On this edition of Parallax Views, the noted genocide studies scholar A. Dirk Moses joins us to discuss his provocative book The Problems of Genocide: Permanent Security and the Language of Transgression. In said book, Moses argues that the way in which we conceptualize the legal concept of genocide structures the way we think about “acts that shock the conscience of mankind” and how this in turn may lead us to have blind spots in considering how other heinous acts and crimes against humanity also should shock our conscience. We begin by discussing how Moses became involved in genocide studies and the treatment of indigenous Australians under colonialism. Additionally, Moses gives a history of the term genocide from WWII and the Holocaust on through to the Cold War and the War on Terror. In this regard, we discuss genocide and the ways in which it has been utilized as a concept to political, and especially foreign policy ends. During this portion of the conversation Moses and I talk a little bit about U.S. foreign policy heavyweight Samantha Power and her influential book The Problem from Hell. Additionally, Moses and J.G. talk about:
– The concept of permanent security, its liberal and illiberal variants, the utopian nature of pursuing it, and the problems that arise from it
– Drone warfare and the humanitarian crisis in Yemen
– The Holocaust, the debate over Germany and Holocaust Memory and what Moses calls the “German Catechism” as well as the response famed philosopher/sociologist Jurgen Habermas made to Moses’s writing on the subject
– The Nigerian Civil War and the Republic of Biafra
– And much, much more!