Outside editorial: Pressure to bear for Sudan

Posted: Friday, June 01, 2007

President Bush's call on Tuesday for additional economic sanctions against the African nation of Sudan may not save one life in Darfur today. Or tomorrow. Or a month from now.

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But it is a necessary step in turning up the volume in protest of a situation that has been tolerated for too long.

After all, silence about the killings in Sudan's western province allowed them to reach the level of genocide.

The four-year crisis in Darfur has left more than 450,000 people dead from violence or disease and another 2.5 million people pushed out of their homes.

World leaders aghast at the ongoing genocide have found that shaming Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir into ending the killings isn't possible. If shaming al-Bashir won't work, perhaps putting pressure on his sugar daddy might.

China has provided billions of dollars in investment, oil revenue, infrastructure development and arms sales to Sudan. Almost as important, Beijing provides Khartoum with diplomatic protection at the United Nations.

There's an interesting characteristic about Chinese government officials that might be useful: They are extremely sensitive to international criticism on the eve of some big event that will spotlight their country.

This is precisely the time for the international community to get serious about sanctions against Sudan and against nations that have enabled genocide to continue.

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