April 11, 2008

China as the Scapegoat for International Failures with Sudan


It’s interesting how politicians are quick to paint China as the one to blame for all the troubles and human rights violations in Sudan. The logic runs as follows, and is not completely unjustified: China resists efforts to sanction Sudan in the UN Security Council, which gives cover for the government in Khartoum. The international community would be in a better position to pressure Sudan if it could speak with the unified voice of the Security Council.

But it is a funny kind of logic, in that it seems to argue that, because China can exercise a veto in the Security Council, the democracies are somehow OBLIGED to continue trading and doing business with Sudan. Moreover, doesn’t this suggest that China somehow prevents democratic countries from, on their own, putting pressure on Sudan? How convenient. Beijing becomes the excuse for inaction. (And is China forcing other countries to trade with Sudan).

Democratic Japan–a country identified by Senator McCain as a leading power to be included in any concert or league of democracies–is Sudan’s largest export destination (48 percent)–because Sudan’s oil, to be blunt, doesn’t stink. Democratic Britain via its official trade and investment promotion agency talks up Sudan as a place for investment and business. Yes, China is Sudan’s largest provider of imports (at 18 percent) but democratic France and democratic Germany together make up 10 percent and democratic India nearly 5 percent.


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