A problem from hell

A problem from hell review

Defining genocide as the commission of certain crimes with the ''intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such,'' the convention called for perpetrators to be punished and for contracting parties ''to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide. The same Washington, of course, is a place of defeatism, inertia, selfishness and cowardice. Her passionate interest in genocide was sparked by her baffled indignation as a young foreign correspondent at the Clinton administration's reluctance to intervene in the slaughter of , Bosnians between and Worse, it has made a resolute commitment to not acting. As ambassador to the United Nations, Power cannot and should not simply be a humanitarian advocate. For more than two years, the administration has progressed along the continuum of intervention — denouncing Assad, imposing sanctions, and drawing a red line in the sand on chemical weapons use — as the death toll has steadily risen. A world in which the US stops dodging its international responsibilities, signs up to such global initiatives as the World Court, and helps build a stronger UN to enforce such laws as its charter against genocide, is a very different matter. The answer, she wrote more than a decade ago in her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide , is "simply put, American leaders did not act because they did not want to. But there is obvious irony in the fact that while previously, as these books illustrate so clearly, determination was often lacking to deal with crises that most people agreed were serious, there was no shortage of it when the Bush administration moved to deal with a crisis on which there was no global consensus at all. Power recently showered Ban with praise at a dinner the U. If she did, she would not be so swift to dismiss the role of international institutions in favor of American unilateralism. Reports from the front, by survivors, refugees or courageous journalists and diplomats, have been ignored or discredited. On Twitter, she linked to a minute-long video montage of images of children writhing in agony from the apparent effects of toxic agents.

Power has room, in this substantial volume, for only passing mention of the massacres of similar and larger scale in Nigeria, Bangladesh, Burundi and East Timor, among other places. Pre-Lemkin, and to a shameful extent since, national governments have been left free to treat their own citizens as they choose, ethnic cleansing being as much or as little a matter for foreign interference as any other domestic policy.

samantha power

There, the Clinton administration ignored early warnings of impending catastrophe, declined to intervene and, according to many, opposed United Nations peacekeeping efforts. Paul Wolfowitz was sincere, too.

Her colleagues described her as informal and approachable, contrasting her favorably to her often combative predecessor, Susan E.

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She identifies heroic protesters, invariably as ignored or reviled as Cassandra, while revealing astonishing evidence, much of it new, of just how much the US government of the day knew, whatever it may have said at the time.

A world in which Bush Junior's America plays moral policeman and goes in shooting on its own self-interested evidence is not a world with much appeal to its supposed allies among other Western democracies.

Power's book makes a major contribution to that debate and is required reading for anyone inclined to take part.

the education of an idealist: a memoir

American political leaders go to great lengths to avoid uttering the word in cases where they hope to remain disengaged; they do not hesitate to use it, however, when they wish to stir up public outrage in support of military action.

Instead, she presses for the United States to act like something other than the self-interested superpower it is.

A problem from hell citation

Why for instance, she asked, do we upbraid the Palestinians for abusing human rights, while turning a blind eye to the excesses of close allies like Pakistan or major world powers like Russia? If it succeeds, the deal could mark a major landmark in efforts to contain the use of chemical weapons. Pre-Lemkin, and to a shameful extent since, national governments have been left free to treat their own citizens as they choose, ethnic cleansing being as much or as little a matter for foreign interference as any other domestic policy. She has written of a continuum of intervention — from strong public denunciations to sanctions, peacekeeping, and diplomatic entreaties to influential neighbors — to dissuade countries from committing excesses. Power recently showered Ban with praise at a dinner the U. Power's book makes a major contribution to that debate and is required reading for anyone inclined to take part. Her passionate interest in genocide was sparked by her baffled indignation as a young foreign correspondent at the Clinton administration's reluctance to intervene in the slaughter of , Bosnians between and

In '' 'A Problem From Hell,' '' Power expertly documents American passivity in the face of Turkey's Armenian genocide, the Khmer Rouge's systematic murder of more than a million Cambodians, the Iraqi regime's gassing of its Kurdish population, the Bosnian Serbian Army's butchery of unarmed Muslims and the Rwandan Hutu militias' slaughter of someTutsi.

Yet those reservations could not prevent ''genocide'' from becoming the speech-act Lemkin intended in popular parlance. But American troops stand as a last resort. For more than two years, the administration has progressed along the continuum of intervention — denouncing Assad, imposing sanctions, and drawing a red line in the sand on chemical weapons use — as the death toll has steadily risen.

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A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (Paperback)