John Shattuck served as the chief human rights officer in the Clinton administration’s State Department during some of the most wrenching and deadly events of the 1990s, including the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the genocide in Rwanda, and the Kosovo conflict. He was directly involved in complex foreign policy issues that reinforced his belief that human rights must be a major factor in all decision-making processes if they are to retain legitimacy.
Shattuck’s new book, Freedom on Fire: Human Rights Wars and America’s Response (Harvard University Press, 2003), is both a record of his time in office and a critique of the current U.S. administration, which he argues has pursued misguided unilateral policies that have eroded the country’s position as a guarantor of human rights and responsible diplomacy. He discussed his book in a forum at OSI’s New York offices on November 13, 2003, focusing in particular on human rights, humanitarian intervention, and government policy both today and during the turbulent decade of the 1990s.
Joining Shattuck at the forum was Samantha Power, an OSI consultant and lecturer on U.S. foreign policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Power, who won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (Basic Books, 2002), commented on Shattuck’s remarks and book and also presented her own analysis of recent U.S. human rights policies and decisions.
The forum was moderated by Aryeh Neier, the president of the Open Society Institute.
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