Saving face and letting blood in Darfur

Edward B. Rackeley in his excellent blog, Across the Divide:

SudanIn an excellent editorial by, I’m assuming, Sebastian Mallaby in this morning’s Washington Post, the obstacles facing the much debated and awaited UN re-hatting of AU peacekeepers in Darfur are laid bare. People unfamiliar with the internal politics and divergent loyalties of Security Council Member states tend to blame the Darfur tragedy on ‘Western inaction’ or ‘Khartoum intransigency’. Both are true, but amount to blaming today’s weather on ‘the weather’ — a finer tautology could not be found.

The resulting absence of a common front of decisive action on problems like Darfur or Rwanda is not justifiably glossed as ‘the failure of the UN’, as many would have it. It is simply the working reality of multilateral bodies where state interests dominate the agenda exactly as they do in the world of bilateral interaction between sovereign states. States act the same way alone as when they are in a team huddle; that is, they protect themselves and their friends of the moment. If we want UNSC member states to act differently, i.e., with greater common concern for problems like Darfur, someone needs to invent an entirely new basis on which states interact.

More here.