What To Do About Ethnic Cleansing Essay

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What To Do About Ethnic Cleansing Essay, Research Paper WHAT TO DO ABOUT ETHNIC CLEANSING? BACKGROUND PAPER In 1994, unrest swept through the Maryland-sized African nation of Rwanda. Thousands of Hutu extremists launched a massive assault on the Tutsi, who traditionally make up Rwanda s upper class, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people (Night Rider most days ). The United States immediately responded to this slaughter by turning the other way, denying that a problem existed until years after the genocide had ceased. In 1999, ethnic cleansing (hostility between ethnic groups) broke out in Kosovo in a less severe form. This time, instead of being killed, the Kosovars were driven out of their homes and neighborhoods. This time, United States and NATO forces

immediately confronted the problem by launching a substantial air war on the area. Clearly, the doctrine for ethnic cleansing is widely varied, and merits further discussion. Ethnic cleansing is a phrase for an attempt to purge an area of an unwanted ethnic group. It can include deportation, intimidation, and acts of genocide or mass murder. (Encarta, Ethnic cleansing ). It occurs most frequently in third world countries. Whenever it arises, it is followed by a host of moral questions. Do we just stay out completely and allow the country to deal with its own problems? Or, if we decide to take action, do we merely send medical aid or help militarily? Should we send in the army? Or is an air war the only acceptable option? It all comes down to an ethical issue, with one group

insisting that preventing the loss of lives is paramount. The other side states that ethnic cleansing is caused by a fundamental disagreement between two ethnic groups, so unless we allow the groups to resolve their own issues, they can never be content and productive. Whenever any human rights issue breaks out, there are differing opinions on the appropriate course of action. The difference in the case of ethnic cleansing is that this issue is much more critical than almost any other human rights issue. In the case of ethnic cleansing, the United States approach to intervention could determine the fates of thousands of people. In cases of extreme ethnic cleansing, intervention can take place on an international level, with many nations cooperating in an attempt to bring about a

resolution of the perceived injustice. In Rwanda, such an international coalition was formed by Canada to safeguard the repatriation of the exiled Rwandans on their return home. This intended military escort function of the international community was averted, because of the sudden and quite peaceful march homeward of the Rwandans before the coalition had mobilized. Had the military escort occurred, there would have been potential for escalation of the Rwandan problem into an international military crisis, should bloodshed of any kind have erupted during the long march home of the refugees (Whaley). This potential for explosion of what some see as a nation s domestic concern into military action crossing international lines is what can deadlock the strategists, sometimes

permitting ethnic cleansing to be substantially completed before a resolution can be endorsed by all nations concerned about the matter. Although ethnic cleansing has been present throughout history, we are only in the last century really starting to acknowledge it as an issue that needs to be definitively dealt with on a global scale. The incident that caused ethnic cleansing to be a major international issue was Adolph Hitler s extreme ethnic cleansing of the Jewish, which made the rest of the world realize that if SOMETHING was not done, the problem could spread to engulf the entire world. Especially in recent years, with the major world powers militaries sitting, these countries are now starting to intervene in other countries ethnic issues, such as Bosnia, Germany, Iraq, and