Monday, July 21, 2008

Trying to move Sudan...

From Chinaview
CAIRO, July 20 (Xinhua) -- A senior Sudanese official said here his country is seeking for legal defenses to refute International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor's call to arrest Sudanese president over alleged war crimes, the Egyptian state MENA news agency reported on Sunday.

Sudan is consulting Arab legal experts in this regard, Sudanese Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Salman al-Wasilla said at a seminar in Cairo.
Sudan, which is not a member of the ICC, has rejected the ICC allegations, dismissing them as "null and false" and maintaining the ICC has no jurisdiction over Sudan.

Now that latter para should ring a very loud bell with a wide range of people, not least those from the US, because Sudan is not alone in adopting this approach.

As for criticising Sudan for going this way, people should realise that the US (a good number of your citizens) does seem to have this peculiar penchant for choosing quite strange comparatives to support untenable positions. Most recent example I can point to from the probligo's universe would be Dave Justus use of Nigeria as the example of support for GWB from a democratic country that in his opinion should represent the rest of Africa - well, sub-Saharan Africa at least - if not global support for GWB.

So, here y'go. Why should Sudan not refute the ICC's jurisdiction over their President when there are other, far more powerful, instances where the same approach has been taken.

Personally, I read articles like this with a quiet tear in the eye. Not because Sudan is Sudan, or that the principle of sovereignty is wrong. It is because in the world of real politics there is no equity, no "justice", without the might of arms.

In the instance of Sudan, there is no difference (as I see it) between China's support for the present regime there and the US's involvement in Iraq. I still do not believe that there is any fundamental difference in the political rationales used to justify their involvement (by either of China and the US). I still do not believe that there is any real difference in the outcomes - if Iraq is quietening down it may well be because the Sunnis are leaving for Syria, Iran, Jordan, Saudi... take a visit to riverbend.blogspot to see the story of just one person.

Most importantly, both China and the US are equally at odds with my personal beliefs. But then I have no say in the actions of either nation; and let's face it neither would be interested if they even knew of the probligo's existence.

There lies the crux of the problem in Sudan. The people affected can be ignored simply because "they do not exist". Oh, there are several million displaced persons; how sad, never mind. There are thousands been murdered; again, how sad, how cruel, how ... undemocratic. "I" can blame the Chinese; "I" can blame the UN; "I" can blame the probligo even. It makes no difference. "I" don't know any of "them" as people and hence their pain and suffering can be easily set aside.


Dave Justus said...

To clarify something, I didn't choose Nigeria as a representative of Africa, a survery that you quoted did, as Nigeria was the only African country in that survey. I don't know if you followed President Bush's trip to Africa a few months ago, but he is quite popular in most of the nations there. If though you are determined to remain convinced that Bush is unpopular in Africa, I suppose I can't stop you. I bet you can't find a lot of evidence for that though.

I find this odd: "Most importantly, both China and the US are equally at odds with my personal beliefs."

Really? You find yourself EQUALLY far from both of them? I suppose that a complete anarchist might be able to make that statement, but anyone else? You can't decide if you are closer to approving of Tienenman Square or how protests in Berkely are treated? You can't figure out if you like state control of newspapers and massive controls over the internet less then you like U.S. support of the second ammendment?

If what you say is true, I have to wonder what your beliefs are. Something halfway between the U.S. and China would be an interesting political position that I am having a pretty hard time imagining.

As for Sudan, it is hard for me to understand you equating the U.S. support of the democratically elected Iraqi government, which while not perfect, hasn't been practicing genocide, with Chinese support of Sudan which is practicing genocide. That you, and so many people like you, can't seem to see any difference between these things is one reason people like me don't support the ICC.

The probligo said...

"I don't know if you followed President Bush's trip to Africa a few months ago, but he is quite popular in most of the nations there."

Yes, very likely he was, Dave. He should have been shown the respect due to his position - as he would in NZ. He would also have been feted by all those (predominantly politicians) who would be looking for anything they could get out of the visit - from photographs of themselves with "the man" to funding of their latest self-help "aid" project to cheap guns and missiles.

My point about Nigeria was that it is hardly "democratic" in any way that you or I might understand. People in Nigeria have far less political freedom than those in South Africa, Russia or Ghana. That is truly "democratic".

Very quickly as I eat my breakfast -

I despise China for Tianenmen as much as I despise US for the Patriots Act. Think about that for a moment... rather than shooting off keyboard with brain in reverse.

I despise China for its occupation of Tibet as much as I despise the US for its occupation of Iraq. When you get to the fundamentals of it all are there really any difference? Oh, yes Iraq was invaded to bring democracy. Right. According to the Freedom Institute Iraq ranked some 30 places below Nigeria...

Dave Justus said...

I presume you mean Freedom House, rather then Freedom Institute, as it is the former that ranks democratic progress.

I expect in NZ, Bush's visit would be the cause for rather large public protests. He isn't very popular in New Zealand. His visit to sub-saharan Africa was quite the opposite of that, as instead he was treated to widespread public support. A lot of this is due to his efforts to combat aids, but he has done quite a bit of other things for Africa as well. Even Bono supports his work in Africa. It seems to me you are willingly blind on this issue, and have substituted prejudice for becoming educated and employing reason.

I am thinking about Tianmen and the U.S. Patriot act, how since the passage of the patriot act we have seen all political protest stopped by violence and thousands killed when they tried to peacefully protest...oh wait...that didn't happen. I don't know what you think the Patriotic act does, but at the end of the day, it gives U.S. law enforcement somewhat less power in relating to terror investigations and prosecution then the civil authorities of such despotic nations as France. I'm not sure where exactly New Zealand's laws on this are, but I would expect that they are very similar to the post-patriot act U.S.

As for Tibet and Iraq. I note how just like the U.S. in Iraq, China has worked to establish an Independant Democratic government in Tibet...oh once again their may be a few differences there.

Your inability to make any sort of moral distictions is a continual sort of amazement to me.

The probligo said...

Dave, you are the one with the fixation on Nigeria. I agree, that is the only African nation in the survey and that is a great pity in many respects.

I say again, as a representative of "democracy", Nigeria leaves much to be desired. Shame it is (from that point of view) that Freedom House did not survey Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania or South Africa. Those results would have been interesting irrespective of which way they might fall.

Can I remind you that Nigeria was the nation castigated by the west for the application if Sharia law; stoning to death of a woman "guilty" of adultery and the such like. Yep, I guess that makes it a real democracy.

China/US comparisons (and my sarcasm did not come through) are about as meaningful as comparisons (and I have seen these made) US/Iran, Israel/Palestine, US/France (viz "such despotic nations as France") and the suchlike.

France is "despotic"? Explain please.