As we as a class has come to understand the course of events that lead to what frontline defined as a US foreign policy success that was the Rwandan Genocide, I am certain there were definitive points, moments and portions in the weeks and days leading to the beginning of the killings that could have prevented the entire event.
Months before Habyariamana's plane was shot down, Samantha Power emphasized how Romeo Dellaire on January 11th 1994 sent an urgent message to UN headquarters in New Yprk (The first of many) detailing The preparations the Hutu majority government was conducting to create a force capable of killing 1000 Tutsi's in 20 minutes. It is here in January, in this very exchange we see a point at which we can a point a finger to the UN and the US government. Here we can confidently glare at the faces of men and women who chose to do nothing.
It was clear that Dallaire's prominent connection within the Interahamwe militia could have proved to be a valuable asset. The subsequent proposal for an arms raid being denied is another "fix" so to speak. With this knowledge and proposal the UN, understanding the history of ethnic tension between the Hutu majority and Tutsi minority could have immediately stepped up to the plate and cast a spot light on this. Allowing the arms raid, which Dellaire clearly had every intention on conducting before getting a call from HQ to stay neutral, would have certainly crippled if not ended the potential for widespread conflict. Although simply hypothetical, with the affirmation of UN and global involvement in the protection of the Tutsi, the Interahamwe may have backed down considerably, especially without having the firepower to conduct the killings as rapidly as they had planned. What I mean by this is that Power as well as Frontline spent a significant portion of their pieces discussing the Interahamwe's plan to scare UN troops out of the country in order to more freely operate. The fact that they put so much effort into ensuring this points directly to the fact that the UN troops, if used properly, would have created an incredibly effective defense force and would have been able to stop the fighting even before it had begun. It is possible that the gun raid could have provoked more killings and brutality as had been the result of Somalia, but the fear of creating "another Somalia" is, in itself a sentiment that should have quickly been disregarded. The situations were completely opposite, not to mention that Dallaire had hundreds more, and having a full force of 2000 would have ensured this.
Additionally UN troops could have established radio Jammers to block out the genocidal broadcasts of Radio Mille Collines. Although I doubt they would have been able to reasonably justify (assuming that the US government would actually comply instead of putting Rwandan fopo on ice) the usage of signal jammers until conflict had begun, but a simple acknowledgement of the sentiments carried in the months preceding the genocide could have focused UN attention on Rwanda more in some way. The broadcasts could have been used at analyzing the propaganda used in order to counter it in some way. During the conflict, jamming radio signals would have helped immensely and most likely saved the lives of thousands. Radio became the primary form of communication in Rwanda for the Interahamwe as well as the general Hutu perpetrators to identify specific targets, hiding locations for the Tutsi leaked from frightened or hateful perpetrators. It could have helped prevent the spread of hateful and fear-inducing sentiments carried by Colonel Bagosora, relieving the social pressure that perpetrators often claimed to be the reasoning behind their participation in the genocide. It is not difficult to disable a radio frequency. It does not take the aid of the United states to pull a plug or to jam a signal. Instead it became yet another example of the metal gymnastics used by the UN and global community to avoid taking any initiative or responsibility.
The New York directive to evacuate solely foreign nationals was one of utter nonsense. Yes it takes resources to host and transport individuals on air lifts. But based on the video provided, standard passenger flyers seemed to be used as well. The amount of foreign nationals present within Rwanda could easily have a been small enough for their to have been plenty of room to accommodate more refugees. This coupled with the call for withdrawal after killing of Belgian UN soldiers is one of the most frustrating aspects of the Rwandan Genocide. We see in frontline the testimony of UNAMIR officers stating the same line over and over "we had no choice" The UN's job is to prevent human rights violations as well as to provide an platform in which peaceful negotiations between nations and peoples may occur. The reality was, those soldiers did have a choice. They had no obligation other than an order to step onto a car, leaving a once safe haven for refugees to become a killing field and a place of desperate cries. Those well armed and fed soldiers from Europe and the US that came to assist with the evacuations, that Warren Christopher and Bill Clinton praised , could have easily taken a refugee and placed them on a plane. They could have stayed. They could have done what they had trained their lives to do. Instead by leaving they simply became accomplices to genocide.
Based on Power's account, as of April 30th, Dellaire formally informed and warned the UN of the reality that what was happening in Rwanda was in fact, a genocide. At the very least governments, especially the US could have admitted it. The fear of 'needing to do something about it' that the United States State Department held, as well as a majority of the Clinton administration felt, if not morally and ethically appalling, the most cowardly thing I have ever heard of. At least acknowledge the fact that you won't be doing anything about it instead of actively trying to suppress information. Making the information public, recognizing for what it is, this is the foundations of the allowing the global population to step in and assist either through moral and ethnic disapproval or deliberate action in the form of assisting aid groups.
I think it is hard morally to justify open firing onto a crowd of individuals wielding machetes, but taking such hostile action was not necessary to end this conflict. The UN soldiers needed only place themselves in the crossfire, in the path of destruction to halt it. We already saw that it worked as well. The UN soldiers, although instructed strictly to not actively engage in combat, were able to protect individuals just by being in the vicinity and keeping watch at the technical school. Assuming that the ban was lifted on the UN soldiers, a series of carefully planned operations, escorts, etc. could have easily ensured the safety of thousands. UNAMIR could have assisted the RPF. In regards to the machetes in use by the Hutu, as a classmate elegantly put it, a machete cannot win against a gun. Once again the UNAMIR troops did not even have to fire a single bullet (unless directly attacked). All they had to do was act as an intimidating force. It's not as if the troops could have tracked down every location of a machete, but providing a barrier against the Hutus for Tutsi protection would have certainly deterred many that would have gone to kill others.
I doubt the US itself would have actively involved itself in Rwanda other than through the UN by any means. The problem was the global community decided not to. If an individual country is afraid of "having to do something" the UN is literally designed to sort those things out . So many problems could have been avoided, so many lives saved if the UNAMIR and the UN as a whole ignored foreign policy and actually exercised their own power. As we heard in Frontline the US Government used every excuse not to send aid over, or to even recognize the genocide. Why rely on a United states input? You as UN officials have a mission and have a goal. If a country doesn't like it, well tough that's what they signed up for, and you have every other country holding them accountable for it.