Although the administration has been almost silent on Darfur, what noises are being heard are not encouraging. Maj. Gen. Scott Gration, the president's special envoy to Sudan, has reportedly floated the idea of easing sanctions on Sudan and removing it from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. It is hard to fathom what Khartoum has done or could credibly promise to do that would justify this level of accommodation. And, if the administration plans to negotiate with Bashir through incentives, it will seem every bit as naive as its critics have claimed.
In the meantime, more will die as Khartoum uses the people of Darfur as a bargaining chip. What is needed now is for the administration to change the rules of the game. Make it clear to Sudan's elites that Bashir, not the people of Darfur, is the chip they should play. Whether they choose to or not, it will lead to a better deal for Darfur.
Corrected on : William J. Dobson is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.