REALISM AND DARFUR

James Forsyth in The New Republic:

John Bolton is nothing if not direct. So it was unsurprising that when Time magazine asked him recently whether genocide is “the right term for what’s happening” in Darfur, he gave a blunt response: “Sounds right to me.”

Bolton is a fervent defender of the American national interest, with little appetite for liberal idealism. So his comment reveals something important about the Darfur debate: Even those who are generally skeptical of humanitarian intervention are prepared to admit that genocide is taking place in Darfur. But while almost everyone agrees that a genocide is happening, there is little agreement as to how the United States should respond, if at all. This is where advocates of intervention have failed. They have portrayed intervention in Darfur as a moral imperative–which it is–but have focused little on winning over foreign-policy realists to their cause.

In fact, there is a strong national-interest case to be made for intervention in Darfur. The failure to act is weakening the U.S. position on a continent of increasing importance to American energy needs and the fight against terrorism. How? By demonstrating that being under the Chinese umbrella guarantees you impunity.

More here.

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