In a strong and perhaps rare show of unity, all three candidates declared in a joint statement released today by the Save Darfur Coalition, that waiting for the end of the Bush administration will do the Sudanese government no good. McCain, Clinton, and Obama said this:
Today, we wish to make clear to the Sudanese government that on this moral issue of tremendous importance, there is no divide between us. If peace and security for the people of Sudan are not in place when one of us is inaugurated as president on Jan. 20, 2009, we pledge that the next administration will pursue these goals with unstinting resolve.
Though the statement is mostly symbolic — the three are not proposing any specific Congressional action against Sudan, or any tangible steps by the United States to put pressure on the Sudanese government — is it an effective way to send a message to the government of Sudan that the next American president will continue to hold firm on Darfur?
At least 200,000 people have been killed there since the Arab-dominated government of Sudan unleashed tribal militias known as the janjaweed on non-Arab rebel groups and civilians. The Sudanese government says that number is exaggerated and denies that the killing amounts to genocide. Is a joint statement a good omen for the coming campaign? Will it help?