In The Face of Genocide, Debate is Needed

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

In The Face of Genocide, Debate is Needed

Frederick's previous post reminded me that I wanted to comment on this piece in the National Review, ostensibly on Darfur.

I say "ostensibly" because, while the hook is Darfur, the purpose is really to simply berate the UN and those who support it
Yet the same establishment voices, angered by America’s war on terrorism, have doggedly defended the U.N. as a check on American power. They’ve denounced the Bush White House for its “neocolonialism,” “imperial hubris,” and its “cowboy” approach to confronting threats to international security. Now they want the cowboy to ride into Darfur on a helicopter gunship (with U.N. approval, of course).

This is the corrosive logic of a political dogma: an almost religious devotion to a U.N. solution to human-rights abuses, despite the institution’s repeated and spectacular failures. Under this doctrine, the Security Council alone retains credibility to confront genocidal regimes. The 15-nation body—a gaggle of dictatorships, theocracies, and democracies—is somehow expected to disown powerful economic and political interests to defend society’s weakest members.
Personally, I am no fan of the UN - one can only watch so many genocides unfold in full view before concluding that the UN is inherently unable to respond effectively.

But be that as it may, if you are going to write a piece (rightly) savaging the UN for its inability to respond, you ought to at least try to offer up some alternative course of action - one a little less vague than this
We need a serious debate about the formation of an alliance of democracies, working through NATO, which can act to prevent genocide when the United Nations refuses to act. Except for self defense, the U.N. Charter disallows military action without Security Council approval. Yet the architects of that document, the generation that survived the fires of the holocaust, could hardly have intended to create an international legalism to enable another one.

The many victims in Sudan — the women and children sleeping tonight in refugee camps, wondering if they'll be alive in the morning—have nothing to lose from such a venture, and everything to gain.
Yeah - what the victims of Sudan really need right now is some sort of "debate" over the "responsibility to protect" and maybe the creation of a NATO rapid response force.

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