U.S. Foreign Policy and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Humanitarian Relief in Complex Emergencies

By Andrew S. Natsios | Go to book overview

Thought needs to be given to how the UN should manage such radio stations in future complex emergencies where there is no responsible government to ensure that all factions favoring peaceful accommodation and playing constructive roles are given access to the airwaves. Radio should be added to the resources available to emergency managers. Equal attention needs to be given now to what immediate measures should be taken to stop broadcasts that encourage violence during tense periods and to the process used by the international community to make these decisions.


The Dangers of Role Confusion

The proposed new roles for NGOs and international organizations in conflict resolution and reconciliation, monitoring and preventing human rights abuses, policy and advocacy, and protecting the relief-to-development continuum make demands on institutions that are having trouble coping with their customary duties. Taking on these new and more demanding functions may be asking too much. Even if they are performed skillfully, these duties contain certain inherent contradictions that may prove insurmountable. Property monitoring human rights abuses, running relief programs, and carrying out thoughtful policy advocacy in a complex emergency will likely disqualify an NGO from a role in conflict resolution and reconciliation, where absolute neutrality is essential. Monitoring human rights abuses and running relief programs may be equally incompatible: if the members of an NGO field staff fairly report these abuses, they may endanger their own security and damage their program. Thus, although these disciplines are intimately connected, they are frequently incompatible operationally. Donor governments should not make demands that compromise these organizations' effectiveness, nor should the organizations themselves in their good- heartedness and concern develop new disciplines that are incompatible with each other in a given emergency.


Conclusion: The Problem of Political Will

Complex humanitarian emergencies are likely to challenge policymakers for at least the next decade, perhaps longer. Although

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U.S. Foreign Policy and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Humanitarian Relief in Complex Emergencies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Foreword xiii
  • About the Author xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Introduction xix
  • 1 - Anatomy of a Complex Humanitarian Emergency 1
  • 2 - Complex Humanitarian Emergencies and the U.S. National Interest 19
  • 3 - The Bureaucratic Politics of Disasters 33
  • 4 - Nongovernmental Organizations 56
  • 5 - The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross 76
  • 6 - The U.S. Military and Complex Humanitarian Emergencies 105
  • 7 - The Policy Influence of the News Media 124
  • 8 - On Strategy 140
  • Conclusion: The Problem of Political Will 169
  • Notes 173
  • Bibliography 180
  • Index 185
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