During a recent Symposium on Preventive Priorities at the Council on Foreign Relations, Adjunct Fellow for Africa Michelle Gavin rightly argued that, “Robust, intensive diplomacy,” and “A real understanding of…incentives and disincentives,” must be the hallmarks of American foreign policy.
The fact that Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is now in trouble underscores Gavin’s point. As John Prendergast and John Norris note:
The CPA itself—the agreement to end the 22-year war in southern Sudan and establish a framework for democratic transformation of the country—was reached in 2005 after a sustained investment in diplomacy, led in part by the United States and backed by significant incentives and pressures. That hard-won agreement would not now be in jeopardy if the investment in diplomacy had been maintained and the international community had continued its pressure to ensure that the agreement was implemented.
Effective diplomacy means paying attention even after a peace agreement is signed, and an implementation of any agreement is often more difficult than simply reaching an accord on paper. Prendergast and Norris have advocated for a “peace surge” in Sudan. Gavin, it seems, is in agreement.