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Darfur: the Biggest Test for Obama’s Africa Policy?

In an opinion piece in U.S. News and World Report today, William J. Dobson of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace urges the Obama administration to stop dragging its feet on Darfur:

Like it or not, the Obama administration now faces an important test. Foreign policy challenges are typically of the thorniest variety, and in many cases, decisive action is precisely the wrong choice. That isn’t the case here. It is vital that the administration recognize the danger of muddling along. More than two months since Bashir decided to victimize his people once again, the administration has yet to respond and the clock is ticking for Darfur.

Click here to read the entire article.

One of Dobson’s major recommendations involves reaching out to key international stakeholders. "In some respects," he writes, "there is less a need to apply pressure on Bashir’s regime than to apply pressure everywhere else."

Based on reports today, it seems that the Obama administration may finally be thinking (or at least finally be acting) along the same lines. This week, U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration plans to visit China, Qatar, Britain, and France in an effort to "align positions on the Darfur peace process under the leadership of United Nations-African Union joint chief mediator Djibril Bassole."

Here’s to hoping that this signals the beginning of a real, long-term commitment to U.S. leadership on the issue.

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