The genocide in Rwanda was an emblematic failure of the international community. The world has since made important strides in acting on those lessons, but this work still faces setbacks. The international community cannot claim to care about atrocity crimes and then shrink from the commitment required to prevent them – whether in the Central African Republic or Syria.
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The US can no longer afford to remain mute on the erosion of freedom in these two key Mideast powers. While certain interests may tempt Washington to emphasize stability over democracy, this is a mistake. A look to Russia shows the fallacies of engaging with autocratic regimes.
An Iranian diplomat argues that the repeated threats of war against Iran in the official US vernacular are harmful to delicate, ongoing nuclear negotiations and undermine the rule of international law.
The following regions and issues are among those critical to both short- and long-term US interests. They should draw greater US attention and diplomatic efforts.
While forging a peace deal that ensures the security of Israel and the dignity of the Palestinians is a worthy goal, it's a long shot. Secretary of State John Kerry's time would be better spent pursuing vital US interests in Africa, Asia, and the broader Middle East region.
Bringing peace to conflict-torn South Sudan will require more than negotiated cease-fires and UN aid. Key community leaders – especially women activists and church pastors – must work for local unity.
For a diplomatic solution in Syria, the international community must engage directly with the myriad opposition groups inside the country. Those groups also need support to start a dialogue among themselves and with the internationally recognized opposition outside of Syria.
The Geneva II peace talks on Syria set to begin next week should lay the groundwork for a diplomatic deal to end the country's three-year civil war. In spite of differences, Russian, US, and Iranian strategic interests can align, but Iran must be allowed to play a role in negotiations.
The UN must work to prevent the escalation of violence and preserve what progress has been made in the Central African Republic. With key support from the US, the Security Council should increase its efforts to deploy a better equipped, larger UN peacekeeping mission to CAR.
The coming peace talks in Geneva provide hope for setting lines for a cease-fire in Syria. To draw those lines, three separate homelands must be created, with input by outside powers. Some will say this is impossible. Not so.
To achieve a long-term deal with the P5+1, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani must also win the battle against his critics at home. His real challenge is to convince the poor that they stand to gain from a rapprochement with the West. If life gets more difficult for them, this will be a hard sell.