June 9, 2013


A Golden Age for Intervention? (NEIL MacFARQUHAR, 6/09/13, NY Times)

Ms. Rice has repeatedly and publicly castigated herself for her failure to push harder for intervention to stop the 1994 genocide in Rwanda while serving on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration. It was Ms. Power who provided damning evidence, in a 2001 article in The Atlantic Monthly, that Ms. Rice had asked in a Washington teleconference whether characterizing the mass slaughter as "genocide" might hurt the Democrats in midterm elections.

Ms. Power, then teaching at Harvard, won a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for her highly critical portrait of America's repeated failure to stop mass atrocities, "A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide." In the Obama administration, Ms. Power has served in the N.S.C. job Ms. Rice once held, running the office that deals with multilateral organizations and human rights.

The two have become allies and close friends; their bond forged through shared interests and the difficulty women face handling the White House boys' club, said one former official.

"Five years ago you might not have been able to predict where they are now," said Edward C. Luck, dean of the School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego and a former senior United Nations adviser on peacekeeping issues. "They were both idealists, but they have both become practical idealists. Time in government does that to you."

Mr. Luck guided the United Nations' effort to adopt a new global standard known as "the responsibility to protect." It stipulates that the international community should intervene in wars to stop genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing once diplomatic efforts fail. Both women have been staunch supporters of the idea, which was the basis for the NATO intervention in Libya that resulted in the overthrow of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. Ms. Rice pushed through the critical Security Council resolution that authorized "all necessary measures" to protect civilians.

Posted by at June 9, 2013 4:39 PM

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