Viewers of ABC's new hit show "Scandal," a sexy political drama that purports to unveil the indecent underbelly of our nation's capital, have, undoubtedly, found some of the show's plot lines a bit familiar. We've already seen Olivia Pope, a renowned Washington, D.C., fixer and public relations extraordinaire, played by Kerry Washington, represent the infamous D.C. Madam, uncover the body of a Georgetown co-ed left for dead in Rock Creek Park, and assist the wife of a Latin American dictator in seeking asylum in the United States. Olivia does all of this while carrying on an affair with the president. If another show, on another network, had not already laid claim to the phrase, one could easily say that the fictional plot lines in "Scandal" are "ripped from the headlines."
One plot line that has recently run through multiple episodes concerns a possible genocide in the fictional country of East Sudan. Under pressure from some in his administration, as well as his wife, President Fitzgerald Grant, played by Tony Goldwyn, must decide whether to launch a U.S. military intervention to stop the genocide and protect the innocent citizens of East Sudan. Some within the White House believe that a strong U.S. response to the suspected genocide will play well at home for President Grant, who is soon to launch a re-election bid. While grappling with this decision, President Grant discovers that the CIA tampered with photographs of East Sudan in a failed bid to convince the White House that a genocide is underway.
The East Sudan story line touches upon the real life political calculations that presidents must make vis-à-vis foreign policy decisions, particularly before an election cycle. The fictional East Sudan should also remind us of the all too real genocide that occurred in the North African country of Sudan (no "East") nearly 10 years ago. In real life, the Sudanese government ...[view whole blog post ]