Humanitarian Politics: The International Committee of the Red Cross
By David P. Forsythe
Johns Hopkins, 1978, 298 pp.
Edited by Maureen R. Berman and Joseph E. Johnson
Columbia University Press, 1977, 268 pp.
Reduced transportation costs, a growing network of international communications channels, and the inability or unwillingness of governments to treat certain issues in official diplomacy have fostered the growth of multiple "unofficial diplomats" and agencies, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Quakers and other religious groups, and many international non-governmental organizations. The collection edited by Berman and Johnson - the latter a past president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - traces many useful and unpublicized activities of several unofficial groups. David Forsythe's study assesses the major efforts of the ICRC in improving conditions of prisoners and in transmitting humanitarian aid since World War II. A concluding chapter and postscript evaluate the changes required in the ICRC if it is to foster humanitarian values in a world of sometimes inhumane nation-states.