That's simply obvious, right? Why, we must persuade the French, because that is the key to internationalization, which is the cure for all problems; it removes American arrogance and imperialism from the equation, gets us contributions from around the world, and global support.
(Hint for the slow: this is the trope called "sarcasm.")
France opposes UN Sudan sanctionsMeanwhile, in more literal nibbling around the edges:
Refugee from Darfur
The humanitarian situation is worsening
France says it does not support US plans for international sanctions on Sudan if violence continues in Darfur.
The UN Security Council is debating a US draft resolution imposing sanctions on militias accused of "ethnic cleansing" against non-Arabs.
The US also hinted that the sanctions could be extended to the government.Meanwhile, African leaders have urged Khartoum to stop bombing Darfur and say their proposed 300-strong force will have a mandate to protect civilians.
"In Darfur, it would be better to help the Sudanese get over the crisis so their country is pacified rather than sanctions which would push them back to their misdeeds of old," junior Foreign Minister Renaud Muselier told French radio.
France led opposition to US moves at the UN over Iraq. As was the case in Iraq, France also has significant oil interests in Sudan.
Mr Muselier also dismissed claims of "ethnic cleansing" or genocide in Darfur."I firmly believe it is a civil war and as they are little villages of 30, 40, 50, there is nothing easier than for a few armed horsemen to burn things down, to kill the men and drive out the women," he said.
Chairman of the African Union Commission Alpha Oumar Konare said that the 300 troops would arrive in Sudan by the end of July. He said they would intervene if they saw civilians being killed.
Analysts say that at least 15,000 troops would be needed to bring peace to the vast area of Darfur.
The BBC's Barnaby Phillips says the African Union is determined to be taken seriously as a body devoted to solving the continent's problems, but is severely hampered by a lack of resources.
African leaders say they hope richer countries will also do their bit to help.
A draft UN resolution proposed by the US envisages travel and arms sanctions on Janjaweed.A previous Security Council statement on Darfur failed to criticise Khartoum directly, after resistance from Pakistan and China, instead urging cooperation and the disarming of the Janjaweed.
Council members disagree over how long the Sudanese government should be given to resolve the situation itself, says the BBC's Stephen Gibbs in New York.
The 'Janjaweed' militia are accused of ethnic cleansing
Some countries, including Pakistan, say that Sudan should be allowed sufficient time to demonstrate that it means what it says.
But the US remains sceptical over Sudan's commitment to act.
The US draft resolution threatens to escalate the sanctions within 30 days if results are not evident.But diplomats hope that tough talking will force Sudan to act, our correspondent says.
Chadian Radio said President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and President Idriss Deby of Chad had agreed to set up joint patrols along the border. They will also set up a commission to assess the damage caused by raids into Chad by pro-Khartoum Arab militiamen.Warren Hoge reminds us of the virtues of the non-political arms of the UN:
Earlier, President Bashir said the pro-government militias were no longer operating in western Darfur, although a BBC correspondent in the region says this is not the view of local people, who speak of continuing atrocities at their hands.
Hundreds of thousands of refugees are estimated to have fled to Chad from Darfur.
Correspondents say the Chadian government is anxious to prevent the unrest spreading across the border too.Occasional clashes have been reported between Chadian troops and Sudanese militiamen.
Paul A. Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman and head of an inquiry into the oil-for-food program in Iraq, sat waiting his turn to brief reporters one recent morning as a United Nations spokesman recited the daily litany of field reports from the world's most blighted spots.Something not to be forgotten. Non-sarcasm; the wrangling about the foolish politics of the UN, and the fact that many members are oligarchic despotisms, obscures the fact that the agencies do unsung heroic work in areas of health, crisis relief, coordination of international standards, and so on; spots of corruption and inefficiency don't obviate that.
"Wow," he said, looking up in surprise. "I'm really impressed by the range of activities of this organization."
His comment reflected the fact that closely observed subjects like the oil-for-food scandal, General Assembly resolutions on the Middle East or Security Council debates over Iraq can screen out the broader but less eye-catching involvement of the United Nations in places that others neglect.
It is in those places that Jan Egeland, the United Nations' emergency relief coordinator and under secretary general for humanitarian affairs, can be found.
It was he who first sounded the alarm on the present situation in the Darfur region of Sudan. Arab militias there have been killing black Muslim villagers, polluting water and destroying crops. Boyish-looking with a shock of chestnut hair, a Nordic outdoorsman's spring in his step and the methodical delivery of a graduate student taking his orals, Mr. Egeland, a 46-year-old Norwegian, is an improbable doomsayer.
Yet he regularly returns to United Nations headquarters from his trips to conflict zones with unflinching testimony of full-scale villainy and an appeal to conscience that in effect holds the world accountable for not halting the barbarity, in blunt terms not commonly heard in the corridors of diplomacy.
On Wednesday, he told the members of the Security Council that financing for his plan to feed and shelter 1.2 million displaced people in Darfur was only at 40 percent, and he warned them of the stark consequences of failing to raise the full amount. "We will not have enough food, and people will starve," he said. "Now is the moment of truth."
He also unapologetically deals with the groups considered responsible for these attacks, trekking through jungles to meet guerrilla leaders and paramilitary gunmen in places like Colombia and Sri Lanka. "As a humanitarian worker and especially as a peace broker, you learn that if you are there to help the victims from the depths of hell, you have to speak to the devil," he said."You have to shake a lot of hands with people who you know that they know that one day you will actually campaign to put them in jail. But at the moment that you are actually there to strike a pragmatic deal with them, you talk with them - to save lives."
The greatest challenge facing aid workers today is avoiding armed attacks and bureaucratic restrictions aimed at keeping them from reaching people. Mr. Egeland said that in the 20 conflicts around the world, access by aid groups to the victims is either denied or obstructed, and that 10 million people who need basic means for survival are beyond contact.
He said he was gratified that the world had woken up to the crisis in Darfur, but worried about other places that escape notice.
"I don't know why one place gets attention and another not," he said. "It's like a lottery, where there are 50 victimized groups always trying to get the winning ticket, and they play every night and they lose every night. I myself have said that the biggest race against the clock is Darfur, but in terms of numbers of people displaced, there are already more in Uganda and the eastern Congo."
His trade has become a sophisticated one, he said, with the essential tools being experience, planning and professionalism. "You aren't allowed to be amateurish if you are in the game of saving lives,'' he said. "One phrase that has stayed with me since the time I joined the Red Cross as an aid worker was that the one human right that the poor and the vulnerable should have at the very least is to be protected from incompetence."
MR. Egeland said that the United Nations relief operation with its participating private aid organizations had become a highly efficient network and that he could now field an emergency team within 24 hours anywhere in the world and quickly have it dispensing food, water, sanitation, shelter, health care and human rights protection.
"What we lack, though, is the corresponding ethical and moral revolution," he said. "We are ahead of the technical revolution now logistically. But in terms of the moral climate in which we operate, we are still in the medieval ages."
In the 1980's he wrote a book called "Impotent Superpower - Potent Small State" in which he portrayed Norway, which devotes the highest percentage of its money to development of any country in the world, as a "moral entrepreneur." His hypothesis was that in human rights, the effectiveness of a superpower is overrated and the potential of the small state is underrated.
He said if he were writing such a book today, he would still celebrate the power of the small state, but he would recognize the need to have the backing of the superpower.
"Norway is very quick and bold and entrepreneurial in international work, and that is why it is playing such a role in conflict areas and in so much humanitarian work," he said."But it has to be said that the superpower is totally needed for things to work. If the European Union and the U.S. ignore something, we're just lost."
Can there be hakamah for good? Music, pro and anti-war has often had a profound effect.
Before they head out to battle, the militiamen who have been rampaging through the Darfur region in Sudan sit down together on straw mats and listen to songs of war.
Until recently, Fatima Mohamed Sanusi was one of those who used her melodious voice to stir up ferocity in the Arab militiamen. She is a hakamah, a traditional Sudanese singer, and war songs are just a small part of a repertory that includes songs of love, mourning and celebration.
But there has been plenty of fighting lately in this harsh area near the border with Chad, and Ms. Sanusi, like so many other hakamah, has been belting out war song after war song.
Making up the lyrics as she goes along, she has sung of bravery and strength. She has sung of the need to stick up for the tribe. She has sung of the courageousness of past generations.
Her songs, and those of other hakamah, have had their intended effect.
The Arab militias, full of pride and fury, have driven more than one million black Africans from their homes since early 2003, causing a crisis for civilians that the United Nations says is without parallel anywhere in the world.
The fighting is partly a result of a rivalry over resources between groups of Muslims in Darfur. The Arabs are nomads who have long competed for land with black African farmers, also Muslim.
A rebel movement started last year by black Africans here brought the situation to a boil. The rebels say black residents of Darfur have been marginalized by the federal government in Khartoum, which is dominated by Arabs.
Eager to crush the rebels, government soldiers have joined forces with the Arab militias, which are known as Janjaweed. The result has been fierce fighting that has left Darfur in tatters. Most of the victims have been black African villagers caught in the cross-fire.
After so much bloodshed, Ms. Sanusi and some of the other hakamah in Darfur say they have been wishing they could take back their songs. Mostly elderly women, hakamah play an essential role in maintaining the traditions of Sudan's many Arab tribes. They are regarded as wise women who have special insight into the world.
Their change of heart was not accidental though.
In an effort to calm tensions here, the Peace Studies Center at the University of Nyala recently invited Ms. Sanusi and 29 other hakamah to a special two-day workshop for influential community leaders. There were lectures on the history of the conflict and pleas to the hakamah to use their considerable power for good.
Initially, organizers of the workshop said, the hakamah denied that they were to blame for the violence. But as the discussions progressed, one of the hakamah eventually broke down in tears and acknowledged her role in the fighting.
By the end, all the participants agreed that they could do far more than they had been doing to spread nonviolent messages in their songs.
"They are very respected," said Ashwag Elnour, director of the government-financed peace center. "People listen to their songs and follow what they say."
Ms. Sanusi, now well into her 70's, said that "when I was very small, I took care of the cows," and that the training to become a hakamah "began back then."
She learned to sing and dance, waving her hair in the air and gyrating her neck. As she grew, she polished her ability to come up with poetry on the fly, singing words to help babies enter the world, to honor those who had died and to mark community celebrations.
Eventually, after years of training, community elders tapped Ms. Sanusi as a full-fledged hakamah.
She now rewards generosity, bravery and other acts of virtue with songs of praise. Dishonorable acts are denounced through lyrics that send shame to the perpetrators and their kin.
Hakamah are more than poets and singers. They are community judges, of sorts, admired and feared by those who join them around the straw mat.
The songs of the hakamah reach every tribe member's ears, and who would not want one's name lauded in lyrics that float from the throat of the hakamah into the desert night?
"My authority in the tribe is indirect," said Ms. Sanusi, her weathered face peering out of a long yellow robe decorated with brown flowers. "I sit in the tribe and watch the people. If someone does something wrong, I say a poem about it. I change his attitude. If someone is not generous, if he keeps all his money to himself, I'll say something. If someone is not brave in war, I'll say something about him."
These days, however, Ms. Sanusi and the other hakamah who attended the peace workshop devote much of their attention to one topic.
Ms. Sanusi and four other hakamah from South Darfur gave a demonstration the other day. They sat on a straw mat outside the peace center in Nyala, all dressed in bright multicolored robes. Their fingers and toes were tattooed with elaborate designs. It was their voices, though, that were most arresting.
Singing and chanting in Arabic, one after another they showed how hakamah can sing as persuasively about peace as they can of war.
"May the children grow with no fighting in their lives," sang Shara Muhammad Farah-Aldoor."What happened to you, Sudan?" sang out another, Zaida Hamad Jabro. "We mourn the deaths. We long for an end to war."
Where have all the young men gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young men gone?
Gone for soldiers every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?
Read The Rest Scale: 1.5 out of 5.