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Book Review

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The beaver's dam is comparable to protective intervention for at-risk populations.' Beavers need dams to enlarge the underwater habitat that will be open to them in winter, by creating a pond deep enough so that the bottom will not freeze. Humanitarian corridors and safe havens serve parallel functions for displaced civilians during times of conflict. Deep water, whether it is due to a beaver dam or not, provides storage for winter food and year-round underwater access to the den secure from predators. The shelter and safety deep water provides can be likened to the physical protection needed to safeguard civilians and aid convoys, deliver humanitarian supplies, forcibly disarm belligerents, and shield humanitarian workers during and after conflict. Increasing the area of the pond through damming and additional downstream impoundments provides safer access to additional food supplies for beavers in the same way that buffer or no-fly zones protect vulnerable civilians. The Responsibility to Protect can be likened to the beaver because it seeks to build a "dam of protection" through the actions of the international community, to safeguard and preserve human life in nations whose governments fail to do so. Just as beavers without dams are more at risk of death and starvation during the winter season, people in areas of conflict that lack buffer zones are similarly at risk year round. This analysis seeks to determine whether the report adequately lays out a viable strategy for the international community that complements, in human terms, the protective rationale or logic behind the beavers' dam, by providing a framework for intervention to protect at-risk populations in such a manner as to minimize human suffering and loss of life.