chapter  7
Proactive Help in Preventing Mass Violence: Preventive Diplomacy and Beyond
Pages 19

A peaceful world, free from genocide, war, and terrorism, will depend on an international community, and especially the established democracies, ready and willing to be on the alert for sister countries in trouble and to apply skills, attitudes, and mechanisms in extending help to these countries to prevent bad outcomes. By countries in trouble we refer to such attributes as intergroup hostility, governmental repression of vulnerable groups subject to prejudicial stereotype, rising hate speech, systematic violation of human rights, and inclination to deal with problems by violence. The conundrum is that no favorable outcome can occur without substantial changes, and these are unlikely to happen without outside help. Yet those countries most in need, and especially those with repressive leaders, are most likely to be suspicious of and resistant to outside help. Most countries are likely to be responsive, however, seeing chances for a better way of life. The appropriate response for the established democracies is to maintain steady contact on a multilateral basis (as opposed to intervening late in a crisis situation) and with nonpatronizing attitudes and behavior that consistently reflect serious concern, sympathetic interest, empathy for suffering, respect for human potential, a vision of better opportunities, and the prospect of belonging in a valued group (such as the European Union). Such well-meaning outsiders can emphasize that they wish to make available the world’s experience in dealing successfully with similar problems. They need not give highly specific prescriptions or threaten force (except in truly extreme circumstances, as evaluated by a group of democracies). They can illuminate options that would lead to a better life for the whole society that is in trouble. In essence, this is a mode of international relations that is practically helpful, constructive, and forwardlooking. This concept is, in effect, a broad and strong version of preventive diplomacy. So let us now consider recent experience and knowledge of preventive diplomacy and see how it might be upgraded to avoid catastrophic human interactions.