Chapter IV. Work with Others to Defuse Regional Conflicts
Section C. The Way Ahead - 4. Genocide
Patient efforts to end conflicts should not be mistaken for tolerance of the intolerable.
Genocide is the intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial, or religious
group. The world needs to start honoring a principle that many believe has lost its force
in parts of the international community in recent years: genocide must not be tolerated.
It is a moral imperative that states take action to prevent and punish genocide. History
teaches that sometimes other states will not act unless America does its part. We must
refine United States Government efforts economic, diplomatic, and law-enforcement
so that they target those individuals responsible for genocide and not the innocent citizens
they rule. Where perpetrators of mass killing defy all attempts at peaceful intervention,
armed intervention may be required, preferably by the forces of several nations working
together under appropriate regional or international auspices.
We must not allow the legal debate over the technical definition of "genocide" to excuse
inaction. The world must act in cases of mass atrocities and mass killing that will
eventually lead to genocide even if the local parties are not prepared for peace.
National Security Strategy 17