Issue 1, May 2008
|European Union/North Atlantic Treaty Organization (EU/NATO)|
These supranational organizations work primarily through the African Union in their support of peacekeeping endeavors in Darfur. Both provide humanitarian assistance; neither will provide troops to the hybrid force; there is often squabbling between them on the logistics of their support for the AU.
Some see this lack of capacity on the European continent as a product of US policies following WWII designed to limit the ability of individual European nations to act outside US-influenced alliances. Several commentators have argued that given the level of European experience on the African continent, their Diaspora populations, and continuing commercial and military interests in certain former colonies, Darfur should have represented a golden opportunity. One or two European nations could have regained positions of leadership and moral authority in this world (long thought to be ceded to the US) by meaningfully intervening in an emerging humanitarian disaster. The EUFOR forces deployed in Chad and The Central African Republic theoretically provide an opportunity to do just that, albeit on the fringes of the Darfur conflict. French Foreign Minister and Doctors Without Borders founder Bernard Kouchner believes that the EU can meaningfully impact the situation in Sudan by stabilizing its borders and protecting refugees. He believes this role cannot be filled by the US with its reputation in the Muslim world, and is a perfect role for the EU to play.
Others disagree, saying a country as large as Sudan is beyond US capacity to deal with (Sudan is larger than Iraq), and way beyond anything the Europeans can manage alone. Furthermore, the EUFOR force in Chad and the CAR has been described by some as a sham. The Economist interviewed a former British army brigadier and member of the European Parliament who deemed EUFOR a “ramshackle enterprise” whose main goal is “flying the EU flag.” In any event, most EU nations are largely demilitarized outside their regional body commitments, and would be unable to provide more than limited military intervention in Darfur.
Symbolically, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has advanced the cause of Darfur and other potential conflict zones by acknowledging publicly in April 2008 that global warming is being caused by carbon emissions (primarily from outside the African continent) and is a leading cause of the crisis in Darfur. President Sarkozy has not yet decided if he will attend the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Games. German President Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown will not attend.