There is an interesting editorial in today’s UK Guardian where it is argued that, while the humanitarian crisis that is Darfur requires the immediate attention of and action by the UN, Tony Blair and George Bush are two of the world’s leaders that would be most inappropriate to be advocating such action given that both “…have been almost completely discredited as morally driven interveners after the experience of Iraq. If they fail to get the UN sanctions they need, establishing another coalition of the willing to bomb Sudan's airfields could falter on precisely these grounds.” In other words, nobody trusts these leaders any more and as a result, thousands more are likely to perish.
It is Tony Blair according to another UK Guardian report that is advocating that the UN intervene with the possible use of force to enforce a UN sanctioned ‘no-fly zone’. The US is supporting the UKs efforts to get military and other sanctions imposed.
The problem is; Blair simply cannot be trusted. Even as recently as yesterday, Blair was still saying that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was UN sanctioned, despite the recently departed Secretary-General of the UN, Koffi Anan, clearly stating that the war was in fact illegal. The international community is very much aware that it has been taken for a ride at the UN by the senior partners in the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ and is reluctant to support anything that the US and the UK propose because there is still the sense that, even when the proposal seems to be based purely on moral grounds, the US and the UK under the leadership of Bush and Blair respectively usually have some ulterior motive for their proposals. Certainly, historically, neither leader has ever done anything that has not in some way been in their interests either politically or economically.
So, what to do? The US and UK can’t be trusted under their present leaders to do anything that may be driven by morality alone; China is out of the question because of its preference to remain isolationist; Russia still has human rights issues that it needs to sort out before it can claim any moral high ground to intervene in a humanitarian crisis; all of which really only leaves the EU being qualified to do anything about it. At least that way the UK can still be actively involved and play an important role – as long as it is under the leadership of the EU and not Blair.
The upshot of the problem is twofold; first there is the immediate problem of what to do for the people of Darfur given that they need help right this minute, and, second, what to do for the long term to restore faith in the UN to the point where it no longer is just another agency to be used and abused at the whim of the US and it’s right-wing allies in the Western world to start wars that are only in their interests.