That cold context – and the fact that China has invested billions in exploration, production, pipelines, and weapons plants – underscores the implausibility of every option being endorsed by the Western punditariat.
Since China wields veto power on the United Nations Security Council, no serious multilateral sanctions, arms embargo, or effective military intervention can happen. A NATO or US-backed no-fly zone would inevitably mean occupation, since securing refugee corridors from the can't be done from the air. It would also polarize the region, further align the US against both Muslim and Chinese interests in Africa, and escalate tensions without addressing China's fundamental motivations.
Darfur has become a five-year slaughter because of the failure of the West to devise serious incentives for China to bring Khartoum and the rebels to the table. Direct approaches to Khartoum to find a political solution have been a travesty and cannot succeed. The only way to get the Khartoum government under control and resolve this humanitarian crisis is to enlist China's economic and strategic self-interest – directly.