“Practical Idealism” Means Practically Nothing

Phil Zelikow, State Department Counselor and confidant to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, recently gave a speech outlining the Bush Administration’s approach to foreign policy titled “Practical Idealism.” Shockingly, Zelikow congratulated the administration for “helping to make peace happen”in Darfur.

He couldn’t possibly be referring to the paltry logistical assistance to the African Union Mission in the 2005 supplemental appropriations bill that the Administration didn’t even request but rather tried to keep out. Even if he was, that aid was dwarfed by the recent pledge of the Canadian government to provide money and military advisors to the AU Mission.

Furthermore, the notion that there even is a “peace” to keep in Darfur is preposterous. On Thursday, Rice restated the Administration’s position that genocide is occurring in Darfur. Of course this is something she probably should have discussed with her Deputy Secretary of State Bob Zoellick, who has downplayed the number of dead and backed away from the genocide label.

Using the g-word and providing meager assistance to the AU covers over the fact that the Administration has refused to take serious action to stop the killing, rejecting calls from Congress to impose a “no-fly” zone or place strict sanctions on the perpetrators of the genocide.

In this case, Zelikow’s “practical idealism” has resulted in practically nothing for the victims of mass-murder in Darfur.

— Ken Gude