IN OTHER WORDS
Darfur, Congo, Rwanda and, before that, Bosnia. It is hard to contemplate man’s capacity for
inhumanity without feeling despair. The world usually pays attention only after the killing has spun out of control, when ethnic, religious and political divides are rubbed so raw
that the furies are infinitely harder to calm. By that point, the US and others are faced with the agonising choice of either intervening militarily or allowing the killing to go on.
A report by a task force headed by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Defence Secretary William Cohen offers some hope, arguing that it is possible to prevent genocide before it spins out of control. It offers practical policy suggestions — what Albright calls a “mechanism for looking at genocide in a systematic way” — for the next administration.
Four years after President Bush declared the mass killings there genocide, the horrors continue. As many as 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million driven from their homes. With the region increasingly engulfed in inter-rebel warfare, a political settlement appears to be further out of reach. We hope President-elect Barack Obama and top aides will consider the report’s recommendations before they, too, find themselves grappling with such agonising choices. — International Herald Tribune