The Blog

U.S. Ambassador to Nations that Give a Damn

9:35 AM, Mar 23, 2006 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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Kosovar Albanians don't think much of the UN but they sure like the U.S. and NATO. This was abundantly clear when I was over there last August. They resented the fact that the UN Security Council sat on its hands while Milosevic's forces rampaged throughout the province. They were also well aware that it was American leadership that moved other nations to ignore the Security Council and act against the Serb forces. Of course, back then Russia and China blocked UN action. The Russians had a soft spot for Milosevic, while the folks who brought us Tiananmen Square believed the killings, torched villages and mass exodus of Kosovar Albanians were an "internal" matter. Today, as this Wall Street Journal editorial points out, it's more of the same:

Today's leading authority on Darfur is the political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who prophesied a world "nasty, brutish and short." At least 200,000 civilians have been killed in the past three years and two million more have become refugees. The source of the problem is the Arab rulers in Khartoum, who have pursued an ethnic cleansing campaign against black Muslims in western Sudan. They've equipped the Janjaweed Arab tribesmen to do the dirty work, and that militia is now attacking civilians across the border in Chad, creating 20,000 more refugees.

To his credit, Kofi Annan started shouting about the problem two years ago, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell labeled it "genocide" not long after that. The U.N.'s mighty peace-making machinery then started to roll and . . . nothing. The Chinese (who have close commercial ties to Khartoum) and Russians have blocked any serious intervention. Arab members of the Security Council have also opposed any attempt to single out Khartoum.

And ABC News reported:

The U.N. Security Council remained divided Monday on imposing punitive measures over the conflict in Darfur despite calls for sanctions against Sudanese allegedly blocking peace in the region.

U.S. Ambassador John Bolton, on the next to last day of the U.S. presidency of the council, scheduled a closed-door meeting to discuss a report by a U.N.-appointed panel that recommended sanctions against key figures from all groups.

Most of the 15-member council were in favor of sanctions, led by the United States, Britain, France and Denmark but Qatar, China, and Russia were strongly opposed, council diplomats said. Qatar is the only Arab member of the council, China is a major buyer of Sudanese oil, and Russia traditionally opposes sanctions.

Perhaps we should create a new position in our diplomatic corps: Ambassador to Nations that Give a Damn about Atrocities.