Decisions to intervene in a foreign country to prevent genocide and mass atrocities are among the most challenging and controversial choices facing national leaders. Drawing on techniques from decision analysis, psychology, and negotiation analysis, we propose a structured approach to these difficult choices that can provide policy makers with additional insight, consistency, efficiency, and defensibility. We propose the use of a values-based framework to clarify the key elements of these complex choices and to provide a consistent structure for comparison of the likely benefits, risks, and tradeoffs associated with alternative intervention strategies. Results from a workshop involving Ambassadors and experienced policy makers provide a first test of this new method for clarifying intervention choices. A decision-aiding framework is shown to improve the clarity and relevance of intervention deliberations, laying the groundwork for a more comprehensive and clearer understanding of the threats and opportunities associated with various intervention options.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1440074. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.



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