The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Edwards Wants a U.N. Peacekeeping Force in Sudan (UPDATED)


Yesterday Edwards has offered his plan for the Sudan.

Edwards said the United States and its NATO allies need to impose multilateral sanctions against the Sudanese government and a no-fly zone over the country’s Darfur region. He also urged leaders to put a U.N. peacekeeping force on the ground to end the fighting that has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced millions.

He also took a shot at his rivals for not offering a specific plan. I’ve been meaning to say something nice about Edwards for a few weeks now. While we on the right may not like Edwards’ plans, at least he’s putting out some fairly specific proposals.

We looked at his tax proposal. One of these days I’ll take a look at his programs for rural communities. Hillary came out with some government reform proposals, although a few of them (like bringing back the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, and the huge data-collecting Rube Goldberg system) suggest she didn’t look very hard at the proposals. Heck, even Chris Dodd came out with a pretty specific proposal for a carbon tax.

What’s Obama got, by comparison?

Or, for that matter, what are the Republicans proposing?

So while I’ll enjoy chewing up Edwards’ policy proposals like a rottweiler going after your slippers, let’s give the guy a bit of credit for coming up with something a bit more specific than “the audacity of hope.”

UPDATE: And while we’re being nice to Edwards, I’d tell Roger Simon and anybody else to get off his back for mentioning “Christ” in a prayer for the victims at Virginia Tech.

UPDATE, AGAIN: Looking harder at Edwards’ actual proposals, we find… not as much there as we might have hoped. Let’s go through them one by one.

1) Edwards said the United States and its NATO allies need to impose multilateral sanctions against the Sudanese government.

Well, look who was calling for this last week:

I have made a decision to allow the Secretary General more time to pursue his diplomacy. However, if President Bashir does not fulfill the steps I outlined above in a short period of time, my administration will take the following steps:

First, the Department of the Treasury will tighten U.S. economic sanctions on Sudan. This new effort will allow the United States to enforce more aggressively existing sanctions against Sudan’s government, by blocking any of its dollar transactions within the U.S. financial system. As part of this effort, the Treasury Department will add 29 companies owned or controlled by the government of Sudan to its list of Specially Designated Nationals. This designation will bar these companies from the U.S. financial system — and make it a crime for U.S. — American companies and individuals to willfully do business with them.

Second, we will also target sanctions against individuals responsible for the violence. These sanctions will isolate designated individuals by cutting them off from the U.S. financial system, preventing them from doing business with any American citizen or company, and calling the world’s attention to their crimes.

Third, I will direct the Secretary of State to prepare a new United Nations Security Council resolution. This resolution will apply new sanctions against the government of Sudan — and against individuals found to be violating human rights or obstructing the peace process. It will impose an expanded embargo on arms sales to the government of Sudan.

2. Edwards called for a no-fly zone over the country’s Darfur region.

The next sentence of President Bush’s proposal last week: “It will prohibit Sudan’s government from conducting any offensive military flights over Darfur.”

(Interesting side note: Congressman Donald Payne, D-N.J., said “we should simply destroy their air force” if the Sudanese government violated a no-fly zone.

Maybe the Sudanese think that we’re serious, because there’s an unreleased U.N. report that the Sudanese are repainting their air force to look like the United Nations’ and African Unions’.)

3. Edwards urged leaders to put a U.N. peacekeeping force on the ground.

I’m sure it will come as a shock to you to learn that the U.S. has proposed this, and found delays and hesitation at the United Nations.

UNITED NATIONS, April 23 (Reuters) – The United States introduced a U.N. Security Council resolution on Monday that calls for a large U.N. force in western Sudan’s Darfur region to protect civilians threatened by violence.

But the draft resolution ran into opposition because it did not focus solely on renewing the mandate for the 10,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Sudan, where troops are helping to keep a truce after two decades of civil war…

But South Africa’s U.N. ambassador, Dumisani Kumalo, immediately objected, saying: “We can’t mix everything in the same resolution.” Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin agreed, saying: “At first glance there were some issues raised which do not have to be in the draft resolution.”

Security Council members were also concerned that the United Nations had not appointed a representative for its Khartoum-based mission for southern Sudan since Dutchman Jan Pronk was expelled last November, diplomats said.

4. Edwards said he doesn’t want U.S. troops on the ground in the volatile region. “That would probably do more harm than good,” he said.

So we tell the rest of the world, “you guys go in there and keep the peace.” Considering that half of NATO won’t send any more troops to Afghanistan, and that Canada is complaining that they feel like they’re being asked to cover too much of the burden, it’s hard to see a huge amount of enthusiasm to commit troops for an open-ended peacekeeping mission in the desert.

So there’s not much to object to, but again, we have a prominent Democrat acting as if the United Nations were not a horrifically dysfunctional organization, and assuming (pretending?)that many countries besides the U.S., Britain, and Australia have a large appetite for using military force on foreign soil for humanitarian operations. I would be more impressed with Edwards if he tackled those issues head on, instead of hoping no one notices that much of the world is just fine with genocide in the Sudan, as long as they get access to the country’s oil.

UPDATE: Boy, you thought I was a skeptic? Check out U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres:

EL-GENEINA, Sudan (Reuters) – Even a force of 100,000 peacekeepers could not secure peace in Sudan’s Darfur region, the head of the United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday.

“No security force will be able to guarantee security in the whole of Darfur. Darfur is very big,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres told a gathering of displaced people at a camp in el-Geneina in West Darfur state.

“Even if you have 100,000 policemen in Darfur, they will not be able to cover the whole territory.”

Bad timing on his comments for Edwards.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson


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