Stopping the genocide in Darfur needs a mandatory UN Security Council resolution. This is apparently blocked by Khartoum’s protector in the UN Security Council, China. Why? China is run by out-and-out Kissingerian realists. It doesn’t care one way or the other about the deaths of black African Muslims. It has oil concessions in Sudan, large for the hosts but chickenfeed in relation to China’s overall needs. It doesn’t want to offend other Arab oil exporters that in turn don’t want to offend Khartoum and don’t care about the killings either. Finally it is worried about setting a precedent for intervention in China’s internal affairs. (For a hopeless, quixotic and politically incorrect argument that the last fear is ill-founded, see here .)
These are substantial interests, but not strategically vital ones. Arab oil exporters sell to countries they disagree with, like the USA, which is powerful, and Australia, which isn’t. Sudan needs China more than the reverse. Precedents are in the eye of the beholder. So here’s the question: is there some other diplomatic Monopoly card, held by countries that care a bit about genocide, that China’s leaders might care about more? Yes: more voting power in the IMF. The USA is trying to secure them this, the Europeans oppose.
Why not make the linkage?
PS update: It’s not arbitrary. The IMF charter has no wide political content, but it’s an instrument of global governance; and it looks proper to me to hold China to its (very Confucian) obligations of stewardship of world peace in the framework where it has been given great authoriy, the UN Security Council.