by Barry Rubin
The Obama Administration apparently thinks that its policy of engaging repressive radical anti-American dictators has been working so well as to extend it now to
That country’s government, once accused of genocide in the south, is now said to have been doing the same thing in the west. Mass murder and ferocious repression—300,000 people have been killed; 2.7 million made refugees--has been so prevalent that the country’s president Omar al-Bashir is under an international indictment for war crimes and Sudan is on the State Department list as a country sponsoring terrorism.
Far from being inconvenienced by this fact, however,
So to anyone who understands how international affairs works it would appear:
A. That the
B. That the
C. The United States is afraid of
None of the above points are true. Therefore, this raises a case study regarding the most important issue of all whose absence from the Obama Administration list of priorities is most noticeable on every issue:
What will the Sudanese government do for the
This sounds familiar:
The U.S. government announced the withdrawal of a plan to put anti-missile missiles in the
So we see the same pattern:
--A major concession while receiving nothing in exchange.
--The timing of a concession at a moment when the other side is acting in a particularly aggressive manner.
This is justified, however, by what might well be called the administration’s “cookie” philosophy. This was expressed by retired Major General J. Scott Gration, who has been handling
No, that’s not how things work. Reality is better expressed by a Sudanese dissident who said that
So how does the administration guard against such an outcome? It warns that the violence and humanitarian abuses must stop. But a verbal warning from a government eager to renounce toughness and eager to forget all trespasses against
You see, the argument is that engagement will make the lives of people in
--Real pressure is applied.
--Concrete, material proof is presented by that country’s behavior before the benefits are provided.
--There is real evidence the regime wants to change its behavior.
All these conditions are lacking regarding
But here’s the problem: If the
--They will be angry and denounce Obama, thus undercutting his vaunted international popularity.
--The resulting friction might force the
--Friction could lead to military measures, thus pressing the
I am not being cynical or joking in providing this list. Such things are the ideas and goals which paralyze the Obama Administration from the kind of policy needed in today’s world.
Equally, there is nothing either conservative or liberal in this analysis. It is the framework by which almost all previous American presidents have conducted foreign polic. If anything, liberals have historically been far more forthright in wanting to pressure repressive dictatorships. Yet here is a presidency supposedly built on compassion whose policy means that
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.