Presidential Candidates and Their Stance on Darfur
During last night’s CNN-YouTube debate among Democratic hopefuls, the candidates were asked what they would do to make Darfur safe.
Governor Richardson, the candidate with the most direct experience with Sudan, argued for a diplomatic approach to convince China and the EU to increase economic and political pressures on the Sudanese government. He also argued for using diplomacy at the UN to replace AU troops with UN troops, noting that these UN peacekeeping troops would be “primarily Muslim.”
Sen. Biden argued that Darfur can be likened to Bosnia under Milosevic, thus that the situation there calls for the swift deployment of U.S. troops. Recalling one of his visits to a Darfurian refugee camp during which a man told him “Thank you. Thank you, America for coming,” Biden claimed that 2,500 Americans could “stop the genocide now.” He concluded his remarks by advocating for a no-fly zone.
Former Senator Gravel blamed the situation on an irresponsible American foreign policy that has made African nations afraid of U.S. involvement.
Senator Clinton agreed with Richardson on the need to increase pressure on China, as well as his proposal to step up economic sanctions on the Sudanese government in addition to speeding up divestment from Sudan. She agreed with Biden on the need for a no-fly zone, noting “we can do it in a way that doesn’t endanger humanitarian relief.” According to Clinton, the no-fly zone would be enforced by NATO, with the United States providing vital logistical support. Unlike Biden, Clinton does not support U.S. troops on the ground in Darfur.
Senators Dodd, Kucinich, Obama, and former Senator Edwards were not given an opportunity to respond to the question. However, Senators Dodd and Obama (as well as Biden and Clinton) co-sponsored Senate Resolution 559 (introduced on Sept. 7, 2006), which encouraged President Bush to work with NATO and the UN in establishing a no-fly zone.
So which one (if any) has it right?