From Peace Prize to Paralysis
WHEN a government devours its own people, as in Syria or Sudan, there are never easy solutions. That helps explain President Obama’s dithering, for there are more problems in international relations than solutions, and well-meaning interventions can make a crisis worse.
Yet the president is taking prudence to the point of paralysis. I’m generally an admirer of Obama’s foreign policy, but his policies toward both Syria and Sudan increasingly seem lame, ineffective and contrary to American interests and values. Obama has shown himself comfortable projecting power — as in his tripling of American troops in Afghanistan. Yet now we have the spectacle of a Nobel Peace Prize winner in effect helping to protect two of the most odious regimes in the world.
Maybe that’s a bit harsh. But days of seeing people bombed and starved here in the Nuba Mountains have left me not only embarrassed by my government’s passivity but outraged by it.
The regime of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is dropping anti-personnel bombs full of ball bearings on farming villages. For one year now, Bashir has sealed off this area in an effort to crush the rebel force, blocking food shipments and emergency aid, so that hundreds of thousands of ordinary Nubans are now living on tree leaves, roots and insects.