Thursday, September 20, 2007

Intervention or not?

How to relieve people from oppression? Must the very act of empowerment mean that the seizure of power must be by those who are oppressed overcoming their own oppression, or can that empowerment be assisted by external, well-intentioned forces? If intervention in Iraq is "wrong", how can it be "right" in Dafur? If the rest of the world watches, as we did with Cambodia, or intervene UN style (weakly, pathetically, ineffectively) as in Rwanda, is the outcome still acceptable?

A timely editorial on Dafur, protest and inconsistent policy thinking.

Do I have a simple answer? No. But then again, I view any simple answer to such a vexing and profound problem to itself be problematic.

In Dafur as with Iraq, Bosnia, Chechnya etc., the attempt to apply quick, easy answers is part of the problem. Conflicts are rarely simple, free of geographic context nor solvable with a standardized solution. The failure of the UN as an organization is its failure after 50 years to be any closer to an ongoing resolution of such conflicts.

Update: Two other, thoughtful essays on this topic, one on Sudan and one on Iraq, that illustrate the complexities involved.