"A Problem from Hell"

America and the Age of Genocide

Ranked #3 in International Law, Ranked #9 in Human Rightssee more rankings.

Former UN Ambassador Samantha Power's Pulitzer Prize-winning analysis of America's repeated failure to stop genocides around the world

In her Pulitzer Prize-winning examination of the last century of American history, Samantha Power asks the haunting question: Why do American leaders who vow "never again" repeatedly fail to stop genocide? Power, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School and the former US Ambassador to the United Nations, draws upon exclusive interviews with Washington's top policymakers, thousands of declassified documents, and her own reporting from modern...

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Steve Crawshaw When Power was writing, the Rwandan genocide had already happened, but Darfur was still to come. The sub-title of her book is ‘America and the age of genocide’, and she started work expecting to investigate how American foreign policy had coped so badly. Terrible events, including the mass killing of Armenians in Turkey early in the 20th century, and Pol Pot’s mass killings in Cambodia 60 years later, had gone completely unconfronted by the American and other governments. Then came the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Western governments turned away again. The UN Security Council only finally... (Source)

Norman Naimark This was an extremely important and timely book in calling attention to the deep-seated hypocrisy that lay at the heart of American policies when facing genocide over the past century. Power’s criticism of the devastating combination of American timidity and wishful thinking in face of mass killing, especially in the mid-1990s in Bosnia and Rwanda, is palpable throughout the book. Through historical and political analysis, she sought to mobilise American citizens to place pressure on the US government to act. I think she made a genuine contribution to the heightened awareness of genocide in... (Source)

Peter W. Galbraith Samantha Power first came to the public notice for her work on the American response to genocide in Bosnia, or to be more precise, the lack thereof. The title, A Problem From Hell is a quote from Secretary of State Warren Christopher’s congressional testimony about the situation in Bosnia, explaining why the United States couldn’t do anything to stop the genocide there. She was a young reporter during the Bosnia war, but she looks not just at that genocide but at earlier genocides. These include the Ottoman genocide against the Armenians in the First World War and Saddam’s genocide against... (Source)

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