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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

The opinions you read below are those of the individual writers, not necessarily views that will become formal positions of The Seattle Times. Respond to STop
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Jim Vesely
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Jim Vesely
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Lee Moriwaki
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Lee Moriwaki
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Joni Balter
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Eric Devericks
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Lance Dickie
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Bruce Ramsey
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Kate Riley
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Lynne Varner
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Ryan Blethen
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Ryan Blethen
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March 02, 2005

The Rwanda Question

I missed Paul Rusesabagina Tuesday night, but like a lot of others, I saw “Hotel Rwanda,” the movie about him. I recommend it. It is the best political movie I’ve seen in a long time. It reminds me of one of my favorites, “The Killing Fields,” which was about the Cambodian holocaust.

Both of these stories raise the issue of the responsibility of outsiders to intervene. I think we should be careful about making emotional decisions. It’s one thing to say, “Somebody should stop this,” and another to say, “You should stop this.” I think there was a better argument for UN intervention than U.S. intervention—because these were not specifically U.S. concerns. Of course some say, “We have the power to intervene,” and therefore we have the responsibility to do it, but that is a promiscuous argument. It justifies too much. Other nations have the right to say, “This is not our problem,” and we respect them for that. America should not have any lesser rights than they simply because we are bigger.

If any particular foreign power felt an obligation to act in Rwanda, it might have been the former colonial power—in this case, Belgium, or, before that, Germany. But the best choice would have been the United Nations.

Respond to Bruce.

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at March 2, 2005 11:39 AM



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