The subtitle of Emmanuel Kreike’s Scorched Earth foreshadows the goal of this impressive and comprehensive contribution to the field. His goal is to chip away at the Nature-Culture dichotomy that he argues drives, and limits, much of the analysis that is produced of historical, and modern, warfare. Kreike uses the concept of environcide, which he defines as “intentionally or unintentionally damaging, destroying, or rendering inaccessible environmental infrastructure”, and argues that the traditional assumptions about nature and culture in the study of warfare obscure the importance of the natural world in determining who lives and who dies. For the field of genocide studies, Kreike’s work promotes the analysis of mass violence and potentially genocidal conflicts by looking not simply at actions taken by perpetrators directly against victims, but also at a litany of actions that perpetrators might take that could reasonably result in mass death, joining those in the field who promote a shift in the definition of genocide that includes actions that do not simply meet the definition of dolus specialis to also those that demonstrate dolus eventualis. While confiscating food and burning fields may not fit our current understanding of genocidal acts, they can certainly have the same eventual outcome as the use of machine guns and poison gas. And, recent scholars of risk factors do note the importance of “crises, resource scarcity, population pressure, natural disasters” as increasing the likelihood of genocide.
"Book Review: Scorched Earth: Environmental Warfare as a Crime Against Humanity and Nature,"
Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal:
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usf.edu/gsp/vol15/iss3/14
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