In an op-ed in USA Today, George Clooney and activist John Prendergast express frustration at the Obama administration’s position on Darfur, which has been, the contend, too much on the sidelines.
They write, “The good news is that this path to all-out war is
unfolding in slow motion, and there is time to prevent it. The U.S. has
a history of leading international efforts in Sudan, including helping
to broker the 2005 peace deal. But the Obama administration has not
taken a direct, leading role in the negotiations to avert renewed war
in the South or to end the Darfur conflict. Furthermore, some U.S.
officials believe that the United States has no leverage in Sudan.
“Because of international sentiment that opposes
sanctions and other forms of pressure, the U.S. shies away from creating
any real consequences for Sudan’s war crimes. And because activists and
Congress strongly favor imposing such consequences, U.S. officials
avoid serious discussion of peace incentives. We know; we’ve been a
couple of those activists.
“U.S. officials can break out of this box and
build leverage in support of peace by presenting a Door 1 vs. Door 2
scenario, in which good outcomes would result from peace, and serious
consequences would be triggered by war. Parallel carrots and sticks are
the key to this approach.”
Clooney visited the White House early last year and met with Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden to urge the administration to appoint a special envoy, which they did. But he and other activists have been disappointed in the diplomatic approach since then — as well as the lack of action.