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Panel Urges Obama to Re-structure U.S. Gov’t to Prevent Genocide

December 18, 2008

I am admittedly late in getting to this, but its been busy around here!

Several weeks ago, a panel led by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and former Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen, released a report on genocide prevention.

While I haven’t gone through enough of the report to provide a thorough analysis, at first glance, many of these recommendations look similiar to a sign on letter Bridget and I wrote last month.

However, there was one really great highlight that occurred at the press conference. When asked about the military aspect of genocide prevention, Madeline Albright stressed the need and importance of early, flexible and robust non-military efforts to prevent crises from spiraling into mass killing. Bill Cohen reaffirmed Albright’s comment, by saying we need to increase U.S. efforts to stop genocide before it happens. Wow, this sounds familiar to what Caroline A. wrote in FCNL’s press release on The Responsibility to Prevent!

It also is provides a far more nuanced perspective on U.S. foreign policy and genocide prevention. Madeline Albright, who once asked “whats the point of saving this superb military for, Colin, if we can’t use it?” is now advocating for what FCNL and others have been saying for years. While genocide can occur very quickly, as it did in Rwanda, the conditions in which genocide and ethnic cleansing occur are capable of being spotted much earlier. By increasing international efforts to assess and address these conditions, we can truly live up to our collective responsibility to say “Never Again.”

President Obama’s administration should move quickly to implement these recommendations, and make prevention of these crimes a priority of his administration.

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