Friday, January 16, 2009

Let the Backtracking Begin, Part Deux

New York Times, 1/16/09, blogging Susan Rice's confirmation hearings:
The prospective ambassador [Susan Rice] has been quoted extensively that she would never allow a situation like the genocide in Rwanda to unroll again, so she was asked repeatedly about how she would confront the government in Sudan over the killings in Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have died since violence between rebels and government-backed militias erupted in 2003, as well as about other crises in Africa. Ms. Rice said she thought the United States could muster more support from countries like China and Russia on Sudan or Zimbabwe or other issues by stressing through quiet diplomacy where the interests of great powers converge with those of the region.

The Washington Post, 10/02/06, Susan Rice, in her own words:
After three years of fruitless negotiation and feckless rhetoric, it's time to go beyond unenforced U.N. resolutions to a new kind of resolution: the firm resolve to act. Will world leaders continue to give the perpetrators of genocide a veto over international action to stop it? Unless something changes dramatically, the answer seems to be yes. ...

History demonstrates that there is one language Khartoum understands: the credible threat or use of force. After Sept. 11, 2001, when President Bush issued a warning to states that harbor terrorists, Sudan -- recalling the 1998 U.S. airstrike on Khartoum -- suddenly began cooperating on counterterrorism. It's time to get tough with Sudan again.

After swift diplomatic consultations, the United States should press for a U.N. resolution that issues Sudan an ultimatum: accept unconditional deployment of the U.N. force within one week or face military consequences. The resolution would authorize enforcement by U.N. member states, collectively or individually. International military pressure would continue until Sudan relented.

The United States, preferably with NATO involvement and African political support, would strike Sudanese airfields, aircraft and other military assets. It could blockade Port Sudan, through which Sudan's oil exports flow. Then U.N. troops would deploy -- by force, if necessary, with U.S. and NATO backing.

If the United States fails to gain U.N. support, we should act without it. Impossible? No, the United States acted without U.N. blessing in 1999 in Kosovo to confront a lesser humanitarian crisis (perhaps 10,000 killed) and a more formidable adversary. Under NATO auspices, it bombed Serbian targets until Slobodan Milosevic acquiesced. Not a single American died in combat. Many nations protested that the United States violated international law, but the United Nations subsequently deployed a mission to administer Kosovo and effectively blessed NATO military action retroactively.

I'm not necessarily in favor of bombing Sudan, but you'd have to be willfully blind not to see a profound difference in the tone of her remarks yesterday versus what she said two years ago.

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