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Credit where credit is due

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Nick Kristof’s column today is very good, and by my estimation right on just about all counts. As an added bonus, it contains almost no direct or indirect references to the author’s daring globetrotting adventures in dogoodery.

Here’s an important and oft-understated point:

Be realistic. We don’t have our national interest at stake in Darfur.

But we do. Sudan’s chaos is destabilizing surrounding countries, especially Chad, which is an increasing source of oil for us. Moreover, when states collapse into chaos, they become staging grounds for terrorism and for diseases like ebola and polio (both have broken out recently in Sudan).

Here’s a case where the morally right thing to do–preventing genocide–is so right for so many reasons that it simply can’t help but be the right thing to do in a practical sense as well.
This could also be an opportunity for the US (and perhaps Bush himself) to begin the process of restoring whatever reputation we had as sober and serious world leaders. Tragically, the odds of Bush acting (which were slim anyway) are much worse since the troop commitment/boondoggle in Iraq has him pretty well tied up. I don’t hold out much hope for a Kerry administration doing much about this either, although it’s quite possible it’ll be too late to do much good anyway by January.

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