TNR's roundtable on Darfur has a new member: Andrew Natsios, U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan in 2006 and 2007 and a professor at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. In the conversation's seventh installment, Natsios argues that the ICC arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir--a half-hearted threat that simultaneously undermines negotiation and emboldens the Bashir government to fight against regime change--is exactly the kind of move the United States should avoid:
We constantly overestimate our own influence over events inside Sudan (and other countries as well), misunderstand the internal political dynamics we are dealing with, and simultaneously pursue contradictory strategies toward the country, alternating between engagement and regime change. When we go after them, they respond in kind. That is why I think the U.S. should pursue an aggressive diplomatic strategy geared toward achieving a political settlement that can bring some stability back to the country, and arrest slide toward state failure.
Some advocates argue the Obama administration should use military force to expel Bashir from power. What is the likely human cost of the military option? Bashir and his allies believe if they lose power they will be at risk of execution by their own people or arrest and trial at the ICC if they leave the country. One of the most powerful figures in the government has said they will "make the country ungovernable" if they are forced from power. I believe they are not only capable of it, but will do it. The regime was about to begin arming Nile River Arab populations in greater Khartoum to help security forces massacre the two million displaced Southerners who live in the city in late 2007 when SPLA troops seemed to be massing for an attack on Khartoum.