The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, October 14, 2004

Holbrooke dissenting from Kerry policy on Darfur?

In the first debate in Florida, Kerry appeared to leave open the possibility that US forces might be deployed to the Sudan in roles going beyond logistical support to African Union peacekeeping troops:
I think the reason that we're not saying send American troops in at this point is severalfold...

But I'll tell you this, as president, if it took American forces to some degree to coalesce the African Union, I'd be prepared to do it because we could never allow another Rwanda.

Precisely what
coalesce the African Union
means, I don't think Kerry explained. But if Kerry had meant to restrict the proposed role of US forces to logistical support, he could have said so [1].

Now, I see a piece reprinted from Sunday's Cleveland Plain-Dealer under hed Pre-Emptive War Policy is Dangerous, No Matter Who's Pushing It, which focuses on the bipartisan nature of pre-emption in US foreign policy.

(Nice bellicose quotes from Clinton's Madeleine Albright and William Cohen!)

Top Kerry foreign policy man Richard Holbrooke apparently paid a call on the Plain-Dealer's ed board last week.

He boasts about Clinton's exercise in the waging of illegal war in Kosovo [1].

But is downright on Darfur:
Darfur - just Darfur - is the size of France. It's out in the open. American troops would not do well there. But American logistical support, airlift, communications, transportation and support of an African Union force might work.

It is too much to hope that Kerry, as candidate or president, would disown the doctrine of humanitarian intervention in so many words - even though the damage it did to the UN process and the law of war was a contributory factor to the Iraq débâcle.

But Kerry's promising to refuse to send forces to the Sudan in other than logistical roles would be a welcome sign of realism.

Holbrooke is already almost there.

  1. In his September 3 statement on Darfur, he did precisely that:
    We should contribute sufficient funds and the logistical support the African Union needs to accomplish this mission.

  2. Liberals who were ringing the bells when the US Security Council was elbowed aside on the basis of the spurious doctrine of humanitarian intervention in the Kosovo matter were wringing their hands when Bush did a number on the Council over Iraq - on the equally spurious basis that failure to comply with UN resolutions could justify the use of force under the UN Charter.


Holbrooke seems to have been a model of consistency on the point, to judge from this and this.

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