Can the American alliance stop colluding in genocide?

Publisher:
UTS ePress
Publication Type:
Chapter
Citation:
Genocide Perspectives V: A Global Crime, Australian Voices, 2017, pp. 207 - 229
Issue Date:
2017
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The concept of genocide, and outspoken abhorrence for what it stands for, have arisen over the last hundred years on the back ofWestern sensibilities and legal initiatives. Yet since the end of World War Two, Western countries have typically failed to take action against actual or impending genocides, in spite of the growth of explicit legal and moral obligations to do so. Some Western countries have even avoided denouncing genocidal regimes, and failed to withdraw their economic and diplomatic privileges from them. In some cases Western countries have colluded with these regimes in ways that go beyond bystanderism, even if bystanderism remains the most ubiquitous and effective form of collusion in virtually all historical genocides. In this essay I probe this gap between pious recoil from genocide in the abstract on the one hand, and passive and active practical collusion in genocide on the other. I will extend the concept of active collusion to include self-interested (overt and covert) overseas incursions, ones that sow the seeds of genocide by unleashing mayhem on a grand scale, and subvert the long-term project of creating an international rule of law, of which the prevention of genocide forms an integral part. I look at the provenance of the contradiction between pious recoil and practical collusion, and at the challenge of closing the gap between sanctimonious self-preening and effective responses to genocide. Genocidaires commonly commit cognate crimes, such as starting wars, and crimes against humanity like routinised torture.
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