Never again? : the United States and the prevention and punishment of genocide since the Second World War / Peter Vincent Ronayne
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 295-299)
Post-World War 11 history has proven with disturbing clarity that the Holocaust was not the century's last genocide. Horrible events in Cambodia, Iraq, Bosnia, and Rwanda have tragically demonstrated that we have in fact experienced what some have called an “age of genocide.” However, there exists a surprisingly limited body of scholarship dealing with American foreign policy and genocide since the Second World War. To help fill that void, this dissertation explores a fundamental question: How has the United States responded to the scourge of genocide in the post-World War II era? To answer that question, this dissertation investigates the record of American foreign policy vis a vis three prominent genocides, in the post-World War II era: Cambodia, Bosnia, and Rwanda. As background to those case studies, this study also explores the 40 year delay in the United States' ratification of the United Nations Genocide Convention. The centerpiece of this dissertation is the development and exploration of case studies dealing with the United States and genocide. However, theory plays an important role in this policy-centric work. Classical realism and constructivism both provide a framework in this dissertation to understand better and critique fairly the United States' record on genocide prevention and punishment. This dissertation makes a twofold argument. First, it demonstrates that the United States has lost significant opportunities to act against genocide. The US has not been so concerned with the goals of the Genocide Convention to merit intervention and swift retribution to prevent genocidal acts. Instead, geopolitical concerns and domestic political issues have caused the United States to abdicate leadership, even look away from genocide, and thus in part hinder the evolution of an international norm of genocide prohibition and prevention. This dissertation also details how a gradual evolution in policy has occurred. Special attention is paid to American support for post-genocide tribunals and other initiatives in which the United States has acted outside of intervention to promote the punishment component of the Genocide Convention.
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