Monday, May 08, 2006

Mark Steyn on Clooney on Darfur 

Thanks to Austin Bay's blog, I read an essay by Mark Steyn published in The Australian. Steyn notes the recent public plea by actor George Clooney for a "multinational force to protect the civilians of Darfur," and analyzes what the term "multinational force" might mean.

If it means paying lip service to the notion that "something must be done" in Darfur, then "multinational force" means some cobbled-up UN sponsored group of people carrying guns who stand around and watch as more African Muslims and Christians are slaughtered and gang-raped. If, on the other hand, the term means a competent, professional and well-led military organization with the means, the will and the stated mission to bring an end to the genocide (not the UN's term) in Darfur, then "multinational force" means at least two of four countries (the US, UK, Australia and Canada) plus whatever others have the gumption and the will to send a company or two of soldiers.

The sad fact is that the English-speaking countries are the only ones to call when you want real results. Unfortunately, members of the chic left like Clooney don't want to admit it. According to Steyn, Clooney thinks "liberal" has become a dirty word and he wants to change that. Steyn's priceless response: "[Y]ou're never going to do so as long as your squeamishness about the projection of American power outweighs your do-gooder instincts."

Steyn is not only a clear thinker on these kinds of issues, but he can turn a lovely phrase. Here's his last two paragraphs (but you really should read the whole thing):
Those of us on the Free Iraq-Free Darfur side are consistent: There are no bad reasons to clobber thug regimes, and the postmodern sovereignty beloved by the UN is strictly conditional. At some point, the Left has to decide whether it stands for anything other than self-congratulatory passivity and the fetishisation of a failed and corrupt transnationalism. As Alexander Downer put it: "Outcomes are more important than blind faith in the principles of non-intervention, sovereignty and multilateralism."

Just so. Regrettably, the Australian Foreign Minister isn't as big a star as Clooney, but I'm sure Downer wouldn't mind if Clooney wanted to appropriate it as the Clooney Doctrine. If Anglosphere action isn't multinational enough for Sudan, it might confirm the suspicion that the Left's conscience is now just some tedious shell game in which it frantically scrambles the thimbles but, whether you look under the Iraqi or Afghan or Sudanese one, you somehow never find the shrivelled pea of The Military Intervention We're Willing To Support. (Emphasis mine.)

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