pressure on Sudan could prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths, we ought not hesitate to make such a low cost, high benefit move. Unilaterally.


                                                                                                                                                                             Meter Weblog Commenting and Trackback by This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?