A Bed for the Night

Humanitarianism in Crisis

Author: David Rieff

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1439127271

Category: Political Science

Page: 400

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Timely and controversial, A Bed for the Night reveals how humanitarian organizations trying to bring relief in an ever more violent and dangerous world are often betrayed and misused, and have increasingly lost sight of their purpose. Humanitarian relief workers, writes David Rieff, are the last of the just. And in the Bosnias, the Rwandas, and the Afghanistans of this world, humanitarianism remains the vocation of helping people when they most desperately need help, when they have lost or stand at risk of losing everything they have, including their lives. Although humanitarianism's accomplishments have been tremendous, including saving countless lives, the lesson of the past ten years of civil wars and ethnic cleansing is that it can do only so much to alleviate suffering. Aid workers have discovered that while trying to do good, their efforts may also cause harm. Drawing on firsthand reporting from hot war zones around the world -- Bosnia, Rwanda, Congo, Kosovo, Sudan, and most recently Afghanistan -- Rieff describes how the International Committee of the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, the International Rescue Committee, CARE, Oxfam, and other humanitarian organizations have moved from their founding principle of political neutrality, which gave them access to victims of wars, to encouraging the international community to take action to stop civil wars and ethnic cleansing. This advocacy has come at a high price. By calling for intervention -- whether by the United Nations or by "coalitions of the willing" -- humanitarian organizations risk being seen as taking sides in a conflict and thus jeopardizing their access to victims. And by overreaching, the humanitarian movement has allowed itself to be hijacked by the major powers, at times becoming a fig leaf for actions those powers wish to take for their own interests, or for the major powers' inaction. Rieff concludes that if humanitarian organizations are to do what they do best -- alleviate suffering -- they must reclaim their independence. Except for relief workers themselves, no one has looked at humanitarian action as seriously or as unflinchingly, or has had such unparalleled access to its inner workings, as Rieff, who has traveled and lived with aid workers over many years and four continents. A cogent, hard-hitting report from the front lines, A Bed for the Night shows what international aid organizations must do if they are to continue to care for the victims of humanitarian disasters.
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Humanitarianism in Question

Politics, Power, Ethics

Author: Michael Barnett,Thomas G. Weiss

Publisher: Cornell University Press

ISBN: 0801465087

Category: Political Science

Page: 320

View: 9056

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Years of tremendous growth in response to complex emergencies have left a mark on the humanitarian sector. Various matters that once seemed settled are now subjects of intense debate. What is humanitarianism? Is it limited to the provision of relief to victims of conflict, or does it include broader objectives such as human rights, democracy promotion, development, and peacebuilding? For much of the last century, the principles of humanitarianism were guided by neutrality, impartiality, and independence. More recently, some humanitarian organizations have begun to relax these tenets. The recognition that humanitarian action can lead to negative consequences has forced humanitarian organizations to measure their effectiveness, to reflect on their ethical positions, and to consider not only the values that motivate their actions but also the consequences of those actions. In the indispensable Humanitarianism in Question, Michael Barnett and Thomas G. Weiss bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines to address the humanitarian identity crisis, including humanitarianism's relationship to accountability, great powers, privatization and corporate philanthropy, warlords, and the ethical evaluations that inform life-and-death decision making during and after emergencies.
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Biosecurity Interventions

Global Health and Security in Question

Author: Andrew Lakoff,Stephen J Collier

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231511779

Category: Medical

Page: 312

View: 6654

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In recent years, new disease threats such as SARS, avian flu, mad cow disease, and drug-resistant strains of malaria and tuberculosis have garnered media attention and galvanized political response. Proposals for new approaches to "securing health" against these threats have come not only from public health and medicine but also from such fields as emergency management, national security, and global humanitarianism. This volume provides a map of this complex and rapidly transforming terrain. The editors focus on how experts, public officials, and health practitioners work to define what it means to "secure health" through concrete practices such as global humanitarian logistics, pandemic preparedness measures, vaccination campaigns, and attempts to regulate potentially dangerous new biotechnologies. As the contributions show, despite impressive activity in these areas, the field of "biosecurity interventions" remains unstable. Many basic questions are only beginning to be addressed: Who decides what counts as a biosecurity problem? Who is responsible for taking action, and how is the efficacy of a given intervention to be evaluated? It is crucial to address such questions today, when responses to new problems of health and security are still taking shape. In this context, this volume offers a form of critical and reflexive knowledge that examines how technical efforts to increase biosecurity relate to the political and ethical challenges of living with risk.
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From Empire to Community

A New Approach to International Relations

Author: Amitai Etzioni

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 1466889136

Category: Political Science

Page: 272

View: 9639

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Whether one favors the U.S. global projection of force or is horrified by it, the question stands - where do we go from here? What ought to be the new global architecture? Amitai Etzioni follows a third way, drawing on both neoconservative and liberal ideas, in this bold new look at international relations. He argues that a "clash of civilizations" can be avoided and that the new world order need not look like America. Eastern values, including spirituality and moderate Islam, have a legitimate place in the evolving global public philosophy. Nation-states, Etzioni argues, can no longer attend to rising transnational problems, from SARS to trade in sex slaves to cybercrime. Global civil society does help, but without some kind of global authority, transnational problems will overwhelm us. The building blocks of this new order can be found in the war against terrorism, multilateral attempts at deproliferation, humanitarian interventions and new supranational institutions (e.g., the governance of the Internet). Basic safety, human rights, and global social issues, such as environmental protection, are best solved cooperatively, and Etzioni explores ways of creating global authorities robust enough to handle these issues as he outlines the journey from "empire to community."
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At the Point of a Gun

Democratic Dreams and Armed Intervention

Author: David Rieff

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1476737487

Category: Political Science

Page: 288

View: 6157

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Veteran journalist David Rieff’s essays draw a searing portrait of what happens when the grandiose schemes of policymakers and human rights activists go horribly wrong in the field. Writing for publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal to The Nation to France’s Le Monde, David Rieff witnessed firsthand most of the armed interventions since the Cold War waged by the West or the United Nations in the name of human rights and democratization. In this timely collection of his most illuminating articles, Rieff, one of our leading experts on the subject, reassesses some of his own judgments about the use of military might to solve the world’s most pressing humanitarian problems. At the Point of a Gun raises critical questions we cannot ignore in this era of gunboat democracy. When, if ever, is it appropriate to intervene militarily in the domestic affairs of other nations? Are human rights and humanitarian concerns legitimate reasons for intervening, or is the assault on sovereignty a flag of convenience for the recolonization of part of the world? And, above all, can democracy be imposed through the barrel of an M16? This is not an optimistic report, but the questions Rieff raises are of the essence as the United States grapples with the harsh consequences of what it has wrought on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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A Companion to Moral Anthropology

Author: Didier Fassin

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1118290585

Category: Social Science

Page: 664

View: 5636

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A Companion to Moral Anthropology is the first collective consideration of the anthropological dimensions of morals, morality, and ethics. Original essays by international experts explore the various currents, approaches, and issues in this important new discipline, examining topics such as the ethnography of moralities, the study of moral subjectivities, and the exploration of moral economies. Investigates the central legacies of moral anthropology, the formation of moral facts and values, the context of local moralities, and the frontiers between moralities, politics, humanitarianism Features contributions from pioneers in the field of moral anthropology, as well as international experts in related fields such as moral philosophy, moral psychology, evolutionary biology and neuroethics
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Burma Redux

Global Justice and the Quest for Political Reform in Myanmar

Author: Ian Holliday

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231504241

Category: Political Science

Page: 304

View: 438

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Contemporary Myanmar faces a number of political challenges, and it is unclear how other nations should act in relation to the country. Prioritizing the opinions of local citizens and reading them against the latest scholarship on this issue, Ian Holliday affirms the importance of foreign interests in Myanmar's democratic awakening, yet only through committed, grassroots strategies of engagement encompassing foreign states, international aid agencies, and global corporations. Holliday supports his argument by using multiple sources and theories, particularly ones that take historical events, contemporary political and social investigations, and global justice literature into account, as well as studies that focus on the effects of democratic transition, the aid industry, and socially responsible corporate investing and sanctions. One of the only volumes to apply broad-ranging global justice theories to a real-world nation in flux, Burma Redux will appeal to professionals researching Burma/Myanmar; political advisers and advocacy groups; nonspecialists interested in Southeast Asian politics and society and the local and international problems posed by pariah states; general readers who seek a richer understanding of the country beyond journalistic accounts; and the Burmese people themselves—both within the country and in diaspora. Burma Redux is also the first book-length study on the nation to be completed after the contentious general elections of 2010.
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Regarding the Pain of Others

Author: Susan Sontag

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 1466853573

Category: Social Science

Page: 144

View: 3503

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A brilliant, clear-eyed new consideration of the visual representation of violence in our culture--its ubiquity, meanings, and effects Watching the evening news offers constant evidence of atrocity--a daily commonplace in our "society of spectacle." But are viewers inured -or incited--to violence by the daily depiction of cruelty and horror? Is the viewer's perception of reality eroded by the universal availability of imagery intended to shock? In her first full-scale investigation of the role of imagery in our culture since her now-classic book On Photography defined the terms of the debate twenty-five years ago, Susan Sontag cuts through circular arguments about how pictures can inspire dissent or foster violence as she takes a fresh look at the representation of atrocity--from Goya's The Disasters of War to photographs of the American Civil War, lynchings of blacks in the South, and Dachau and Auschwitz to contemporary horrific images of Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and New York City on September 11, 2001. As John Berger wrote when On Photography was first published, "All future discussions or analysis of the role of photography in the affluent mass-media societies is now bound to begin with her book." Sontag's new book, a startling reappraisal of the intersection of "information", "news," "art," and politics in the contemporary depiction of war and disaster, will be equally essential. It will forever alter our thinking about the uses and meanings of images in our world.
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Aid Dependence in Cambodia

How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy

Author: Sophal Ear

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231530927

Category: Political Science

Page: 240

View: 9138

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International intervention liberated Cambodia from pariah state status in the early 1990s and laid the foundations for more peaceful, representative rule. Yet the country's social indicators and the integrity of its political institutions declined rapidly within a few short years, while inequality grew dramatically. Conducting an unflinching investigation into these developments, Sophal Ear reveals the pernicious effects of aid dependence and its perversion of Cambodian democracy. International intervention and foreign aid resulted in higher maternal (and possibly infant and child) mortality rates and unprecedented corruption by the mid-2000s. Similarly, in example after example, Ear finds the more aid dependent a country, the more distorted its incentives to develop sustainably. Contrasting Cambodia's clothing sector with its rice and livestock sectors and internal handling of the avian flu epidemic, he showcases the international community's role in preventing Cambodia from controlling its national development. A postconflict state unable to refuse aid, Cambodia is rife with trial-and-error donor experiments and their unintended consequences, such as bad governance and poor domestic and tax revenue performance—a major factor curbing sustainable, nationally owned growth. By outlining the terms through which countries can achieve better ownership of their development, Ear offers alternatives for governments still on the brink of collapse, despite ongoing dependence on foreign intervention and aid.
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