Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We burned the village in order to save it - Diplomacy or military intervention for Darfur?

Chris Blattman's Blog: Links I liked

Chris Blattman posted a link to this great article by Mamdani on the issue of military interventions targeted at preventing genocide. Mamdani's book on 1994 Rwanda is one of my favorite. Bottom line is that military interventions typically inflame the violence they're intended to halt.

Why relevant? Samantha Power is off to the NSC.

Mamdani's a challenging writer, make yourself read the whole thing. Here's a teaser:

What the humanitarian intervention lobby fails to see is that the US did intervene in Rwanda, through a proxy. That proxy was the RPF, backed up by entire units from the Uganda Army. The green light was given to the RPF, whose commanding officer, Paul Kagame, had recently returned from training in the US, just as it was lately given to the Ethiopian army in Somalia. Instead of using its resources and influence to bring about a political solution to the civil war, and then strengthen it, the US signalled to one of the parties that it could pursue victory with impunity. This unilateralism was part of what led to the disaster, and that is the real lesson of Rwanda. Applied to Darfur and Sudan, it is sobering. It means recognising that Darfur is not yet another Rwanda. Nurturing hopes of an external military intervention among those in the insurgency who aspire to victory and reinforcing the fears of those in the counter-insurgency who see it as a prelude to defeat are precisely the ways to ensure that it becomes a Rwanda. Strengthening those on both sides who stand for a political settlement to the civil war is the only realistic approach. Solidarity, not intervention, is what will bring peace to Darfur.

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