Eric Umansky: Never Say Never Again: Darfur's nightmare was always bound to end in some way. It could end in a peace agreement... or through the intervention of a strong peacekeeping force.... Or it could end with the civilian population of Darfur being mostly wiped out, either killed or starved or driven into permanent exile. The United States gave the first possibility its best shot last year, and failed; it is now calling, more than a little ineffectually, for the second. But the third is more likely at this point....
How can one government, ruling a weak and deeply divided country, wield such authority? Because it is not isolated.... China has evidently placed its UN Security Council veto at Khartoum's disposal... but China would not so exert itself about a conflict in Africa.... The fact is that Sudan, a member of the Arab League, has the unquestioning support of the [Arab] League and of every Arab government for anything it chooses to do in Darfur. The same governments and Arab media that wail piteously about the suffering of Arabs at the hands of Westerners and Israelis are fine with genocide sponsored by an Arab government.
That is the root of the matter; that is why Khartoum is able to call on China.... The government responsible for genocide knows, as Beijing does as well, that in standing up for murdering large numbers of Africans it will be seen in Arab countries as standing up for Arab dignity. Arab voices outside of government seem to know it too.... The whole situation has grim implications for the Mideast democratization strategy so beloved of President Bush -- how does it help us or anyone else if people tolerant of genocide get to vote in free elections?
That aside, though, now would be a good time to decide if we mean to let Sudan complete its final solution to the Darfur problem without doing anything at all. The least that ought to be done is to push the Anglo-American resolution calling for a UN peacekeeping force in Darfur to a vote in the Security Council. If China and the Arab governments are going to come out in support of mass murder and gang rape as weapons of warfare they might as well be forced to do so in the plain light of day.
After the Rwandan genocide of 1994 any number of people in Europe and America promised each other "never again." Well, "again" has happened at least three times since; a government-imposed famine in North Korea in the late 1990s and the maelstrom that has enveloped Congo for the last several years were the first two. Darfur is the third.... [S]o little effort has been made to isolate a government recklessly pursuing a vicious policy....
Perhaps a more forceful Western effort in the Security Council will accomplish no more than putting genocide's enablers on record. That's not much, but it's not nothing, and we'll never know if more is possible if the effort is not made.