Debating Darfur

Over at Newsweek online, Alex de Waal and John Prendergast debate what to do about Darfur, continued over at the SSRC blog:


[de Waal] It’s certainly true that a lot of what has passed for U.S. Darfur policy in the last three years has been hot air—beginning with Colin Powell’s Sept. 9, 2004, determination that genocide had been committed in Darfur (and may be continuing), immediately followed by his assertion that U.S. government policy would not change. But hot air can make a difference too, when we are dealing with a government in Khartoum that has been on the receiving end of U.S. cruise missiles and that fears that the U.S. government will take sides against it in a future war for the secession of southern Sudan….

[Prendergast] First, your criticism of the advocacy community seems bizarrely misplaced, when it is the policymakers in Washington, Brussels, London, and Beijing who have been primarily responsible for the failure to confront the crime of genocide and the inability to craft relevant solutions to the complicated crisis in Darfur. Activists seek to raise the alarm bell and to shape the policy priorities of their government. We were not running the failed peace process you were a part of in 2006 that led to an escalation of violence, for example. We just want to see solutions. And we recognize that the actor that is primarily responsible for the mayhem in Darfur is the Sudanese regime and its brutal counterinsurgency campaign that has ruthlessly targeted civilian populations and attempted to divide and destroy the rebel movements and the communities that support them.