Article, Refereed Journal
Genocide Studies and Prevention
In the early 1990s, the relationship between genocidal violence and international humanitarian intervention was understood simplistically. Such intervention was viewed as always a response to, and never a cause of, inter-group violence. Well-intentioned intervention was expected reliably to reduce harm to civilians. Thus, the only obstacle to saving lives was believed to be inadequate political will for intervention. This quaint notion was popularized in mass-market books, and it later gave rise to the "Responsibility to Protect" norm. By the mid-1990s, however, scholars had discovered that the causal relationship between intervention and genocidal violence was more complicated. The prospect of intervention sometimes incentivized violence by parties expecting to attract intervention to help their side in a domestic struggle. For example, a relatively weak faction might launch a rebellion or armed secession to provoke a government crackdown, in hopes of triggering intervention to help them achieve independence or control of the state.