May 6th, 2019
Modern Policy Paper
During the twentieth century, instances of genocide were responsible for over 40 million civilian deaths internationally. In addition to those who died, millions were tortured, raped or forced from their homes.[footnoteRef:1] As defined by the United Nations Genocide Convention, genocide is a plan deliberately formulated to extinguish a national, ethnic, religious or racial group by mass killing, harming, or removing children from the group.[footnoteRef:2] From the Roman's mass murder of Christians in the first century to Hitler's extermination of Jews in the 1930-40 Holocaust to the government-induced deaths of one million Rwandans in 1994, genocide has tainted history since the ancient world.[footnoteRef:3] What makes most cases of genocide so hard to combat is the fact that the majority of them are perpetrated by the government itself,[footnoteRef:4] which raises a question: what gives one nation the authority to prosecute the government of another? To address this very issue, the United Nations passed the Genocide Convention in 1948, a treaty that deemed genocide a crime and required its signing nations to prevent and punish genocide.[footnoteRef:5] Unfortunately, the continual occurrence of genocide throughout history suggests that they will not cease to occur anytime soon. As much as the United States wants to prevent and bring an end to genocides internationally, trying to stop all of them is simply an unrealistic goal. Before intervening in the interests of other nations, the United States must consider its own strength and safety. While the United States should speak out against international genocide, it should refrain from physically intervening unless the event directly affects the political and economic stability of the country. [1: Brown University, Confronting Genocide: Never Again, 5th Edition Choices Program Watson Institute (Providence, Rhode Island: Brown University), PDF file, 1. ] [2: Brown University, 2.] [3: Brown University, 1.] [4: Brown University, 2.] [5: Brown University, 7.]
Great consideration must be taken when deciding the appropriate time to intervene in a genocide, making sure that the affair has a potential direct impact, both politically and economically, in the United States. Furthermore, sending United States troops into another nation in attempt to end a genocide only adds to the violence and death toll. One example of a failed attempt to quell chaos by intervening was the United States’1992-1993 military intervention in Somalia.[footnoteRef:6] The operation, part of an international humanitarian and peacekeeping effort, was beset with difficulties from the beginning. The widespread famine, absence of Somalian leadership, and consistent bedlam in the streets in the capital city of Mogadishu beleaguered the security operation.[footnoteRef:7] On October 3rd,...