Darfur’s Challenge To International Society

Published: 2008    |    By: David R. Black & Paul D. Williams    |    Volume 65, No. 6


The human tragedy of Darfur has now lasted for nearly six years. As David Black and Paul Williams argue in their analysis of this shocking record,the story is one of ‘self-interest and risk aversion masked by ethical posturing’ on the part of all the key international players who might have provided leadership in response to this crisis. Why is it that major countries as well as international organizations failed to craft more robust responses in spite of their own often good intentions and the almost unprecedented pressure from organizations within civil society? In the context of a discussion of theories of international society the authors conclude that the widespread use of “responsibility to protect” language should not obfuscate the fact that international society remains wedded to the traditional principle of national sovereignty. Change may be coming, but not in time for the people of Darfur.

About the Author

David R. Black is Director of the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies and Professor of Political Science and IDS at Dalhousie University.

Paul D. Williams is associate professor in the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University.