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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Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Realpolitik of Darfur 'genocide': now you see it, now you don't

Right now, the fourth season of the liberal drutherfest, The West Wing, is playing on UK terrestrial TV. I missed a few eps, but last night's was when the Poor Man's Moses decides to treat himself to a crusade.

Seems there's a genocide going on in some place called Kundu [1] and - isn't the life of a Kunduese worth as much as that of an American servicemen, dammit? (Love those DEWDROP fantasies...)

Back in the realm of reality - or as close as the Bush administration gets - we have a piquant counter-example.

Doings in Darfur have detained us before, several times, mostly considering John Kerry's likely stance should he have won in November.

There was a time when both elected branches - including Colin Powell, on behalf of the executive - decided that the actions of the Sudanese government in the region constituted that fatal open-sesame word, genocide.

Quite what the fuss was about, I don't think was ever resolved (there is big suffering all over - the questions were: why Darfur, and why now?). The peace settlement with the Johnny Garang's SPLA, then in limbo, was the main outstanding piece of diplomatic business between the US and Sudan, but what Machiavellian purpose would be served by the genocide gambit was not clear, as I recall.

Now, that peace settlement is about to be signed - and circumstances alter cases.

Such that we find the outgoing Secretary of State, keen for a piece of silverware for his trophy cabinet that doesn't come ready-tarnished, is now a positive Trappist on the G-question.

Thus, in reply to a question about Kofi Annan's saying on Friday that the situation in Darfur had got worse [1], Powell said:
It was my judgment that genocide was taking place. I haven't seen the Secretary-General's latest report, but I look forward to examining it.

That is a flip-off, old-style Rummy smirk and Bronx cheer rolled into one!

The guy is clearly demob-happy (and who could blame him?). Is he above leaving one or two calling-cards for Condi before he leaves?

  1. I'm not chasing the hidden meaning.

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