"Complicity with Evil"


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The United Nations in the Age of Modern Genocide

Adam LeBor

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A seasoned foreign correspondent shows how the UN privileges its own neutrality and interests above its founding mission of protecting humanity, with predictably tragic consequences

From the killing fields of Rwanda and Srebrenica a decade ago to those of Darfur today, the United Nations has repeatedly failed to confront genocide. This is evinced, author and journalist Adam LeBor maintains, in a May 1995 document from Yasushi Akashi, the most senior UN official in the field during the Yugoslav wars, in which he refused to authorize air strikes against the Serbs for fear they would “weaken” Milosevic.  More recently, in 2003, urgent reports from UN officials in the Sudan detailing atrocities from Darfur were ignored for a year because they were politically inconvenient.

This book is the first to examine in detail the crucial role of the Secretariat, its relationship with the Security Council, and the failure of UN officials themselves to confront genocide. LeBor argues the UN must return to its founding principles, take a moral stand and set the agenda of the Security Council instead of merely following the lead of the great powers. LeBor draws on dozens of firsthand interviews with UN officials, current and former, and such international diplomats as Madeleine Albright, Richard Holbrooke, Douglas Hurd, and David Owen.
This book will set the terms for discussion when UN Secretary General Kofi Annan steps down to make room for a new head of the world body, and political observers assess Annan’s legacy and look to the future of the world organization.

Adam LeBor is the Central Europe Correspondent for the Times, covering the former Yugoslavia  and the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

“When the nations of the world are prepared to do something about genocide, beyond decrying it, they will have the use of Adam LeBor’s scrupulous and unflinching history to remind them of the cost of inaction.”—Alan Furst

"The author makes a very strong case—backed by research and investigation, and supported by quotations from key players in and around the United Nations."—Diego Arria, former Venezuelan ambassador to the UN

“Adam LeBor has crafted a top-notch exposé of the failings of the United Nations in the age of genocide. It is painful to be reminded of the organization’s errors and lies about Bosnia, Rwanda, and Sudan, but this is a book we should all be thankful for. LeBor makes a furiously persuasive case that the United Nations must become a force against genocide rather than a cover for its execution.”—Peter Maass, author of Love Thy Neighbor: A Story of War

 “A timely, important book about the way in which the UN has allowed itself to drift ineffectually in confronting the realities of genocide. I wish policy makers world-wide would read LeBor's trenchant analysis of where the international order has gone wrong.”—Margaret MacMillan, author of Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World

“LeBor's heartfelt appeal for UN reform points the finger at official Washington, which too often withholds support for the institution and instead panders to radical rightists seeking to destroy it.”—Roy Gutman, Foreign Editor at Newsday and author of A Witness to Genocide

"Complicity with Evil [is] a riveting, if depressing, account of the UN's failure to act on the knowledge that mass murder is taking place"—Nick Cohen, The Observer

"[Many] absurdities . . . are brilliantly captured in Adam Le Bor's compelling indictment"—Brendan Simms, Evening Standard

"[LeBor writes] honestly and vividly...[his] style is tight and factual: the events he describes need[ing] no amplification."---Daniel Hannan, The Daily Telegraph

"LeBor pulls no punches in his indictment of the UN under Annan. With key documents to hand, he rightly identifies the main failings of the system as its lack of accountability, and a cult of neutrality in which "all sides are guilty."---Anne Penketh, The Independent

“In his magnificent study of the United Nations . . . Adam Lebor exposes the sheer bankruptcy of an organization founded to preserve the noblest aims of mankind.”—Salim Mansur, The Toronto Sun

"...LeBor is unflinching in his analysis...[he] has clearly had good access to senior decision-makers as well as those given the unenviable task of implementing UN policy on the ground in troubled places. His greatest stength is that he avoids ranting polemic, making his judgements with care and always backing them up with evidence."---Fergal Keane, The Mail on Sunday

“A devastating indictment of [United Nations Secretary-General] Mr. Annan’s  lamentable record.”—Daniel Johnson, New York Sun

"LeBor, who covered the Balkan wars for the Times of London, offers a pithy . . . outsider's polemic against the United Nations."—Samantha Power, Washington Post

"[LeBor's] book - unlike the article based on it which appeared in the Sunday Times last autumn - is not a personal polemic against Annan. He refers to Annan's successes in strengthening the UN peacekeeping department, obtaining and implementing more robust mandates in the Congo and Liberia, and persuading the UN's member states to accept a collective responsibility to protect the victims of genocide and other comparable crimes. And sadly he is right to say that none of this has helped the victoms of Darfur... One can only hope that LeBor's readers will be stimulated to think clearly about what more could be done to prevent genocide and how each of us could help ensure it is actually done."---Edward Mortimer, The Guardian

"For the new man in the UN's top chair, Ban Ki-moon, this book is essential reading. For the rest of us, it is a clearsighted look at how one of our greatest collective endevours is riddled with our most basic human flaws."---Daniel McLaughlin, Irish Times

"Complicity with Evil is a highly readable discussion of the UN's response to genocide. . . . It is an excellent contribution to popular accounts of international inaction in the face of genocide, and it deserves a wide readership."—Ernesto Verdeja, Journal of Genocide Research

Selected as a 2007 "Outstanding" book by AAUP University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries 
ISBN: 9780300126082
Publication Date: March 28, 2008
352 pages, 5 1/4 x 8

A Biography

Adam LeBor

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