I was just subjecting myself to the Chinese water torture that is watching Hardball, and Chris Matthews, David Corn, and Jill Zuckman were discussing Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. As Chris Matthews is wont to promote, the discussion mostly centered on the politics of the choice, shying away from serious policy concerns, and I know this because Darfur was a larger part of the discussion than Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and peace in the Middle East.
Look, I don’t want appear insensitive, and there are some truly horrible things happening in Darfur, but this just won’t be an area of serious foreign policy focus. If there’s one thing Bush’s neoconservatism has taught us it’s that the scope of American power simply isn’t what we thought it was. As is, we’re stretched thin in Iraq and have yet to really deal with a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan. Diplomatically, there’s of course the issue of Iran, the Middle East, and just generally assuaging our allies of our good intent. Simply put, problems in these regions directly relate to our national security and (unfortunately) economy so that’s where our resources will and should be deployed. If anything happens with Darfur, it’s going to be a largely international effort (which won’t be easy in the UN — NATO is more likely) and the absolute soonest we might expect a substantial effort would be some time during an Obama second term.
In an ideal world, we’d have the resources and international support to intervene, but realistically, it’s just not high on the agenda.