Getting It Right: What the United States Can Do To Prevent Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity in the Twenty-First Century

It has become a dispiritingly sad and almost pro forma ritual: The outgoing U.S. Secretary of State expresses his or her regrets about failing to do enough to stop genocide and war crimes in remote regions of the world. The regrets are sincere; I have no doubt. Yet, given the very predictability of this pattern, some hard questions should be asked. Three, or perhaps seven, years from now, will Secretary of State Hillary Clinton take a hushed moment in her exit interview with a media luminary of the day to express her qualms that more was not done to stop widespread killings in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Somalia, Chechnya, or Iraq? Why is it that Democratic and Republican administrations seem to struggle equally, albeit in different ways, with these foreign policy quandaries? Is the problem ultimately an institutional one, or is it more a question of leadership?

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