Intervention to Stop Genocide and Mass Atrocities
When the genocide of the Armenians occurred, every country including the United States had taken on the role of bystanders and watched as the horror ensued. In A Problem from Hell, Samantha Power described the reactions that the nations had in response to the genocide. The British officials attempts to excuse their lack of action by arguing that “the message would influence Turkish behavior and might even cause Turkey to adopt more serious measures against the Armenians.” Although the allies did warn the Turkish government that they will be held accountable for the genocide, that is not nearly enough to stop the Turkish government. Despite the public outcry for action in the United States and Henry Morgenthau’s effort to stop the genocide, President Woodrow Wilson decided to stay neutral because “the Turks had not violated the rights of Americans” and that Morgenthau “[has] no right to interfere with their internal affairs.” Additionally, I find the Turkish government’s justification for the genocide similar to the American government’s treatment of the Japanese Americans during World War II. The Armenians “most expressed loyalty to Constantinople. But this did not stop the Turkish leadership from using the pretext of an Armenian ‘evolutionary uprising’ and the cover of war to eradicate the Armenian presence in Turkey.” The Japanese Americans also expressed loyalty to America but this did not stop the government from putting them in concentration camps and portraying the Japanese Americans as spies. I also agree with @coral27 that the hypocrisy of the United States having a history of oppression and genocide should not be a reason to stop us from recognizing and intervening when there is a human rights violation.
The United States and the other nations have the power and thus the responsibility to always interfere and stop the nation from committing a genocide when am entire population is being destroyed. There is no reason to excuse a nation that has the resources and influence to stop the genocide yet decided to stand by and watch millions of people tortured and murdered. Saving the lives of millions is way more important than staying neutral. The United States and the other nations should’ve collectively opposed and condemned the actions of the Turkish government. Then, they can send reinforcement and resources to help the Armenian refugees escape to nearby countries and establish refugee camps there. These are some of the possible actions that the nations could’ve taken to prevent or at least rescue some of the Armenians. If we allow one country to commit genocide without having any consequences, then other countries might see that it is okay to commit these acts against humanity. Therefore, the United States and other nations should always interfere if they witness any form of genocide and publicly condemn the nation committing the act so that it won’t happen again.
The world nations did not behave any differently during the Armenian genocide than they did during the genocide in Namibia but the Armenian genocide did receive more recognition than the genocide in Namibia as mentioned by @ilikekiwis. In both cases, many nations choose to standby and watch because it does not directly affect them or violate the rights of their citizens. However, the Armenian genocide occurred because they were seen as a threat in the eyes of the Turkish government while the Germans viewed the Herero and the Nama as sub-human due to the growing belief in eugenics and social darwinism at that time. Also, there was less records from the genocide in Namibia due to German propaganda and the German government actively tried to hide this atrocity while there was a lot of proof for the Armenian genocide and Turkish government was not trying to hide their actions.