Worse Than War | Daniel Goldhagen | Talks at Google | Summary and Q&A

July 26, 2010
Talks at Google
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Worse Than War | Daniel Goldhagen | Talks at Google


There is a need to recognize the truths about genocide, take action to prevent it, and challenge the international community's inaction.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What are the three different kinds of truths about genocide mentioned in the content?

The first is the pushback that occurs when people try to disseminate knowledge and galvanize others to take action. The second is the personalistic truth about the perpetrators on the ground who decide to raise their hand and kill the victims. The third is the enormity of the problem, with genocide taking more victims than conventional military operations.

Q: How can the international community be encouraged to take action against genocide?

By putting political pressure on leaders, changing the discourse, using technology to hold leaders accountable, and creating an international conversation that highlights the moral and human consequences of inaction.

Q: How can the cost/benefit calculus be changed for would-be genocidal leaders?

By implementing an international anti-eliminationist system that includes intervention, justice, and prevention. This system would target the leaders and military forces of genocidal states, creating the expectation of punishment and discouraging them from carrying out their plans.

Q: How can we ensure accurate information about genocide in countries where the media is controlled?

By creating an international watchdog agency staffed with impartial experts responsible for receiving and verifying information. This agency would quickly assess suspicions of an eliminationist assault and trigger a series of measures to hold the suspected country accountable.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Genocide is not an overwhelming force beyond our control, and it can be understood and prevented through political design and will.

  • The problem of genocide is a systemic feature of the modern world and needs to be recognized as such.

  • Perpetrators of genocide are not abstractions, but individual human beings who make the conscious decision to kill based on their values.

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