The crisis in Darfur has stirred the souls of millions of Westerners due to its similarities with a similar crisis in Rwanda in the mid-1990s. The challenge of the Rwandan genocide to the Western mindset was this:
For 60+ years, we have all used the crimes of Nazi Germany to reinforce respect for our position of power in the world and to create a sense of social identity based on common values. Therefore, we may not be able to agree whether The Beatles or the Rolling Stones were better bands (obviously the Stones, I mean they still haven't broken up yet), but we all can agree that Nazi Germany was bad, death camps were bad, Auschwitz was bad, Hitler was really bad, and anybody else in the world that is bad can be likened to those who committed crimes against humanity.
If you don't agree that Hitler was bad, you may be guilty of a "hate crime". If you write a book saying the Holocaust never happened, or wasn't as bad as they say it was, then you are a "Holocaust denier" and must promptly go to jail, preferably in Austria, where you are forced to eat Viennese sausages and think long and hard about your crime. We in the West take that stuff quite seriously.
Even in the Russian Federation, the ghost of Hitler still helps them forget the ghost of Stalin. I mean Stalin may have killed more people, but they were just Ukrainians, and besides, Stalin induced famines or sent them to death camps to starve, he wasn't as ingeniously evil as Hitler and his gas chambers. So even in logic-suspended Russia, Hitler is used to reinforce the idea of the state as good and Russians as a good people.
Rwanda challenged that because, unlike in Yugoslavia, the world sat by and did mostly nothing during what most describe as brutal genocide. Since this occurred at the same time as the situation in the states that used to comprise Yugoslavia, people began thinking, "why Europe and not Africa?" One of the answers was that (perhaps) we cared more about the lives of Europeans more than Africans, and if we did, then that was very bad.
So Darfur means more to the West than just stopping endless bloodletting. It's a test over whether or not we can redeem ourselves on that continent and redeem our values to ourselves. In that vein, it appears that the first place our Nordic Battle Group of the EU, which includes 2,000 self-absorbed Swedes, 200 taciturn Finns, 150 egalitarian Norwegians, and 50 cocky Estonians and has an awesome flag, will be Darfur.
Jyri Häkämies (cons), the Finnish defence minister, told the Finnish News Agency (STT) in an interview released Thursday that the EU might deploy its Nordic battlegroup into Africa next year.The Scandinavian mainstream media has been clamouring for peacekeepers in Darfur, and this could be seen as another attempt for the Nordic countries to put themselves in harm's way to show that they still adhere to certain values, ie: "genocide = bad, when genocide occurs, we do something about it."
"Darfur is a very challenging mission. I have observed in the Nordic context that these countries have forces on stand-by for which challenges are being sought. When the battlegroup becomes active under Sweden's leadership next year, there is quite a strong sense that the destination may be Africa," Mr Häkämies said.
Indeed, if you read Swedish or Norwegian blogs, you'll see that rather than bitching about Carl Bildt's latest real estate scandal, they are morose over prospects of peace in the Middle East and solving the problems of Darfur. That is, they are even greater fans of uphill skiing than the Estonians.
I'd put good kroner/krooni down on this deployment taking place. You don't just train for a few years in Sweden and then sit on your hands waiting to take back Viipuri. At that point, Estonians will be in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Sudan, doing their part for Western self-respect and the world community.