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Send in the peacemakers

Diplomacy and a peace deal, not military intervention, offer the best hope of solving the Darfur crisis

By Alex De Waal   October 2007

The “responsibility to protect” is the doctrine that the victims of civil war or humanitarian disaster have a right to foreign succour and, in extremis, the protection of international troops, should their own government, either from incapacity or malice, fail to do the job. The principle of the responsibility to protect—”R2P” in diplomatic shorthand—was adopted unanimously by the UN general assembly in September 2005. It was a mantra for Blair’s personal foreign policy. The R2P is a noble concept, an example of progress in global moral standards. But it is impractical except in the tiniest of dysfunctional nations, such as…

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