Did Hillary Clinton criticize her husband for not intervening in Rwanda? Mike Crowley blogged about this on The Stump last week. Then George Stephanopoulus asked her about Rwanda on his Sunday morning show, and Crowley went back to the Rwanda issue, again on The Stump, yesterday.
I'm always interested in history, and particularly in the history of mistakes. But, frankly, I'm more interested in saving the living than in figuring out who's responsible for the dead long ago. You know, that's why I'm more interested in Israel than in the Holocaust. There are living Jews in Israel who need to be allowed to defend themselves. The Holocaust, that's about dead Jews. Nothing can be done for them.
So I am interested in what Hillary thinks about intervening in Darfur. Is she for it? And, if she is, just how much is she for it? The sad truth is that she isn't for it at all. There's a silent agreement among the Democrats not to talk seriously about Darfur. But, about Africans living and threatened with death, Darfur is--how shall I put it?--more salient than Rwanda. I'd be interested also in what Barack Obama thinks about Darfur.
Now, Crowley points out today that two among Obama's advisors, Anthony Lake and Susan Rice (see my own comments on Lake and Rice in the last Spine below), were actually architects of the Rwanda policy and that they are criticized severely in the writings of Samantha Power, who is also on Obama's team.
So, given my obsession with living human beings and just my historic interest in dead ones, I wonder what Power thinks about how American should behave with regards to Darfur. I know what I think and you know what I think. I've had my quarrels with Power and she with me. For example, she has left out of her Harvard c.v. any mention of The New Republic which, frankly, launched her career by publishing her excellent stuff about Bosnia and then in publishing her long-orphaned book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. Almost nobody had noticed her before we did. She is now the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard. I am glad it's "practice of global leadership," not "theory." I suppose that's why Obama appointed her his adviser; probably he assumes that she will teach him the art and science of global leadership, good things to know if you're aspiring to the American presidency.
But will she? Almost certainly not. The fact is that she can't. For what are Power's views about Darfur? Do not be misled by her emotional inflexions. Like the rest of the foreign affairs establishment she relies almost for everything, and certainly for Darfur, on international institutions, especially the United Nations. On anything except the effective use of American force. This is the orthodoxy of those who want to go to Davos, and it is like relying on talcum powder for snake bite. Maybe, in a few years, those responsible for allowing the genocide to continue will journey to Darfur, like Bill Clinton went to Rwanda, and feel righteous about seeing how wrong they were. Or put on a charade pretending to iniquity and sin.