- Slides: 10
WHAT ROLE DOES POLITICAL LEADERSHIP PLAY IN MASS-VIOLENCE
THE BIG QUESTIONS: • What kind of situations appear to be most conducive to the emergence of tyranny? • How do leaders become mass-murders? Who are these people? • Why do their people sometimes support and aid them in genocide or other types of mass violence?
WHAT STATES ARE MOST SUSCEPITBLE? WHEN AND HOW DO LEADERS BECOME MASS-MURDERS? • Daniel Chirot’s propositions are based on his comparative study of 13 tyrannical regimes in the 20 th C: Pol Pot (Cambodia) , Mao (China), Stalin (Russia), Hitler (Germany), Kim (N. Korea), Ceausescu (Romania), Ne Win (Burma / Miramar), Argentina’s Junta, Trujillo (Dominican Republic), Duvalier (Haiti), Bokassa (Central African Republic), and Idi Amin (Uganda)
WHAT FACTORS DON’T SEEM TO BE CORE CAUSES FOR A MASS MURDER TO COME TO POWER? • Economic development & education: Life in Germany and Russia had been getting better prior to the crises that triggered their darkest periods • Ethnic division isn’t always present when genocide occurs: Rwanda (a case of backlash against a longstanding “middle man” group) vs. Germany (where the targets were created) • Does the brutal leader thrive only under a certain culture and religion? No: Middle-East (Hussein), Europe (Hitler), Latin America (Trujillo), Asia (Mao), Africa (Idi Amin)
WHAT FACTORS DON’T SEEM TO BE CORE CAUSES FOR A MASS MURDER TO COME TO POWER? • Does the type of development matter? Both agrarian and industrial societies have experienced brutality • Are all mass-murders totalitarians? No. Russia’s Stalin vs. Iraq under Hussein • Is having balanced power a way to ensure that a massmurderer won’t ever seize power? Does a large welfare state risk tyranny? (Fascism vs. democratic socialism vs. communism) • While new states are more susceptible to the emergence of brutal leaders, old states sometimes have dark periods as well • Mass murderers don’t all come to power via coups and violence: Germany’s government was elected
WHEN AND HOW DO LEADERS BECOME MASS-MURDERS? FOUR BIG FACTORS • Many societies have these leaders, but few of them see tyranny • (1) The relative deprivation thesis: The more chaotic (relative to expectations and experience) the economic system, the more likely a self-proclaimed savior will emerge and be supported both by elites and masses • (2) Weak states, especially ones that represent a bygone era with respect to ideology and structure: Political and esp. bureaucratic chaos (esp. divided elites) prevents states from crushing rising tyrants and allows the tyrants to consolidate power. • (3) An intl. system that allows or even encourages despotism, as was the case during the Cold War • (4) But all of these aren’t enough unless you have a society that is primed culturally:
WHAT KINDS OF CULTURAL SETTINGS FACILITATE MASS MURDER AND GENOCIDE? • Cultural susceptibility to “tyrannical nationalism”: “For any national, new or old, we can judge the extent to which its political and intellectual elite’s identify is based on jealous and vengeful resentment and memories of past wrongs, whether real or imagined. ” – Communal ideologies of conflict, virtue, and heredity Germany, Russia, and Japan Manifest destiny vs. “melting pots” and “cosmic races: The US and Latin American treatment of indigenous and African descendent peoples – Some societies have an ideology that emphasizes the inevitability of conflict with other groups (US attitudes towards indigenous populations and our manifest destiny; Islamic fascism, evil empires, and the like)
WHAT KINDS OF CULTURAL SETTINGS FACILITATE MASS MURDER AND GENOCIDE? • Societies that emphasize communal identity over human rights are particularly susceptible to mass violence – Were Japan’s atrocities in WW 2 in part due to a culture that emphasized both communalism and the problems noted above – Democracies sometimes use mass violence during war time: Japanese internment and nuclear weapons use; Guantanamo • Societies that are isolated (by choice or as a consequence of their actions) from the outside world are more likely to be detached from changing universal norms on human rights – Are we pursuing the best policies for human rights in our dealings with Miramar, Iran, and N. Korea? What can our changing relationship with China over time tell us about the upside of engaging closed societies?
WHAT KINDS OF CULTURAL SETTINGS FACILITATE MASS MURDER AND GENOCIDE? • Societies that emphasize corporal punishment and violence against and among children (Staub’s article and evidence) • Societies that create rigid hierarchies. Stanley Milligram’s work versus the Stanford Prison experiment.
KEY QUESTIONS FROM THE TWO DOCUMENTARIES YOU WERE ASKED TO WATCH • What is genocide or eliminationalism? Why is it not a spontaneous event? • In what ways is genocide worse than war? Why are everyday people willing to kill and brutalize? What has to happen before they will “exterminate” other people? • What Is the role of leaders in genocide? Why are they an essential ingredient? • How can we make changes that will finally stop genocide? • What steps is the world taking today to reduce genocide? How effective are we?