Should preventing atrocities as President Obama said on his Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities (August 2011) "be a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of...

Should preventing atrocities as President Obama said on his Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities (August 2011) "be a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States"? Why?

How is preventing atrocities linked to a core national security interest?

Asked on by cenicienta

1 Answer

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pholland14 | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

President Obama's Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities was meant as an attempt to stop crimes against humanity.  In the study directive, the president cites the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide as two crimes where Americans did not act decisively.  The president also cites the refugee crisis created by these mass killings and he states that Americans often have only two options in dealing with these disasters: military intervention or doing nothing at all.  In this directive, Obama seeks to enlist the help of allies within the region of the atrocity and governmental agencies such as the Peace Corps and the Department of Homeland Security so that the government will have more flexibility in dealing with these disasters.  

I admire the idea of the US wanting to stand for human rights worldwide.  I also admire the idea of the president wanting to use non-military force to handle the atrocity. The US has had long-term military engagements to protect human rights around the world; in some cases, these engagements can cost billions of dollars.  I would like to add that it is dangerous for the world to rely on the United States to prevent genocide all over the world.  The US's history shows that it is willing to intervene in a region when it is not fully aware of the facts.  While it means well, sometimes this engagement is only effective while the US is present, and US defense forces cannot be present for every threatened group in the world.  While it is admirable for the US to enlist the help of allies, I feel as though the job of preventing atrocities is better suited to the United Nations.  The US, if it wishes, can lead the fight to prevent refugee crises there, but it would be better if the country did not appear to act alone as the sole world policeman.  

For the second part of the question, it is in the US's interest to prevent atrocities.  Refugee crises put pressure on other countries in the region and abroad--the recent Syrian refugee crisis comes to mind, as it strains the resources of Turkey and Jordan among other nations.  Also, Europeans are struggling to come up with a humane solution to the millions of desperate people seeking asylum.  In some cases, the chaos from these humanitarian disasters can lead to security threats entering the country. The US should not turn a blind eye to these people who seek help, but it should not consider itself the only one qualified to give this help.  

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