United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
This post was co-authored with Lee Feinstein, founding dean of Indiana University’s School of Global and International Studies.
When we recently set out for meetings in London, Berlin and Brussels on improving transatlantic links on atrocity prevention, foremost in our minds was concern about the dramatic return over the past 18 months of first-tier international security challenges. The rise of ISIS against the backdrop of civil war and humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, the new adventurism of the Russia of Vladimir Putin, and the daunting challenge of the Iranian nuclear program combine to take up a lot of space in the in-boxes of senior policymakers in North America and Europe.
Atrocity prevention, by contrast, is a long-term project and one that is generally not foremost on the minds of senior officials, except in times of dire crisis. In fact, the threat ISIS posed to the Yazidi community in Iraq last year did rise to the crisis point, and senior leaders in the United States, Europe and the region agreed that emergency military action to prevent a massacre was necessary. But even here, the lens through which many policymakers focused on the problem was not so much atrocity prevention as the need to develop a strategy to counter the advance of ISIS. Continue reading