I thank Hilary (can I call you Hilzoy if you can call me Jamie?--this sounds like a Paul Simon song...) for her thoughtful reply to my piece on the nascent "Obama Doctrine." I'm not really sure if there is an Obama Doctrine, but was hoping to be provocative and stir some debate.
Hilary invests a lot in the fact that Obama counts Samantha Power as an adviser. That's a plus in my book, but I'm not sure why this necessarily means he'll uphold the progressive internationalism of Truman and Kennedy, as much as he likes to cite the latter in speeches. I have no doubt that electing Obama president would do wonders for our image abroad, and considering how far it has fallen, that may be reason enough to support him. But I prefer actions to words, and so far, Obama has not advocated a policy that, in my opinion, would stop the killing. Similarly, for all her wonderful work on educating people about genocide, Power does not support NATO or American military intervention in Darfur, which I believe to be the only action capable of ending this crisis.
Of course, Obama's non-support of American military intervention
does not make him worse than any of the other presidential
candidates--with the admirable exception of Joe Biden.
But I found his rhetorical jujitsu--stating that to avert one genocide
the United States must avert all of them--particularly galling, which
is why I took him specifically to task. And in the AP interview, Obama makes it expressly clear that it's not just the potential genocide in Iraq that he believes ought not be a consideration about what to do there, but extends the argument by stating that genocide itself should not be a condition for American intervention.
Simply put, the only way to end the Darfur genocide is by NATO intervention, and, failing that, unilateral American military involvement. Bombing government facilities in Khartoum may also be necessary. The African Union is incapable--and unwilling--to do what's needed. Those who are serious about ending the genocide in Darfur--especially those on the left who have a residual mistrust of American power, deepened by the failures of Iraq--must accept the fact that blue helmets won't be parachuting in anytime soon.
I'm tired of reading these columns in newspapers by politicians, leaders of civic groups and student activists intoning that old cliche: "Never Again." It's too late. Genocide happened. Again. And it's sad that the only politician who gets it is a second tier candidate in the Democratic primary.
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