Monday, June 05, 2006

# Posted 1:52 PM by Patrick Porter  

THE LIMITS OF MULTILATERALISM: Forging alliances and seeking to persuade remain important tools of diplomacy. But in Darfur we are seeing the dangers of enshrining international agreement as the sine qua non of foreign policy.

At the British Hay Festival, Hitch, as usual, says it memorably:
I sometimes ask myself: if it weren’t for Iraq, could we have done more, or even something about Darfur?...Without this, we might have been able to try and arrest the genocide of our African Moslem brothers and sisters at the hands of death squads of Arab Moslems.

But, even as I say that I realise… that it was decided to play Darfur Kofi Annan’s way. This time it’ll be consultation, this time it’ll be negotiation. This time no pre-emption, this time no unilateralism. And we know that the genocidaires ran out the clock of that spare time to complete the genocide. Now there’s almost no-one left to kill.

So everyone has to face this question. And I’m sorry to say that it will not be decided by jokes about George Bush’s IQ.

(2) opinions -- Add your opinion

This is not an argument for ad hoc unilaterism but rather for clear rules and conditions for humanitarian intervention. 'Multilateralism', being the tool with which to develop these rules, conditions and responsibilities. Without this, we risk relativizing all arguments for the use of force for humanitarian purposes, as Hitch gets away with in the above quote.
Possibly, but how do you get nations with strict attitudes to inviolable sovereignty, such as China, to agree to 'rules, conditions and responsibilities' for humanitarian intervention?'

Instead of trying vainly to persuade the entire international community, why not engage countries like India and Japan in a democratic alliance? You might have more of a chance of developing this framework for intervention.
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