We have allowed Sudan's rulers to present themselves as behaving mercifully. The two peers who flew to Khartoum will be seen as representatives of our Parliament bending the knee.
The appeasing Foreign Office has been as hopeless handling Mrs Gibbons as it has in preventing the genocide in Darfur.
The Sudanese government, with its Janjaweed militia allies, have murdered 200,000 of their own citizens, and displaced 2million more. But despite endless international hand-wringing, the situation in Darfur is as bad as ever.
Meanwhile, Britain is one of the most generous donors to Sudan. Over the past five years, ministers have provided £333million in aid to the country; this year, we are giving another £110million.
Yet in return, we have neither managed to stop the obscenity of Darfur, nor apparently can we even protect our citizens from politically inspired malice.
Rather than kow-towing to this dreadful regime, we should cut off aid flows, insist that the UN stops dithering and puts a proper peacekeeping force on the ground, and enforce real sanctions on the country.
Dictators will never understand appeasement. Only strength of purpose.