Last Monday morning I attended the release of Preventing Genocide: A Blueprint for U.S. Policymakers, the culmination of more than a year of work by the Genocide Prevention Task Force, some of the smartest folks in Washington thinking about ways to stop mass atrocities. Listening to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen come together to say “preventing genocide is possible and that striving to do so is imperative” is incredibly encouraging.
The report is mostly spot-on, and Heather Hurlbert rightly applauds its recommendation that genocide prevention be integrated into the existing U.S. foreign policy structure. Unfortunately, for now, mass atrocities remain a boutique issue in the national security realm. Last week’s 830-page report on national security reform, the heavyweight national security report of the transition season, mentions genocide only three times. Preventing genocide starts by persuading folks charged with maintain security at home that stopping atrocities abroad isn’t just a moral obligation; it’s also in the national interest.