Tuesday, May 13, 2008


So I've been developing what I call the Children on a Playground Theory of International Diplomacy. The name is somewhat self-explanatory. Simply put, nations behave like children on a playground. The difference is, the impartial would-be authority figure, the Secretary-General, has no authority whatsoever.

But that doesn't stop the children from coming to him with their complaints.

This morning, for example, after the Darfur rebels launched a completely failed attack on Khartoum, both Sudan and Chad wrote letters to the Secretary-General. The Sudanese Ambassador complained of "Chad's systematic violation of the Dakar Agreement ... and of all other agreements previously signed by the two countries." He went on to accuse Chad of "continuation of its acts of destabilization," specifically of giving military aid to the Darfur rebels. The Chadian Ambassador, by contrast, complained of Sudan's "entirely baseless accusations intended to excuse Sudanese Government action to destabilize Chad," and says it has nothing to do with the Darfur rebels and is a peace-loving country.

They also broke off diplomatic relations and refused to speak to each other, choosing instead to hurl insults and epithets back and forth across the Sahel.

Bear in mind, the SG has no power to stop this conflict or to mete out punishment or judgment on either side. Furthermore, as representative of all the member states, he virtually never signals any of them out for explicit criticism, and he basically never takes sides in a dispute.

The only thing he can really do is get both sides to sign peace agreements, which he has done repeatedly. In fact, they signed the latest one in Dakar not two months ago.

Sidenote: little-noticed in the media, Sudan's Ambasasdor Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad referred to this incident as "our September 11th."

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