The International Criminal Court ordered the arrest of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan yesterday. The New York Times has an article up today about the reaction in Sudan, that illustrates the pointless nature of the ICC's action. The ICC declared him a criminal and ordered his arrest, even though they have no power to arrest anyone. In response, Bashir gets to posture and whine about "new colonialism," calling the ICC action "a conspiracy designed to recolonize his country." That statement is both funny and sad. It's funny, because the ICC has no power to do anything, let alone "recolonize" a country. It's sad, because the unfortunate truth is that most people in Sudan would be far better off as a colony of any western power. For Sudan, freedom and independence mean the freedom to slaughter each other in large numbers.
The ICC's action is a prime example of the type of meaningless feel-good political activity that is at best useless, and at worst counterproductive. Is Bashir a worthless human being who is responsible for various atrocities? Yes. But what good will come of this action? It allows him to claim he's being persecuted by foreigners, helps generate support from certain elements in Sudan, and complicates ongoing relief efforts. And for what?