Darfur: Good Policy is Good Politics
Posted by Derek Chollet
It’s not just us foreign policy wonks who believe that the U.S. must take stronger action in Darfur – we now know that by vast majorities, the American people agree. Today the International Crisis Group and the polling firm Zogby International Opinion released a revealing, and important, new survey showing that the American people know what is going on in Darfur, and support strong action to end the genocide. What’s reassuring is that this support cuts across party and religious lines. It shows what I have long believed: that more often than not, good policy is good politics.
Some of the highlights:
- 84% of respondents said the U.S. should not tolerate an extremist government committing such attacks, and should use its military assets, short of inserting U.S. combat troops on the ground to protect civilians, to help bring them to a halt (significantly, this includes 83% Republicans and 85% Democrats).
- When asked about specific measures the U.S. might take, an overwhelming 91% of respondents say the U.S. should cooperate with the International Criminal Court -- to which, of course, the U.S. does not belong -- to help bring to justice those accused of crimes against humanity. Strong majorities also support tough sanctions on Sudanese leaders who control the militias (81%).
- Concerning NATO's role – an idea we have championed here – 80% support creating a no-fly zone over Darfur, and 76% support NATO logistical and troop support for an expanded African peacekeeping force. However, support falls quickly away at the prospect of U.S. military action; just 38% of likely voters think the U.S. should send troops under its own flag (which is not surprising).
Congrats to ICG and Zogby for conducting such a poll (ICG’s advocacy and analysis have been critical to keeping attention on Darfur and what to do about it). These findings deserve wide attention -- and should serve as a call for greater action. Imagine that: doing the right thing is also wildly popular!