Friday, March 25, 2005

The limits of the democratization project

I was positively shocked to find the Wall Street Journal op-ed page publishing this piece decrying the international inaction in Sudan, and not just fairly apportioning blame for that inaction, but also pointing out how the Darfur case gives the lie to the Bush's regime's claim that the ultimate end of its foreign policy is to promote democracy: "The truth is that combating crimes against humanity is simply not considered a national security issue."

Apparently, the main sticking point in sanctioning a multilateral intervention in the Sudan is that France wants to insist that whatever crimes have been committed there get tried in the International Criminal Court, whereas the U.S. refuses to do anything that would provide that court with legitimacy. (The Bush regime would prefer to have no international institutions, and instead provide ad hoc international tribunals for particular cases of crimes against humanity.) Both the French and the the U.S. are holding the people of Sudan hostage to the diplomatic dispute. (The U.S. also claims that the Russians and Chinese would veto any use resolution to use force in Sudan, but this is unproven, at best.)

This is classic 1990s-style Great Power "consensual minimalism": i.e., do nothing until there is complete Great Power consensus. It certainly shows the Bush Doctrine -- which states that the U.S. should have the sole and exclusive right to dictate when and how force can be used in international relations -- has not been universalized. Meanwhile, the Sudanese people suffer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been attempting a discussion with liberal hawks over at normblog, neo-neocon and others,old norm is developing quite the personality cult,they are singing his praises on socialist as well as patriot sites,near Hitchens status.Following his piece in Dissent on Left Reductionism, which to me seemed almost a self parody in the extent to which it "reduced" the left,I have been trying to engage this curious sect but as a Marxist there seems to be to much disputed space between my reality and theirs. You mentioned an exchange you had w/Norm but I did not locate it.Discussing issues with likeminded people has been valuable in helping to better shape ideas( and there is a great deal of worth in your posts)
but I also was hoping for a forum of real debate. Instead I find I am accused of having "an exclusive hold on moral discernment" by those who seem to see no irony in their judgements.
As to democratization, the US decided yesterday to sell F16s to Packistan (a model democracy) but in the interest of international balance Lockheed -Martin is offering to let India in on some of the contracts! Boggles the mind. Israel meanwhile proceeds with massive settlement building and Condi Rice can only clear her throat because she is busy trying to spin the weekly revolution/ riot of the Kyrgyz (what a fantastic word)into something a little less illegal, a little more democratic."The center cannot hold" and it is impossible to form coherant analysis because the terrain is vaporous.I rely on this,at least for now."Once the running of the state involves a permanent and massive shortage of historical knowledge, that state can no longer be led strategically." Debord. or is it strategery?