The Blog

TNR Whacks Gration

3:40 PM, Jul 13, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Scott Gration, the Obama administration's envoy to Sudan, recently returned from that country to declare that the genocide was over, and that what remained were mere "remnants of genocide." This despite the fact that Obama's ambassador to the United Nations had just two days earlier described the situation in Darfur as an "ongoing genocide." This disagreement generated little more than a shrug from the Washington press corps, but even the New Republic seems fed up with Gration and his "literal faith in the power of words to transcend international disagreement."

Of course, it's certainly possible that Gration is offering conciliatory words in public while twisting arms and delivering threats behind the scenes. But, to all appearances, it seems like he is fashioning his Sudan policy around an ideological attraction to carrots and an aversion to sticks--when everything we know about Sudan tells us that this is precisely the wrong tactic.

If the genocide in Darfur really had come to an end on Obama's watch, you could be sure there would be a thousand magazine covers showing Obama as the savior of Africa. But instead we've got a Sudan envoy who is all carrot and no stick and a president who seems totally disengaged from the ongoing genocide, remnants of genocide, or whatever other kind of genocide might be taking place in Sudan. Another example of Obama promising change on the campaign trail only to continue on the same failed diplomatic track pursued by the Bush administration.