To mark World Humanitarian Day on August 19, Eric Schwartz and Susan Reichle look at lessons to be learned from humanitarian crises over the last decade and how the United States can become more effective in its civilian relief efforts across the globe.
Haiti's earthquake created a need for a tremendous short-term relief effort but also long-term reconstruction that could take decades and cost billions, says former Peace Corps director Mark L. Schneider.
Recent events in Darfur raise the familiar question of whether international law facilitates the kind of early, decisive, and coherent action needed to effectively combat genocide. Matthew C. Waxman argues that putting decisions about international intervention solely in the hands of the UN Security Council risks undermining the threat or use of intervention when it may be most potent in stopping mass atrocities.
Michael Gerson argues that in light of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur's refugee camps, the international community faces a difficult choice: accept President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's decision to expel relief groups, or increase pressure on Sudan's regime at the risk of more short-term suffering and death.
A report coauthored by the Emergency Assistance Team (Burma) and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, detailing the Burmese government's reluctance to provide aid relief to the victims of Cyclone Nargis in May 2008.
According to the Responsiblity to Protect's (RtoP) summary of core documents, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released this report on January 12, 2009, to explains how RtoP will operate and the actors involved. Ban Ki-moon envisioned RtoP implementation based on three pillars: "1) the protection responsibilities of the state, 2) international assistance and capacity building, and 3) timely and decisive response to prevent and halt genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity."
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
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