This special perspectives section features commentary on the implications of the Srebrenica massacre for U.S. foreign policy. Given the 20-year anniversary of the massacre, we felt that it was appropriate to invite a range of scholars to participate in a forum to address different aspects of the tragedy and its aftermath in the context of U.S. foreign policy. The forum is structured around a commentary by David Gibbs, author of First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia, Vanderbilt University Press, 2009. Gibbs article, "How the Srebrenica Massacre Redefined U.S. Foreign Policy," is featured below. Within the next month, we will have responses to Gibbs' argument from several experts on the subject, followed by a closing commentary by Gibbs.

As this article goes to press, a new development has emerged: “The Obama administration is moving to designate the Islamic State’s murderous attacks on the Yazidi in Iraq an act of ‘genocide,’” according to a press report. It should be recalled that last year, the regime of Bashir Assad was widely believed to be committing genocide in Syria, and in 2011, Muammar Gaddafi was at least planning a genocide in Libya. And in all of these cases, the claims of genocide were widely accompanied by calls for US and NATO intervention, as a solution. While readers will rightly deplore the atrocities that attended these events, the word “genocide” is being used with notable regularity, in a way that already has and will continue to erode the meaning of this very important concept, through overuse. --Ronald W. Cox

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.