Monday, September 25, 2006

Tomgram: Morse on Bush Administration "Appeasement" in Darfur

Strange, isn't it, how reductive our world sometimes turns out to be? Bring up any subject these days -- try genocide in Darfur, for example -- and sooner or later you seem to end up talking about oil. At this moment, the world is experiencing an energy race. Think of it as the twenty-first century's equivalent of the arms races of the previous two centuries. Everywhere there is a hint of an energy source or resource, you find a mad dash for the (black) gold.

The Middle East may be the oil heartland of the planet, but in a world in which energy demand is on the rise and fears of limited energy reserves are rising as well, Africa, like Central Asia, suddenly finds itself in the crosshairs of oil exploration. The Pentagon is soon likely to announce the setting up of its own Africa Command, with new basing moves on the continent sure to follow. Though such developments are invariably presented in the context of the President's Global War on Terror, they are essentially energy moves.

As David Morse indicates below, we are hardly alone. In Sudan, for instance, along with the Europeans, the Chinese are now major players and the ongoing slaughter in Darfur turns out to be significantly connected to oil exploration. In late August, the Bush administration launched the mid-term election season in this country with a round of "appeasement" charges against the opponents of its war in Iraq. Morse, an expert on the situation in Sudan, considers that charge of "appeasement" in the context of the genocide in Darfur and the oil race in that region. Tom

Appeasement Driven by Oil

The Bush Administration and Darfur
By David Morse

The Bush administration is now in the habit of hurling the charge of "appeasement" at critics of its Iraq war. Anyone who has followed the President's stance toward Sudan closely will appreciate the deep irony.

President Bush has targeted "Islamo-fascists" across the globe as successors to the Nazis, while likening his own position to that of Roosevelt and Churchill in World War II. "We're in a war we didn't ask for," he recently declared, "but it's a war we must wage and a war we will win."

Never mind that the war he "didn't ask for" began with a preemptive shock-and-awe strike on Iraq, based on fabricated evidence, or that his administration has done more to fan the flames of Islamist extremism around the world than to contain it. Just focus on that charge of "appeasement." Only when we shift the spotlight from the President's critics to George Bush himself and his stance toward Sudan's troubled western province, Darfur, does the charge make any kind of sense.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

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