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June 01, 2005

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! 


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» Darfur News from T.J. Lang
The Democracy Arsenal directs us to a new poll out by Zogby International that shows overwhelming American public support for intervention in Sudan. The key finding: Some 84% of respondents said the U.S. should not tolerate an extremist government comm... [Read More]

» Darfur News from T.J. Lang
The Democracy Arsenal directs us to a new poll out by Zogby International that shows overwhelming American public support for intervention in Sudan. The key finding:Some 84% of respondents said the U.S. should not tolerate an extremist government commi... [Read More]

» The Politics of Darfur from The Moderate Voice
Matt (at his swank new digs) points to this Democracy Arsenal post which, in turn, references a [Read More]

» Darfur Again from Political Animal
DARFUR AGAIN....Over at Democracy Arsenal, Derek Chollet suggests that "Good Policy is Good Politics," but it's hard to see why. The subject is the genocide in Darfur, and he quotes the following from a Zogby poll:Concerning NATO's role — an... [Read More]


Sudan's regime depends on oil exports that flow through a single pipeline and a single port. Western companies developed this field, but they had to leave the country because of shareholder protests. As a result, nearly all of the oil is being sold to China and India. We could end the genocide tommorrow by threating to interrupt the flow of oil.

Oil may indeed be the Sudanese regime's Achilles heal, per corncom. Threatening to cut the flow may be more effective than threatening to use force, and should certainly be tried in the first instance. It won't come cost-free - in a taut but fluid world oil market, less supply to China means higher prices at American pumps. But all liberal interventionists, including yours truly, are morally bound to advocate the use of force only as a last resort, even in the case of genocide.

The no-fly zone had very good results in Kurdish Iraq with minimal risks to US personnel.

"Imagine that: doing the right thing is also wildly popular!" -Too bad the Dems still haven't capitalized on this.

I am in support of military actions, but not sanction. I have seen what sanction did in Iraq. Sanction does not punish the wrongdoers. In Iraq, Saddam continued to build palaces at the expense of his people. The only people who will be hurted by economic sanction are the very same people we want to help.

I don't understand the point of a "no-fly zone" over Dafur. I mean, I don't remember seeing the Sudanese Air Force as the brutal enemy of the people there - isn't it the truck-mounted soldiers and government-supported brigands doing the killing?

Give those under attack arms.

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