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Edwards and Darfur

5:20 PM, Jan 3, 2007 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is a smart politician. He wants to rapidly drawdown U.S. troops in Iraq and escalate our involvement in Darfur. Both positions are extremely popular with Democratic primary voters. On ABC's This Week, he explained what he'd do to end the atrocities in Darfur:

EDWARDS: Well, it depends on what your definition of a moral cause is and what moral leadership is. The kind of things that I'm talking about, I think there would be universal support for. Doing something about the genocide in Sudan and Darfur.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Even if it takes American troops?

EDWARDS: No. Actually, my own view is that putting American troops on the ground in Darfur would probably be a mistake. It would probably do more damage than good. But there are obvious things we can do in Sudan. The Janjaweed militia have air support from the Sudanese government. We could enforce a no-fly zone. We ought to be much tougher about imposing sanctions on the Sudanese government. But the genocide, global poverty, the spread of HIV-AIDS, the atrocities that occurring in northern Uganda -- there are a whole range of places that America would have basically universal support if we showed some leadership.

And the last thing I would say about this, a lot of people would think, well, this is a quote "feel good" thing. He wants the world to feel good about America. This is much more than that. Without America as the central stabilizing force in the world, there is no stability. There's chaos. There's no one else that can do this. We have to do it.

Edwards is right. American leadership is often crucial in successfully dealing with the world's problems. He's also right that a no-fly zone should be enforced and stiff sanctions should be slapped on Khartoum. But he's wrong about "universal support for doing something about the genocide in Sudan and Darfur." Moscow and Beijing (and the Arab League for that matter) haven't been very helpful. Both governments have coddled Khartoum on the Security Council and have extensive business ties with the regime. So to end the brutality in Darfur any time soon what we're really talking about is a coalition of the willing, one that targets Khartoum's economy and aircraft operating in support of its proxy forces in Darfur. America would lead such a coalition and no doubt would be accused of acting "unilaterally" by some governments. So be it.