Good Genocide Research Paper Example
A glimpse into historical records, it is ostensive that accounts of human civilization is replete with incidences of warfare - warfare that in most cases culminate into war crimes and crimes against humanity (Scherrer, sec. 1). Such notable events take in the Nazi revelation in Europe, the perpetual civil wars in Africa, interstate missile threats, and nuclear crises, and the never-ending cycle of conflicts in Middle East. Records further reveal that humanity customarily wage these hostilities against neighbor empires, nations, cultures, or peoples. In the course of the war, it is customary, that the subjugated societies grow into subjects of the conquering individuals. Such was the case with the Anatolia (Armenians) who became subjects of the Turks in the ranks of the Ottoman Empire during the Armenian genocide. Such was also the case with the Jewish Community and the Russian populace during the Jewish cleansing under Hitler and the Stalin's rule of terror respectively. Such prevalence also included the genocidal mass slaughter of the minority Tutsis by the Hutus during the Rwandan Genocide and the simultaneous genocides against Chinese men and women in 1937 – 1938 Nanjing Massacre. Other such events include the Khmer Rouge's revolutionary social engineering program that killed, displaced, and victimized thousands of Cambodians.
It is in light of such incidences that begrudgingly provoked the global consciousness to take steps towards the ending of planetary genocide. However, the understanding of such matters as Allison points out “depends critically on more self-consciousness of our analysis” of the situation at hand (1969, p. 689). This paper, therefore, examines the human possibilities that lie within such catastrophes while explaining the international response to such savagery.
In its broadest sense, genocide is arguably the worst delinquency known to man. It is in this way interpreted as the premeditated extermination of a group of people delineated by specific attributes such as ethnicity, racial backgrounds, or even by political and religious affiliations (United Nations Department of Public Information, sec. 2). In this regard, crimes against humanity and genocidal episodes are ideological imprints (sets of beliefs and values) designed towards the attack of the targeted individuals’ identities and their eventual elimination (Wendt, p. 391). Its core tenet is hence the ethnicization of difference - that is the marginalization of minorities from the mainstream societies.
As pointed out earlier, the human civilization account is tainted with episodes of mass homicides and annihilations. However, the peak of such events heightened after World War II during the extermination of Jews by Nazis Europe and the killing of Tutsis by Rwandan Hutus in 1994. Consequently, towards the end of the 20th Century, leaders throughout the world declared the “Never Again” decree following the passage of the United Nations Genocide Convention (UNGC) in 1948. Embodied in the slogan was never to allow such atrocities to happen again (Stanton). Tragically, however, the world again stood still during the slaughter of millions of civilians in such places as Darfur and Bosnia. This issue of global inaction on genocide has itself become the core problem that prompts the answer as to what ideological frameworks makes the Western powers and the UN fail to prioritize the problem of genocide.
According to Wendt, the answer lies in the lack of substantial efforts on the part of the international community to end genocide (p. 391). The inaction, however, is fueled partly by the interplay and dominance of realist reasoning in the Western decision-making policies. As a system of meaning, realism like other theories of thought is a powerful shaper of human actions as discussed subsequently.
International Response to Genocide
Judgments in this article concur with the generalized consensus that the prevention of genocide lies squarely in the national interests of the major global Western powers. For that reason, regardless of the governments of the First World and even the UN’s strong condemnation of the abuse of human rights across the globe, their history of inaction against genocide belies their criticisms. This is the case; firstly, bystanders in such events always play vital roles as they usually have in part a positive or an adverse effect on the outcome of the situation at hand. For instance, of the spectators during the Massacre of Tutsis in Rwanda were the inaction of UN Soldiers and the untimely and ineffective support of the government of France. This dithering at the time allowed the slaughter of thousands of Rwandese. On the contrary, the Westerners decided to take action during the disputed 2011 presidential election between Gbagbo and Qattara. This international intervention helped the people of Senegal to a phenomenal degree.
Therefore, when there is a narrow conception of the interests of the Western powers genocide is costly. Such was the case with the events in Rwanda and Darfur, the Holocaust in Europe, the Rape of Nanking, and the current conflicts in the Middle East. Contemplate, for a case in point the financial costs of the international prosecution of genocidaires and the economic costs of rebuilding post-genocidal societies. In addition, as Scherrer points out, concerning crimes against humanity and the instability associated with such events, genocide in totality have austere repercussions for both the regional and transnational instability. An example is the massive destabilization in Central Africa following the events in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Secondly, when the prevention of genocide is broadly conceived as the interests of Western powers, there are positive effects as a result. One such example is the perception of being a better citizenry. Conceivably however is the negative effect of being seen as a global rascal, through negligence like was with the case of Darfur or the Gaza strip. It so follows therefore that responding to genocide is not just a matter of interests but it is first and foremost a global moral obligation that can be achieved through purposeful cooperation (Axelrod and Keohane, 1985, p. 286). According to Klimburg, global cooperation is fundamental to the effective communication and coordination of strategic concerns between a nation and its allies. For instance through the Office of Cyber Affairs, the US State of Department and other international Internet governance entities are able to facilitate global surveillance on possible threats to international security (p. 174).
In addition, response to genocide has also become a global legal responsibility following the rectification of the UNGC. Under this convention, the international community has a legal sense of duty to prevent, tackle and end global genocide. From the realist point of view, even though states are obligated under UNGC, usually countries are exclusively concerned with the promotion of their national interests. This view as highlighted in multiple pieces of literature have come to dominate state’s foreign policies concerning their response to global warfare and conflicts (Allison 1969, p. 690).
However, such realizations have over the years begged the questions as to why states promise to prevent genocide, yet continually stand by while it happens. The reasons for inaction or the intervention in global conflicts by nations has come to be explained by the use of equivalent multiple schools of thought. One such reasoning is the neorealist perspective. According to this perception, the following basic assumptions underlie global nation’s involvement in cases of mass atrocities. Firstly, it is viewed that global states are the sole players in international politics – a system characterized by anarchy (Wendt p. 391). In such playing fields, the neorealist perspective dictates that nations are concerned with individual security and survival (Wendt p. 408). Therefore, the global nations would only intervene in internal conflicts of nations that could only threaten their balance of power and security (Klimburg, p. 171).
In its first assumption of an anarchic system, the state in realist recognition is the highest source of authority. This assumption has consistently led realist to accentuate the model of state sovereignty. In sovereign dogmas, it is the ultimate responsibility of a state to exercise its absolute control over its people and territory. However, the emphasis on state sovereignty has in turn, led to a lack of will among international states to intervene in cases of genocide. Therefore, international inaction against genocide is usually conceived from the premise that it is the concern of the affected state to regulate and address such incidences and not to delegate such responsibility to the rest of the international community.
Secondly, this neoliberal institutionalism is based on the premise that interdependence among nations brands the global system. However, the creation of such relationship is motivated by economic gain and self-interests. Such imagery has over the years clouded the role of Inter-governmental organizations (IGOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in intervening to curtail violations of human rights in numerous places across the world. Another school of thought concerning incidences of such magnitude is the constructivism (otherwise referred to as transnationalism). In this viewpoint, the direction of the global affairs is guided by IGOs, individuals states, and by NGOs. Therefore, the global community is structured by a set of rules and other dictates such as the international treaties under the UN. In this valuation, regimes across the world are subject to international laws and their actions are kept in check by IGO/NGO pressures. Consequently, the self-interests of nations are not the primary mover of global affairs.
What the UN, Western powers, or other institutions can do to prevent genocide
Like any morally relevant and legally binding action, genocide, as itemized above, can either be denounced or supported. Therefore, an individual’s or a people’s convictions can result in erratic responses to acts of genocides. On one hand, while drawing from local, religious, political, or even cultural values, the perpetrators of genocidal acts often feel justified in their actions. They, therefore, further their thoughts to other individuals to garner support for promoting their activities. Others, while not participating directly, however, may help them through financial, technical, or political means. The technical support especially concerning cyber communication has resulted to cyber warfare and cyber terrorism with multiple casualties (Klimburg 2011, p. 41). Still other groups while responding to acts of genocide may take neutral and apathetic stance. However, historical lessons and the international law on genocide has made it exceptionally dangerous for relevant state parties to stand merely by as genocidal acts are committed. Therefore, in order to prevent mass atrocities and end genocide, the UN, and the International Community need to develop a systematic and holistic view on the tasks and voids necessary for the prevention of ethnic cleansing. Thus according to the UN Department of Public Information, “understanding how genocide occurs and spotting the related signs” are significant in preventing such incidences from happening (sec. 4).
Firstly, the Western powers, the UN, and the relevant institutions need to develop a comprehensive genocide alert and an early warning system (Stanton; United Nations Department of Public Information, sec. 8). To achieve this, the international community require a well-coordinated global monitoring system of gross human rights violations. Deploying such techniques as used by security agencies like the Interpol and the CIA, the data collected from such surveillance should disclose elements of organized crime activities. Combined with integrated data from applied comparative genocidal studies, information from the early warning system should guarantee a rapid reaction mechanism to mass atrocities across the globe (O'Hanlon, para. 3).
Secondly, as a way of preventing mass atrocities, the world need to realize that the dissuasion of genocide demands utmost political will and commitment. The UN, NGOs, and individual states need to speak up, advocate and demand that state officials make deliberate moves in the prevention of such bloodbaths. In addition, such demands for accountability should primarily focus on the prevention of armed conflicts. Consequently, the International community should support national efforts on addressing the root causes of violence. They can achieve this through a variety of ways such as political diplomacy, humanitarian aid, or even by advocating for the safeguard of human rights.
Thirdly, to effectively curtail the development of genocides, the Western powers, and the UN need to stop the enablers of genocidal acts deliberately. This measured move comes from the fact that the perpetrators of genocide cannot thrive without monetary and weaponry support of other individuals, corporations, sects, or government. The international community, therefore, needs to identify, track and stop such entities that finance mass violence. Fourthly, the international community needs to make the protection of human rights and the prevention of genocide one of its core values. For instance, the creation of the Atrocity Prevention Board in the US Foreign policy initiative provides supplementary mechanistic tools in responding to atrocities across the world. Such measures are essential to facilitating inter-agency coordination in addressing mass atrocities by eliminating the current international bureaucratic delays in tackling global genocidal episodes.
In sum, it is, therefore, clear that states have moral as well as legal security obligations to ensure the safety of all peoples including those beyond their borders. The global states should guarantee the safety and ensure protection of human rights even when such actions do not coincide with their national interest. Correspondingly, institutions operating at both the local and international levels are expected to provoke global rational dissonance among norm violators in an attempt to halt global genocide. Deductively education, provision of information, and publicity are some of the ways of achieving such milestones. In this way, one such typical gestalt was the creation of the UNGC. UNGC has been instrumental in the identification, definition, and the declaration of the responsibility of members of the international community in combating and punishing crimes against humanity. Therefore, the resultant positive effect derived from the genocide events is the current heightened worldwide prevention of genocide. Such global consciousness has enabled countries around the world to intervene in such places as Kosovo, Cambodia, and Darfur in order to deter mass killings of innocent civilians due to constricted ideologies. And so it is part of the interest of the international community to intervening where possible when ethnic cleansing is happening when a nation's civil liberties are released.
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Wendt, Alexander. "Anarchy is What States Make of It: the Social Construction of Power Politics." International Organization 46.2 (1992): 391- 425. JSTOR. Web. 17 Apr. 2015. <https://ic.ucsc.edu/~rlipsch/Pol272/Wendt.Anarch.pdf>.