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Why is Darfur left to fester?
Posted by: McQ on Sunday, April 15, 2007

I read this and my first reaction was the same as yours. "You've got to be kidding".
A federal Green party candidate in Vancouver-Kingsway is standing behind a controversial editorial he wrote more than four years ago in which he describes the falling of the World Trade Center twin towers as "beautiful."

The editorial, entitled, A Revolting Confession, was first published on Nov. 28, 2002 in an alternative newspaper, The Republic of East Vancouver, which Kevin Potvin founded.

"When I saw the first tower cascade down into that enormous plume of dust and paper, there was a little voice inside me that said, 'Yeah!' When the second tower came down the same way, that little voice said, 'Beautiful!' When the visage of the Pentagon appeared on the TV with a gaping and smoking hole in its side, that little voice had nearly taken me over, and I felt an urge to pump my fist in the air," Mr. Potvin wrote in the editorial.
Pump your fist in the air? The little voice was becoming a big voice, no? So totally revolted I'm reading on and discover Potvin claims he was equally revolted by his own thoughts:
The 44-year-old bookstore owner, who ran for municipal office in Vancouver in 2005, said he at first withheld the editorial, publishing it only after he was approached by others who felt the same way.

"This is a revolting confession," he wrote. "But it's what happened."

He continued: "I know lots of people were killed. But then again, I see lots of people getting killed whenever I turn the TV news on, and frankly, it doesn't really get to me any more....
"Yeah, but ..." I'm saying about that, "most of the killing on TV is fake and you know what ...." and then I read this:
"Let's face facts. If the news on the morning of September 11 was that 3,000 Tanzanians or Burmese had been killed, they wouldn't have broken in on regularly scheduled programming, or canceled football games, and there'd be no conversation about it the next day."
I braked to a full stop. Hmmmm .... we know how the world reacted to 9/11. We know, to a lesser extent how the world reacted to the bombings in Spain and 7/7 in the UK.

But you know what, I also think of Rwanda and now Darfur and I have to give him at least a little credit here. Rwanda went on right under our noses and we did zip (well except to argue about whether or not it was genocide and who should do something) and as I recall 800,000 lost their lives in that bit of violence. I have to admit I don't recall anyone breaking in on TV shows or canceling events when the full horror was revealed. And it's certainly not the case with Darfur. Again, the international community is engaged in paralysis by analysis, arguing definitions while real people die in large bunches.

So despite this nut-bag's metaphorical fist pumping about the smoking hole in NY, he has a point (and no, his point doesn't save him from criticism on the other things he's said or that he's now turning into a "truther").

I'm as guilty as anyone. I run occasional posts on Darfur lamenting the fact that the blatant and consistent violent genocide taking place there continues. But like he says, no one breaks into our lives to remind us of what happens there every single day to real people.

And here I am, breaking into yours with a fairly impotent plea saying, you know, the world community really ought to doing something about that and doing it now. It's a bit sad that I have to be reminded about the point by some whack job in the Green Party of Canada that those suffering rape and death in Sudan are just as important as the rest of us are and shouldn't suffer because they lack a PR agent or happen not to be in the media center of the world.
 
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This is one of the reasons, outside of the first few years of the GWOT and tax cuts, Bush is a liberal President.

He did the international consensus thing because he didn’t want to expend any capital to do the right thing. Got it alone.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
I’m as guilty as anyone. I run occasional posts on Darfur lamenting the fact that the blatant and consistent violent genocide taking place there continues. But like he says, no one breaks into our lives to remind us of what happens there every single day to real people.
A crucial difference between 9/11 and Darfur is that 9/11 was an attack, whereas in many many instances, Darfur and other similar situations are mostly self-inflicted.

Not saying that makes it right or anything like that! But the fact is an attack is much "easier" to deal with in terms of a response and doing something.

It has nothing to do with PR agents or not being in the media capitals. You think the situation in Iraq and the Mid-East in general is complex? Darfur and Africa in general makes that look like a cake-walk.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
*Go it alone.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
How does the tsunami coverage of 2004 fit this narrative?

Maybe big, sudden disasters are easier to cover than a never-ending series of smaller ones.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
But the fact is an attack is much "easier" to deal with in terms of a response and doing something.
Ever so much easier............. Iraq torn apart... America splintering... no clear end in sight.........easy as pie
 
Written By: darohu
URL: http://
Does America have a vital national interest in Darfur? I know what our interests and those of our allies are in the Middle East. Control of a necessary natural resource and shipping hub.

How many Lefties would have been willing to give up the peace dividend spending to keep a large enough military to intervene in Rwanda? Darfur?
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
How many "anybodies" would have been willing to give up the peace dividend spending to keep a large enough military to intervene in Rwanda? Darfur?
 
Written By: darohu
URL: http://
Ever so much easier............. Iraq torn apart... America splintering... no clear end in sight.........easy as pie
Reading for comprehension and context isn’t your strong point isn’t it?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I assumed you meant doing something would include accomplishing something.
How silly of me.
sorry
 
Written By: darohu
URL: http://
Does America have a vital national interest in Darfur?
Exxon is heavily invested in Chads gas fields.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
I assumed you meant doing something would include accomplishing something.
How silly of me.
sorry
Thanks for proving what I said....that’s 2x you missed the point now.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I recommend everybody ready Lt. Gen. (now Senator) Romeo Dallaire’s Shake Hands with the Devil. Dallaire, Canadian General, head of UNAMIR (United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda) was one person who truly tried to help and saw the Rwandan tragedy unfold — he ultimately suffered PTSD, and was found nearly dead on a park bench in Montreal due to anti-depressants and alcohol. His book was therapeutic, and a documentary was made about his experience. The utter contemptible lack of concern by the US, France, most UN bureaucrats (and for an explanation of why the UN behaved that way, see Michael Barnett’s Eyewitness to Genocide compared to his compassion and courage is evident. It’s also a strong argument as to why one has to consider military action an option in some cases.

But as to 9-11...there is a sense that we feel our own pain deeply, but can’t understand why so many Iraqis or earlier Serbs might be angry at us, even though our bombs caused much more destruction and as much if not more death in a short amount of time. Our dead innocents at the hands of terrorists matter more than their dead innocents at the hands of our military...to us. Now before people accuse me of making an argument about moral equivalence between terrorists and the military, I’m not. I’m noting a more subtle point: how others perceive our actions and respond to us is driven by the same emotions that caused Americans to respond with such anger after 9-11. Our inability to understand that causes them to experience Schadenfreude when we suffer, a kind "see what it’s like when people get killed," thinking about the impact of our military actions. Unless we understand that — and you don’t have to agree with it or think it’s legitimate — we won’t understand why there is so much anti-Americanism. It’s not jealousy or envy, it’s a belief by many that we are based on a double standard: our values, interests and lives are very important, but those of others are not.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
If people in other countries are so outraged by a lack of action why don’t they have their government take the action?
 
Written By: Rick
URL: http://

If people in other countries are so outraged by a lack of action why don’t they have their government take the action?
I think its more the double standard that outrages them.

The German Greens are a good case. In 1993 people were heckled off the stage for proposing military escorts for humanitarian supplies in Bosnia. By 1995, after leading Green pacifists traveled to the region and heard/saw the horror stories, they had a change of heart. "When we say ’nie wieder Kriege’ (never again war), we also need to add ’nie wieder Auschwitz," was how Green leader Joschka Fischer put it. The Greens then joined a coalition that supported the Afghan war and, though divided, German participation in Afghanistan.

War was easy to oppose in principle back when it meant nuclear destruction for the planet. Now, things get messy.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
9/11 was an attack on America, therefore using COMMON SENSE (tm) it is logical that Americans would be the most concerned and cancel football games, etc.

Now, for Canadians, it makes sense too, not only did they lose people as well, they are a neighboring country with extremely close cultural ties.

You don’t think Chad worries a lot about Darfur, or that Burundi felt the pain of Rwanda?

Now for someone in Rwanda, they might pay attention to 9/11 because:

1. It’s on TV as a major terror attack with stunning visuals.
2. What happens to America affects the world. What happens to Rwanda has little effect.
3. Airplanes crashing into buildings live on TV has more of a psychological affect on people than a large amount of smaller killings (airline crashes get news while the overall amount of car fatalities on that day don’t)

Oh, and Erb is right that when we drop a bomb on Serbia, the Serbians get upset and don’t like us. Which is why the US should demand the Europeans run 50% of bombing missions or more in any NATO action and that each country gets to be accountable in the press instead of "NATO" or "US coalition."

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
"It’s not jealousy or envy, it’s a belief by many that we are based on a double standard: our values, interests and lives are very important, but those of others are not."

Yes, and the flipside is that Germans, Serbians, Iraqis, Chinese etc. for some reason feel their values, interests and lives are very important, too, and don’t value American/Israeli/other countries as highly.

Erb, feel free to explain to me exactly how most of the world do not have a double standard too when applied to say, Taiwan’s attempts to join the WHO, especially in light of SARS. Guess which country unilaterally sent health experts (one who died) to help Taiwan while the rest of the world was busy valuing their own commercial interests more than the lives of Taiwanese?
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Yes, and the flipside is that Germans, Serbians, Iraqis, Chinese etc. for some reason feel their values, interests and lives are very important, too, and don’t value American/Israeli/other countries as highly.
Perhaps, perhaps not. But we’ve been the most aggressive state in going out and killing and trying to impose our values outside our country lately. That gets noticed. Unfortunately, that often hits emotional buttons and causes people to miss or discredit all the good work we do. Again, you don’t have to believe this is how others should react, but the bottom line is that if we’re going to have an aggressive and assertive foreign policy, we have to recognize that this will inevitably breed anti-Americanism, no matter how well intended or not that policy might be.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
But we’ve been the most aggressive state in going out and killing and trying to impose our values outside our country lately.
Aggressive yes. Imposing values? Not so much. Helping establish a pseudo-Democratic state by working with local leaders and involving a complex alliance of tribes & warlords in Afghanistan is "imposing our values"? Allowing a Shia-dominated state, whose interests may differ greatly from that of the U.S., to arise in Iraq is somehow "imposing our values"? It might be reasonable to argue that the U.S. is attempting to force others to conform to its own national interests, although even that is debatable. But there is little evidence the U.S. is imposing its values. In contrast, there is plenty of evidence that the U.S. is bending over backward to respect the values of the states we are dealing with.
if we’re going to have an aggressive and assertive foreign policy, we have to recognize that this will inevitably breed anti-Americanism
Of course. But we also have to recognize that anti-Americanism existed long before our current foreign policy, and will continue after those policies change. Much anti-Americanism does appear to be based on fear, envy, and of course religious fanaticism, rather than on some rational response to our actions.
 
Written By: DavidC
URL: http://
Of course. But we also have to recognize that anti-Americanism existed long before our current foreign policy, and will continue after those policies change. Much anti-Americanism does appear to be based on fear, envy, and of course religious fanaticism, rather than on some rational response to our actions.
As for imposing values, that’s certainly what we’re seen as trying to do (though perhaps failing at the effort, if you look at Iraq and Afghanistan lately).

Mostly, though, anti-Americanism is a reaction to our policies — we have become a kind of neo-imperial power, though one suffering a bit from overstretch. I think that is dangerous. I think what really needs to happen is for Congress to reclaim its constitutional powers to be a co-producer of American foreign policy rather than simply submit to the President on these issues. (I discuss that in my blog today, April 16).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
there is a sense that we feel our own pain deeply, but can’t understand why so many Iraqis or earlier Serbs might be angry at us
Who doesn’t understand this? I believe you mistake not caring for not understanding. Of course anyone who looks at things from the Iraqi or Serb points of view can understand why they might be angry at the U.S. But since we aren’t Iraqis or Serbs, obviously our point of view differs greatly from theirs.

Take Iran for example. Although I am a U.S. citizen, I can certainly understand why Iran would like to acquire nuclear weapons. Were I an Iranian, I too would want my country to possess such weapons. But I’m not an Iranian, and in my opinion it is not in the interest of the U.S. that Iran acquires nuclear weapons. Therefore, even though I understand, and can even sympathize with Iranian desires, I do not care about them because they run counter to U.S. interests.
 
Written By: DavidC
URL: http://
Mostly, though, anti-Americanism is a reaction to our policies — we have become a kind of neo-imperial power
I totally disagree that most anti-Americanism is a reaction to our policies. And I reject the notion that the U.S. is some sort of "neo-imperial power." I find the whole "imperialist" line of argument regarding U.S. foreign policy to be ridiculous, and an indication that the person making it has no grasp on the types of actions that a real imperial power would have taken.
As for imposing values, that’s certainly what we’re seen as trying to do
No, it isn’t certain at all. This is merely your opinion. As I pointed out previously, forcing countries to take actions in accordance with our interests is not the same thing as imposing values.
I think what really needs to happen is for Congress to reclaim its constitutional powers to be a co-producer of American foreign policy
Here I agree with you at least partially. In my opinion, Congress should reclaim its power to declare war, a power it is explicitly granted by the Constitution, and one which it has completely abdicated since the Second World War.
 
Written By: DavidC
URL: http://
Take Iran for example. Although I am a U.S. citizen, I can certainly understand why Iran would like to acquire nuclear weapons. Were I an Iranian, I too would want my country to possess such weapons. But I’m not an Iranian, and in my opinion it is not in the interest of the U.S. that Iran acquires nuclear weapons. Therefore, even though I understand, and can even sympathize with Iranian desires, I do not care about them because they run counter to U.S. interests.
Thank you — that’s an honest statement, most people dance around consideration of how this looks from the Iranian perspective. However, I disagree when we get to that last sentence. I do care about Iranian interests and "desires" because therein lies the best way to try to reach a settlement. If we don’t care about their perspective and just try to bully them, that will fail. If we do, and convey that in negotiations — essentially treating them with respect rather than with ultimatums — that has a better chance of success. I think military strikes against them to try to end their capacity to produce nuclear weapons would be contrary to our interests.

The odds that their program is dangerously far along and that we could severely disrupt it are relatively low (in fact, the farther along it is, the more likely they have it safeguarded, with numerous decoys and misinformation being spread). The odds that the result could be harmful to the US are high.
I totally disagree that most anti-Americanism is a reaction to our policies. And I reject the notion that the U.S. is some sort of "neo-imperial power." I find the whole "imperialist" line of argument regarding U.S. foreign policy to be ridiculous, and an indication that the person making it has no grasp on the types of actions that a real imperial power would have taken.
The US spends half the world’s military budget. The US is stationed all over the planet, far more extensively than any other power (a good read is Chalmers Johnson’s The Sorrows of Empire), and the US has been involved in many aggressive uses of forces in recent times, as well as giving massive amounts in military aid to prop up allies and play the geopolitical power game. Imperialism has even been alluded to by some neo-conservatives as something we should not fear if our motives are good.

First neo-imperialism is NOT the same kind of imperialism as old European colonialism or conquest. Such methods of control are far too costly, and now it’s easier to get the benefits without having to engage in direct conquest or control. If the US did not have such an activist foreign policy, clearly people wouldn’t be as anti-American. Canada has a lifestyle regarded by most as the best in the world (and people can quibble if its better or worse than in the US — it depends on your measure), yet you hardly find a groundswell of jealousy, envy and the like for Canadians!
Here I agree with you at least partially. In my opinion, Congress should reclaim its power to declare war, a power it is explicitly granted by the Constitution, and one which it has completely abdicated since the Second World War
Unfortunately most in Congress care less about US policy than about being elected.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The utter contemptible lack of concern by the US, France, most UN bureaucrats
You forgot to mention Canada. Their rules of engagement were basically "no engagement is acceptable."
 
Written By: Josh
URL: http://
I do care about Iranian interests and "desires" because therein lies the best way to try to reach a settlement. If we don’t care about their perspective and just try to bully them, that will fail. If we do, and convey that in negotiations — essentially treating them with respect rather than with ultimatums — that has a better chance of success. I think military strikes against them to try to end their capacity to produce nuclear weapons would be contrary to our interests.
Well, I agree that it does help to understand the Iranian perspective, and the rest of what you say here is definitely a reasonable argument. But at some point, if the question becomes, do we allow Iran (barring major changes to its rulers and policies) to acquire nuclear weapons, or do we take military action, then I favor military action. It will be difficult and it will have negative consequences, but the potential consequences of Iran with nuclear weapons are, in my opinion, a greater threat.
First neo-imperialism is NOT the same kind of imperialism as old European colonialism or conquest. Such methods of control are far too costly, and now it’s easier to get the benefits without having to engage in direct conquest or control.

Yes, I know. What you are talking about is basically the theory of informal empire, which is nothing new. Why call it "neo-imperialism."? Do we need more more jargon? And I am unconvinced that it can be accurately applied to the U.S., especially not to Afghanistan and Iraq. Many have in fact argued that the Iraq war in particular is not in the U.S. interest, that it is a waste of resources and lives, and that the U.S. derives no real benefit from it. The evidence that it was based on a sort of Wilsonian idealism (along with the stated reasons for war) is, in my opinion, far greater than any evidence that it was designed to advance an informal empire. Had the U.S. wished to establish informal control over Iraq, none of the rebuilding and democratization was necessary, nor was the ongoing war against the insurgency. Informal control could have been established cheaper and faster, using typical Cold War methods.
 
Written By: DavidC
URL: http://
"But we’ve been the most aggressive state in going out and killing and trying to impose our values outside our country lately."

1. After 9/11, countries should be forewarned...DO NOT RATTLE THE CAGE OR THE DOG WILL BITE YOU. Short term consequences were good, mid-term not so good, but long term, we don’t know what will happen. We do know that in the 90’s we led people to believe we were the weak horse for some reason. It is unfortunate Iraq has not been prosecuted well, but we should try to presevere.

"Imposing our values outside our country"

So, Britain enforcing anti-slavery policies on the high seas would get low marks from you, since they were enforcing their values outside their countries? Grow a spine - democracy and freedom are not exclusive American values, but modern values. Ever heard of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

"That gets noticed. Unfortunately, that often hits emotional buttons and causes people to miss or discredit all the good work we do."

You know, while I agree with you in the main part, some gut part of me says "if the national and international media spent less time playing lilliputians tying down Gulliver and more time thinking about reality, things would be much different." But yeah, saving Muslims in Kosovo pisses of Sebs in the lon run and doesn’t buy any respect from Muslims...my lesson from that is don’t worry about pleasing people so much...or to become isolationist. Take your pick.

A few anecdotes about anti-Americanism from an American who has lived 15 years abroad:

1. Worst incident personally experienced: Greeks angry that America bombed Serbia.

2. Fastest shift to anti-Americanism: The KMT ruled Taiwan for decades as a dictatorship, which the US supported. And the KMT loved us. The minute they lost power, and the opposition made any noise to become independent from China, the KMT suddently became much more anti-American...you know, I don’t think if we personally handed out checks to people it would help...

3. The best way to stop anti-American sentiment among 3rd party nationals in a country is to remined them what flavor of helicopter they might be riding out on in case of emergency...this works with about 10% of Canadians in Taiwan, by the way.

4. If we just let everyone enter the USA visa free, it would help a lot. LOL. These are the same people who require Americans to get fingerprinted and give stool samples for one year visas to their own countries. I won’t mention the fact that Americans of course could not own land and had to pay higher taxes in these countries...(this much better now in Taiwan though)

5. The US government will never win a PR battle in the press. Maybe because bad news always sells better, but also a lot of bias. We could possibly do better if we played incredible hard ball, but not only would that be tough for our people to accept, the State department is full of people looking for a foreign vacation than a results oriented job...no offense meant as I would do that too.



 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I forgot one more...okay, not really anti-American, but useful for explaining European puzzlement at American actions:

Having a Swiss guy tell me that 9/11 wasn’t really an attack, and America shouldn’t really go to war over 9/11. He viewed 9/11 like an extreme weather event..."A cold front from the northeast with a small chance of Muslim suicide hijackers plowing 747s into buildings."

If you have a tornado hit your town, you don’t go to war against tornadoes do you?

I had to inform him that my country was attacked and we were at war. Circa 2001-2002 BTW, way before Iraq was on the radar even. This also ties in with the Darfur issue of this post...I think if Switzerland had been hit, he would have been the first guy to get his gun and go fight.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Well, I agree that it does help to understand the Iranian perspective, and the rest of what you say here is definitely a reasonable argument. But at some point, if the question becomes, do we allow Iran (barring major changes to its rulers and policies) to acquire nuclear weapons, or do we take military action, then I favor military action. It will be difficult and it will have negative consequences, but the potential consequences of Iran with nuclear weapons are, in my opinion, a greater threat.
One question: how much leeway do you have in terms of allowing the probability that the military action won’t work? The negative of military action is you open a can of worms of unintended consequences, kill some innocent people, and might not achieve the goal. Also, would you be willing to do this without UN Security Council approval? If the Security Council approves, that gives considerable cover — states are limited in their criticisms and counter actions.

Another question: would you as a fall back consider a strong deterrence regime? Despite Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric, the Iranians have actually been pretty rational and pragmatic in their policy most of the time. I think deterrence would work with them, they don’t want to sacrifice their government, and they know Israel could destroy their regime. Also, I think it is important to do what we can to assure Ahmadinejad doesn’t win re-election in 2009. Right now he’s waning in popularity, and someone who had views more like that of Khatami would be easier to work with.

But I do think we have lots of opportunities to stop an Iranian move towards nuclear weapons. If they leave the NPT, which they are allowed to do, things could get, well, interesting.
Yes, I know. What you are talking about is basically the theory of informal empire, which is nothing new. Why call it "neo-imperialism."? Do we need more more jargon? And I am unconvinced that it can be accurately applied to the U.S., especially not to Afghanistan and Iraq. Many have in fact argued that the Iraq war in particular is not in the U.S. interest, that it is a waste of resources and lives, and that the U.S. derives no real benefit from it. The evidence that it was based on a sort of Wilsonian idealism (along with the stated reasons for war) is, in my opinion, far greater than any evidence that it was designed to advance an informal empire. Had the U.S. wished to establish informal control over Iraq, none of the rebuilding and democratization was necessary, nor was the ongoing war against the insurgency. Informal control could have been established cheaper and faster, using typical Cold War methods.
I think it was indeed a kind of Wilsonian idealism driving the policy, I see G.W. Bush as an hier to J.F. Kennedy (and I’m not talking just the obvious comparisons of Vietnam and Iraq, but on the notion of spreading democracy and using American power to do so). If the goal in Iraq was to create an Iraqi model of democracy to pressure other states, spread democracy to the Mideast, and thus undercut terror networks that result from authoritarian anti-modernist governments, is that not a kind of imperialism? In short, the US wanted to expand our way of governance because: a) we believe it best for the people (good intentions) and b) we believe it is in the national interests (ultimately undercuts terrorism and radicalism).

My critique is that this appears to others as being aggressive/imperialist, whatever the intent, and that undercuts the effort. It turns war, what should be a last resort based on national interset, into a grand social engineering experiment, where victory comes now with the defeat of the other army (we did that by April 2003) but a restructuring of their society.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
To a degree, dovetailing with Scott’s comments -

but also - I agree with McQ. Life is manifestly unfair. And I don’t say that to dismiss it. 3000 people die in America, and the whole world stops; nations are toppled, systems altered. 3000 people die in Sri Lanka, and nothing happens. It really isn’t fair, and it’s morally appropriate to remember it.

Part of this is definitely- I find myself, bizarrely, agreeing with Shark - context. Mass incidents get more coverage. Rare events get more coverage. Events that happen all at once and then are over. Events that don’t kill journalists trying to cover them. And, yes, events that happen to powerful people, interests, or countries.

But, McQ, to get us off the hook a little - it’s genuinely very hard to stop people from killing each other. Reputational campaigns involve lots of money and effort, as do negotiations. Sanctions involve the loss of considerable economic revenue. People at the UN devote decades of their lives to try and stop wars, albeit via very inefficient methods.

Most methods not involving military force are slow and grudging. They absolutely do not have no effect. But they usually aren’t quick and neat enough to give an obvious appearance of positive change. And, of course, sometimes they really do have no effect.

Military force as a method seems attractive. It often seems like a way of bringing bad situations to an immediate and crashing end. The problem is, in all but the most extreme situations, it’s easy to make things worse. Not inevitable, but common. Post 9/11 was easier because it was not a humanitarian mission. We weren’t trying to protect other societies from themselves. It’s easy to kill, but hard to prevent killing.

I guess what I’m getting at here is the fact that part of the reason we don’t think about these things much is because it often seems to people that there’s not much that can be done. This is not true. But it is true that failure is common, and - especially when dealing with the use of force - sometimes you make things worse.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
For an example of some people that are doing something, the kind of people usually mocked around here, see http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/13/washington/13diplo.html

China is absolutely the key to Darfur, and the Olympics are a great pressure point.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://

 
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