- The Washington Times - Friday, May 17, 2002

Genocide vs. individuals

The terrorist attacks of September 11 taught Americans never again to ignore threats from remote places of the earth, Undersecretary of State Paula J. Dobriansky said this week.

Ms. Dobriansky, in a speech on the prevention of genocide, said, "In the past, there has been a tendency to dismiss acts of genocide because they were occurring far away from our shores or because they reflected long-standing clashes between ethnic groups or cultures.

"September 11 taught us many important lessons, but one of the most important is that we ignore events and developments overseas at our own peril."

She said the response to the perpetrators of genocide, like the response to terrorists, "should be a full-fledged effort to hunt them down."

The best way to prevent genocide is to promote democracy based on the rule of law and individual rights, she told a conference at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum this week.

"The bloody history of genocides through the ages can each be traced back to a common moment the moment when a man, woman or child is not thought of as an individual but simply part of a group, as a statistic, not a human being," she said.

"Strategies to prevent genocide in the 21st century must focus on empowering the individual, on asserting the value of each human being. Protection of all people can be achieved through the protection of each person," she added.

Ms. Dobriansky, undersecretary for global affairs, said genocide is a "product of tyranny and totalitarianism."

"It is made possible by despots who have the power to villainize and abuse a group while striking fear in the hearts of anyone who would dare to challenge them," she said.

She called for a democracy based on individual liberty, a free press, economic freedom and the separation of powers among different branches of government.

"This foundation provides the very freedom that snuffs out the roots of extremism," she said.

Ugly American?

The U.S. Embassy in India is dismissing reports of disgruntled diplomats at the New Delhi mission and insisting that Ambassador Robert Blackwill has the full confidence of the Bush administration.

Mr. Blackwill, a political appointee, "has not been asked to resign [and] is not leaving his post," the embassy said in a statement in today's edition of the Times of India.

News reports in India said the ambassador was criticized in a State Department inspector general's report for creating low morale among the embassy staff. Mr. Blackwill has responded with a detailed rebuttal.

The embassy said the news reports are speculation, "which is damaging to the ambassador as well as to our relationship with India."

Urging free trade

Panamanian Foreign Minister Jose Aleman has called for the adoption of a free-trade area throughout the Western Hemisphere to promote economic opportunities for poor countries.

Mr. Aleman, on a Washington visit this week, told the Organization of American States that the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas will provide "truly shared and equitable benefits" for all countries in the region.

"With the existing imbalances and limited capacity for the weaker economies to compete, equitable distribution of free-trade benefits will be extremely difficult [without the trade pact]," he said.

Security not settled

The leaders of Cyprus' Greek and Turkish communities have made progress on security issues in recent talks but have not solved them, Cypriot Ambassador Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis said yesterday.

She said Embassy Row misinterpreted remarks she made earlier this week.

"What I said is that security is the only one issue where some progress has been made," she said, referring to talks between Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

"I wish we would have solved all the difference on security, but unfortunately that is not the case," she said in an e-mail message.

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