Samantha Power has a piece in the NYT today discussing the situation in Sudan in the light of lessons learned, so we hope, from Rwanda:
The lessons of Rwanda are many. . . A third lesson is that even when the United States decides not to respond militarily, American leadership is indispensable. This is especially true because Europe continues to avoid intervening in violent humanitarian crises. And it remains true despite the Bush administration’s unpopularity abroad. The United States often takes an all-or-nothing approach: if it doesn’t send troops, it tends to foreclose other policy options.
I’m not sure whether American leadership is indispensable. If it is, I rather wish it weren’t so. The U.S. is overburdened, discredited and demoralized right now. If Sudan’s neighbours refuse constructive help, or if their involvement would only make things worse, then Europe has to do something meaningful here. I don’t mean that they should go in guns blazing. But where is a serious diplomatic effort from Europe? Where is the effort to shame Russia and China for the behaviour of their oil companies in Sudan? Where is the sense of responsibility as a global actor?
Look, if Europe really hates American hegemony, they should cut the passive-aggressive nonsense and start doing something worthwhile. Confronting ethnic cleansing would be a nice place to start, I think.