Panel II: The Capacity to Intervene
HOWARD WOLPE: Welcome, all of you--hopefully all of you. I’d like to ask--I’m sorry, but we’ve had a request that people on the ledges take seats in the auditorium and not on the ledges, because it presents some difficultly when we’re trying to move the microphones back and forth. So if you could just take seats in the audience, please. Can I invite you to take seats in the audience? Thank you very much.
I am delighted to introduce a very old friend as the moderator of this particular panel, Pauline Baker. Pauline and I go back more years than we want to count these days, but we actually began our work in Africa at the same time. Pauline was doing her work on her doctorate on Lagos, Nigeria at the same time that I was undertaking my work on Port Harcourt, Nigeria. We then also both ended up moving into the Congress in different capacities. Pauline worked for several years as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations staff and was very deeply involved in Africa policy in that capacity. And now she is Executive Director of the Fund for Peace here in Washington D.C., and she has been very deeply involved particularly in European peacekeeping capabilities and issues of institutional development within Europe. So I am very pleased to have you today as the moderator of this panel. Pauline Baker.
PAULINE BAKER: Thank you, Howard, and let me just make a slight correct. On the issue of humanitarian intervention, the Fund for Peace, which is an NGO whose mission is to work to prevent war and alleviate the conditions that cause war, we do have a program called Regional Responses to Internal War, and we are examining both the criteria and the capacity to intervene not only in Europe but in Africa, the Americas and Asia, and we have staff here today so if any questions come up on that, we have two experts who can address that issue.
I welcome you all to this panel. I think it is very timely, and it is a very nice follow-on to the one that occurred previously. This panel is supposed to address the question of what happens if the prevention fails; what is the capacity to intervene to stop not only genocide, but mass killings. Part of the problem if we just limit it to genocide is that we get hung up on compliance with a legal definition of genocide, which simply delays action. So I think we have to take a somewhat broader view.
I would also like to make a distinction here between the capacity to intervene and the capacity to prevent. We were discussing at the last panel what to do in Sudan. I don’t really believe that Sudan is a good example of the capacity to prevent, because the killing is already going on. What we need to discuss is the capacity to intervene in Sudan to stop the killing which has already started. If we just focus on preventive measures, we will just debate it to death, and we won’t act. A better example of the capacity to prevent would be Zimbabwe, I would think, where we have touched upon questions in the last panel of political will and so forth. I just make that as an introductory remark to make a distinction between prevention and intervention, and I think it is a point worth clarifying.
The question of the capacity to intervene actually raises a lot of the same issues as the capacity to prevent. Do we know what is happening? Do we have constituencies which support action? What are the criteria and the information available to fulfill and evaluate those criteria? Is there a political will as well as a sense of responsibility to intervene, and are there resources to intervene?
Without further ado, I want to turn to the panel. It is an excellent panel which has a very broad base of expertise. You have the bios, so I’m not going to go into the extensive biographical basis, just to say that Ambassador Altenburg, who is to my immediate right, will go first. He is the Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy at NATO. Then, to my left, Patrick Mazimhaka, who is Vice Chair of the African Union Commission; and then, Tori Holt, who is a Senior Associate with the Henry Stimson Center, and finally, William Ferroggiaro, who is with the National Security Archive, which I am proud to say was once a project of the Fund for Peace but is now an independent organization.
I will turn it over to Ambassador Gunther Altenburg.
GUNTHER ALTENBURG: Thank you, Pauline--and it’s nice to see you here. We are back discussing a thing we had been already discussing last year, in a way. I think I will do two things here with your permission. One, a very personal remark as someone who has been working on the Rwanda issue at the time, and second, I will present, if you wish, the party line, speaking as ASG for Political Affairs and Security Policy with NATO.
As you can probably see from my bio, I was up to the moment I took this office at the NATO headquarters a diplomat at the foreign office. And at the time, I was dealing with the United Nations and in particular peacekeeping operations. That was a pretty tough call, because I was the one who was supposed on the one hand to convince the people in Germany to do something about what we all were knowing and what we all were seeing, and then give the instructions--sure enough, in a hierarchy. But that is exactly the problem.
We are all here, sitting, talking about the political will. That’s all very fine. We are all well-intentioned diplomats, bureaucrats, what-have-you-- but no politicians. The problem is that the political decision has to be taken by politicians, and as it has been said here by the previous panel already, we know what is happening; there is enough time before things go awry. And we know what we could be doing, and then things go the way you have described it--wishful thinking, other agendas, things where the politicians simply try to explain but are not able to justify exactly what they are doing in order to avoid what they actually should be doing, and that is to take the decision to do something about the horrible things we were knowing. I, frankly speaking, am really astonished that all the things we heard from General Dallaire at the time did not make the way to the political decision makers of the entire international community. I mean, that was a really horrible thing.
As good bureaucrats and NGOs and political scientists, we think about schemes, about trip-wires --we put here and there in order to rein in the politicians and make it impossible for them to avoid the political decisions. But anyway, if they are up to avoiding the political decisions, frankly speaking, we all have a hard time. And that is something where indeed you need to have public opinion and where you have all sorts of--and really, it boils down to semantics--how to avoid the word “genocide,” how to avoid the word “genocide” when it happens. This is the point. I would subscribe also to what Samantha Powers said yesterday--you need people to cut through the red tape and come to the point and take the decisions.
That said, this is my personal remark on that thing, and I must say it is one of the worst and most terrible experiences in my whole professional experience to have been unable to sway the politicians in Germany at the time to do anything about it. I know why they did it. At the time, the government was facing a case in court at the constitutional court about our whole peacekeeping operations, and they didn’t want to rock the boat. But is that a reason to just look the other way? A good question.
That said, let’s turn to what NATO does. And my point of departure here will be what the U.S. Chief for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean Marie Guehenno, has been writing in the International Herald Tribune some time ago. He offered four basic lessons for preventing and managing conflict: First, no UN engagement in hot wars; second, partners count; third, no job without the tools--a very important point; and fourth, stick with it until peace takes root. I think that’s very good.
Compared to the UN, of course, NATO is relatively new in the job of conflict prevention, peacekeeping. It is only after the end of the Cold War that we started this. Yet we have accumulated some experience in particular with the conflicts in the Balkans. So what I would like to do is to share with you a couple of these lessons, seven in all, of what we have been doing and what we think we have been learning and that we are seeking to apply in NATO’s adaptation to the 21st century environment.
The first lesson--count on spillover. As we have seen in the Balkans and more recently in Afghanistan as well, when states fail, they tend to threaten security and stability not just in their own territory but in the region--and well beyond, sometimes. This does not mean that we have to intervene in each and every instances, but we should always be aware that indifference might be more costly, as was already said in the discussion before, than a timely engagement.
That leads me to my second lesson--intervene early. This also has been said in the discussion before. It is essential. Tackle a problem before it gets out of hand. NATO learned this lesson in Bosnia and in Kosovo, and we applied it first in southern Serbia and then in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia by taking a strong stance against ethnic Albanian extremists and urging political reconciliation with, respectively, Belgrade and Skopje. But there, too, the last events in Kosovo show you how close sometimes thing can come.
My third lesson--act with others. In Southern Serbia, after receiving NATO support, the European Union enhanced this monitoring presence, and the OAC launched a multi-ethnic police training program, and in Macedonia, while NATO was able to stem the fighting, the European Union and the United States were able to broker a political agreement. These are clear demonstrations of our institutions complementing each other and reinforcing each other’s efforts. Of course, that mutual reinforcement applies to post-conflict reconstruction as much as to conflict prevention, and it is something that NATO will continue to promote, including by building closer institutional links with these institutions.
The fourth lesson is prepare militarily. Some crises may be averted by limited diplomatic means, but once a crisis has erupted, solving it will often require military forces that are capable of performing a wide range of tasks from precision air strikes to weapons collection. Afghanistan has shown the additional requirement to deploy these forces over long distances and to sustain them in very difficult terrain. NATO has expertise and assets that are really unique by any other military alliance, and we are working hard to develop these capabilities even further to enhance the potential of our now 26 member nations to bring to bear forces that can conduct effective long-term military missions and to enhance interoperability between our forces and those of partners who make sure that they can be involved as well.
But as the operations in the Balkans and in Afghanistan show, it is always a very hard exercise for the people in the organization and for the Secretary-General in particular to get the member states to put their equipment into the operations. The name of the game is “You play, you pay,” and against the background of the political and economic performance of what is going on in most of the Western European states, financial resources are scarce. I mean, you can argue if there is another crisis in Afghanistan, it will be even more difficult and more costly, but at this point in time, trade unionists think about jobs, and you have a hard time to justify why you spend your money on a military operation rather than on creation of jobs.
So that brings me to the fifth lesson--broaden the coalition, both for practical and operational reasons, for reasons of political legitimacy--that is a very important point--and in order to win and to sustain public support. In Bosnia and Kosovo, multinational forces were able to deploy quickly because NATO allies and partners had gained valuable experience working together in partnership for peace. In Afghanistan as well, NATO’s partners have been crucial by facilitating the transit of NATO forces and by working shoulder-to-shoulder with them on the ground.
NATO is keen to reinforce this potential of its partnership relations, which is why we are working toward more individualized cooperation with partners, a stronger focus on engaging partners in the Caucuses and Central Asia, and a greater emphasis on defense reform to meet the new threats, including terrorism.
Lesson number six--think and act out of the box. Our success in stemming conflict in Southern Serbia and Macedonia was due in no small measure to the Alliance Secretary-General appointing a special representative who worked with a dedicated EU counterpart and a small team of civilian and military experts by frequent visits to Skopje and by the Secretary-General together with the EU High Representative Solana and the OSCE Chairman in office, were another innovation at the time, which was ultimately very effective. But there, too, you had the political will to do it.
More recently in Afghanistan, we introduced the novel concept of provincial reconstruction teams, relatively small groups of military and civilian experts who are charged with promoting security and reconstruction in remote areas and to help the central government extend its authority. In this and in other future crises, we simply cannot use any prescriptive scenarios or wiring diagrams. We have to be pragmatic, and as I said, think out of the box and really grasp and analyze the situation and find the right solution.
The seventh and final lesson--stay the course. That is easily said, but this is quite similar, I suppose, to the lesson USG Guehenno was saying when he said stick with it until peace takes root. This is it. I mean, we have to see the things through. There are many well-known requirements for intervention, including the need for proportionality, for unity of command and respect for humanitarian law, but the ultimate litmus test must be the readiness of those who intervene to engage long-term and get the job done.
NATO has passed that test, at least in the Balkans, and in Afghanistan we hope to be successful as well. I guess the recent events in Kosovo show the continuing need for international engagement, and NATO will stay involved politically and militarily even as we gradually hand over more of our responsibilities to the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We want to continue to assist the countries in the Balkans with their difficult reform challenges and to hold out to all of them the prospect of partnership for peace and eventually also membership in NATO. That shows the true extent of NATO’s commitment.
Ladies and gentlemen, this past decade, after a difficult beginning, our countries and our institutions have developed a quite remarkable common sense of purpose in dealing with a wide variety of regional crises. We have shown open-mindedness and flexibility in recognizing each other’s strengths and learning from past experiences, and we have shown a growing willingness and ability to complement and to reinforce each other’s efforts.
I think that that is the way ahead. We need to sustain that cooperative approach now. We must stay the course in the different theaters where we are engaged. And most of all, I think the most important message that I would leave here is that we need to have the support of the politicians to help us to do these things--to stay the course and to bring the military means to bear in these operations.
Thank you very much.
PAULINE BAKER: Thank you. Now we’ll turn to Patrick Mazimhaka to tell us about the African Union and what it is doing.
PATRICK MAZIMHAKA: Thank you very much, Pauline. Let me first of all very quickly recognize the very, very able contribution made earlier on by the first panel in addressing the cross-cutting issues of prevention and intervention. As you have said, it is really important to know that these are separated indeed by the fact that prevention should come when crises have not started. And drawing from the experience of Rwanda, I think that is very true.
The statement made earlier on by one of the panelists, saying that genocide does not take a few months, a few days to prepare, is very pertinent. My last talk at the Cape Town Holocaust Museum on April 19 was titled, “100 Years that Led to 100 Days” on genocide, because that is indeed the true story of the genocide of Rwanda as the idea and the possibilities were created for genocide.
But I will not go into that because that has been covered very ably by the first panel, and again, you have many publications coming out, including the latest books on this, with the facts that demonstrate that genocide in Rwanda could have been prevented--there is no doubt about that--and again, that all the facts were known before that. So there is something that was missing.
When we had the capacity to intervene in Rwanda, there was a decision made to withdraw the capacity. Again, that’s an area where we have to look at an intervention. What did we need to intervene when we had the forces on the ground? And the force which was there, which could intervene, which could increase capacity, mobilize more resources, was withdrawn, and the task was left, again, to a small force of Rwandans which had no capacity to increase capacity and had no resources to mobilize to prevent the genocide in time. At the same time, there was also political opposition to that act of stopping the genocide, manifested in very many ways, particularly the United Nations.
I think the lessons that we learned from this failure as an African organization are really very, very simple. First of all, one simple lesson was that Africa cannot wait for outsiders to come and intervene. I think that is a very, very clear lesson. Africa has capacity it can develop to intervene in its own catastrophes and conflicts. If you look today at the deployments that the United Nations has made in the DRC, for example, for the last three or four years, we always wonder at the African Union what, actually, the forces of the UN are doing, because the primary purpose of that force was to prevent any recurrence of genocide.
Since then, we have heard reports of attacks and attacks and attacks on Rwanda from the DRC. Again, here is a clear situation where the doctrine of the UN does not seem to respond to situations like that. I believe, without going into details, that this question of actually [inaudible] may be lack of political will.
Now, the Rwanda genocide prompted the organization of the African Union to set up a panel of eminent personalities. I must emphasize that it was not only Africans, but others also joined, to investigate the failure of the international community. The report that this panel made was entitled “Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide.” They made two important recommendations on the issue. They asked the African Union to establish appropriate structures to enable it to respond effectively, to enforce peace in conflict situations. Enforcing peace means intervention. They also called on the international community to assist such endeavors by the OAU then, the AU now, through financial, logistical, and capacity support. In addition, the panel called on the OAU to develop its own peacekeeping capacity. This leads directly into a new doctrine, a departure from the OAU’s old commitments to safeguarding intangibility of borders and sovereignty of nations.
The African Union, therefore, as a successor to the OAU, took up that challenge, and in its constitutive act, commits member states to deal with intervention by agreeing to a political framework and setting up the requisite mechanisms. The [inaudible] principles are evoked to underpin this commitment, and this comes when we talk about political will. It has to be demonstrated. It doesn’t come out of commitments, but indeed, state it, plan for it, and put mechanisms in place to implement that. That’s what political will eventually comes up; that is the political will that we can see and feel.
The principles evoke establishment of a common defense policy for the African continent. The right of the union to intervene in a member state pursuant to decision of the assembly--that is, the assembled heads of state--in respect of grave circumstances, namely, war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.
The third one is the right of member states to request for intervention from the Union in order to restore peace and security. The other one is respect for the sanctity of human life, condemnation and rejection of impunity, acts of terrorism, and other subversive activities.
However, let me say that these clauses sound good, but they exist side-by-side with traditional sovereign clauses that handcuffed intervention in the past. For example, Article 4(f) says “prohibition of the use of force or threat to use force among member states of the Union,” and Article 4(g), “no interference by any member state in the internal affairs of another.” But there are mitigating legislation measures following this.
The fact that the decision to intervene is vested in the Assembly and upon recommendation of the Peace and Security Council means that all member states are part of the decision and therefore they cannot protest an intervention. So the Peace and Security Council was established as an operational structure for effective implementation of decisions taken in the area of conflict prevention, peacekeeping, peace support operations, and intervention, peace-building, and post-conflict structuring.
Now, this peacekeeping and intervention that we are talking about is based on the principles that I talked about before. But more importantly, we call for building partnerships with the United Nations and the international community. Therefore, the Security Council can recommend to the Assembly to approve modalities for intervention, promote harmonization of activity with regional mechanisms, promote strong partnerships for peace and security between the Union and the UN and other agencies and nongovernmental international organizations. We should also develop policies and actions required to ensure that an external initiative in the field of peace and security is contingent on the framework of the African Union policies.
The commitment of member states to operationalize the Peace and Security Council is also stated, and member states have agreed. Now, there is a question of agreeing and also a question of committing, two different levels of showing political will. They agree that in carrying out their duties, the political council acts on behalf of member states. They also accept and implement the decisions of the Peace and Security Council in accordance with the constitutive act. They also agree to extend their full cooperation to and facilitate action by the Peace and Security Council for prevention, management, resolution under crisis or conflict, [inaudible] duties entrusted to it under protocol. In doing this work, then, the member states have protocols they have agreed to, but they have also agreed within the context of the Peace and Security Council that it acts on their behalf. That is very important.
Now, to do that, the Peace and Security Council shall establish a standby force. That standby force must have a logistical base, a command chain, and also capacity to do operations. And it is in this particular area where the African Union seeks partnership with other organizations.
There are two important engagements already entered into between the AU and the international community that restrict the kind of partnerships to develop effective capacity that we are seeking. It was mentioned earlier on by Maria the work we are doing with the EU. There is also an African G-8 Action Plan to enhance Africa’s capacity to undertake support operations. We are discussing that with the G-8 as a whole. And then, of course, the establishment of the Peace Fund by the AU and Africa to the tune indeed of 250 million euros, hopefully, $300 million. The exchange rate seems to do a yo-yo job on this one. And these operations are central and also support for regional operations that are going on, and we know very well that there are operations in West Africa that are ongoing, and we also have the operation in Burundi that the African Union has mounted on its own while awaiting the UN to take over.
However, much more is required. As an example of how much we require, to establish logistical bases, train forces, and operational costs is a very expensive affair indeed. I think those who know what costs, for example, common maneuvers like ACRI [African Crisis Response Initiative] and [indecipherable] would have an idea of what that is. And these are some of the resources that can be mobilized now to have a framework set up, actually, a permanent structure for African troops to do that kind of job.
In addition, as I said, we have operations that are going on. Burundi, for example, is costing about $150 million a year to operate at our level--not like [inaudible], with the precision bombing and big aircraft, but with troops that are deployed with the simplest of equipment but deal more with an approach that is less muscled, because those conflicts sometimes are not that muscled.
Let me finish by just saying a word about the question raised here many times on Darfur. Just to confirm what was said, there is a ceasefire that is shaky. It is shaky because it was not followed by any visible action to ensure that those who signed the ceasefire understand that all of us are serious about getting peace back to Darfur. Even if it is paving the way for further negotiations, that’s not a big problem. But there was no follow-up to this to show that there is willingness to stop the conflict.
As was mentioned before, Africa has an intention to mobilize observers to go into Darfur, and we have had the agreement of both parties, their signature, that they would welcome observers in Darfur. And let me say that also additional observers, like European Union observers, would definitely be welcome to get into this.
But we still have to insist that peacekeeping in the world is a responsibility of the United Nations. The United Nations is an organization that we all belong to, and therefore it should not lag behind. I believe that new recommendations fall short of what is needed. I think the United Nations has to reform its approach and reform its own doctrine in terms of definition.
PAULINE BAKER: Thank you, Patrick.
That segues very nicely into Tori, who will discuss about the United Nations.
VICTORIA HOLT: Thank you very much, and I want to thank Howard Wolpe and Anita Sharma for hosting this event and all of you for coming, because this is an issue that comes up a lot. When you really get into the details, it takes a lot of patience to wade through the substantive question of what is the capacity to intervene. Usually, I do this in powerpoint, so an advance apology if it wanders into jargon. I would be happy to talk to people afterward.
A little context, too. What I am going to talk about today is coming out of a project with the Stimson Center looking at the UN’s capacity from the Brahimi Report which came out in 2000. But before I get into that, let me just briefly point out that when we talk about “responsibility to protect,” what I will look at it as it is described by the Canadian Commission in cases of genocide, mass killing, and ethnic cleansing. There is also the responsibility to protect--civilian protection is a mandated mission that the UN can carry out, but that is often concerned, for example, with IDP protection, say, in a refugee camp, not in an immediate genocidal situation.
So just to distinguish between an immediate intervention and the ongoing responsibilities of peacekeepers in the field.
Why is this such a timely question? First of all, obvious to everybody here, the UN is currently running 14 peacekeeping operations with over 50,000 troops in the field--that includes roughly another 9,000 civilians as of March--with contributions from over 90 nations. New operations have recently been adopted by the UN after a relative lull. After a spurt from 1999 to 2000, we saw basically up until last summer the first mission, the expansion of DR Congo. Then, in Liberia last fall, and Cote d’Ivoire most recently, and now coming up with both Burundi and Haiti, and we expect in the future Sudan.
Even while East Timor, Sierra Leone, and the Balkans may be winding down, what we are seeing is--and the UN has been pointing out--that we are going to go up to potentially 70,000 troops in the field in the near future. The costs will expand to potentially up to $4 billion annually for the UN’s peacekeeping budget. This will mean that all the member states will need to pay more by the percentage they are allocated.
We have to ask the question: What is UN capacity now, what should it be, and where are the gaps, and then how does this relate to the capacity to intervene particularly as laid out by the responsibility to protect?
I also want to point out that there are new hybrid missions that have been going on, so while I’ll talk about the UN, the UN is off in a situation where it may be taking over, for example, from the African Union of ECOWAS in Africa, as we saw with Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire and we may now see in Burundi. Whereas the Europeans went into the Congo and helped transition to a more robust UN force there and also where new hybrid missions such as in Afghanistan and what we see with NATO in the Balkans, where the UN is playing a role but it might be taking a lead by either a member state or another organization.
But even with all this capacity, I just have to add the stressors that are currently on the UN system. We now have many developed nations that are providing troops to coalitions of the willing in Afghanistan and Iraq in particular. We also see ongoing, as I mentioned, troops in the Balkans, let alone the MFO forces. In general, capable forces are stretched.
This is the context, but let me back up and point out that the Brahimi Report is a report that came out in 2000. It was commissioned by the Secretary of the UN in part to say we don’t want to see another Rwanda and Srebrenica. We have too much on our hands. How do we reform peacekeeping and what do we do?
The Brahimi Report came out in August 2000 and had over 80 recommendations embedded within it--and if you are interested, my colleagues and I have finished a study on this in which you can look at all 80 recommendations. I won’t go into all of them today. I will focus on a few only and focus on the ones that are to our question about intervention immediately, particularly in an R2P [Responsibility to Protect] situation. And also, hats off to the UN, because they got this report and immediately passed more funding in an emergency session for more staff in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations [DPKO] and appointed within the Secretariat the Deputy ESG [Executive Secretary General], for example, to help run this, and there was a real commitment we think by the DPKO and other high-level folks to try to move these reforms forward.
In a nutshell, three conceptual things about the Brahimi Report, and then I’ll tag on some of the actual reforms, and then I’ll come back to the current capacity question and how that fits in with responsibility to protect. Number one conceptual point--war fighting is the job of states and coalitions, but it is pointless to deploy peacekeeping operations that can be pushed around by thugs in the field. Number two, peacekeeping and peace-building go hand-in-hand. And I won’t talk much about peace-building today, even though it is critical, as pointed out by the earlier panel, because of time, but I would like to cycle back to that in the conversation afterward. You cannot have just one without the other. Peace-building is necessary to sustain what has been created by the security force and the peacekeeping operation. And finally, you need a better peace operations capacity, but it requires not just a UN support structure but member states who are willing to make commitments and collaboration among states at all levels, including in the field.
There are three rough categories. The first is doctrine and strategy. I’ll just hit a couple of quick points. One, the Secretariat needed to be able to tell the Security Council what it needs to know, not what it wants to hear. This is something clear--more robust mandates were frequently what was required before deployment to the field. Further, the Council needed to do better consulting with contributing countries. Many of them do not sit on the Security Council and were not involved in decisions about what the mandate looked like or what the size of the force would be. Both of those are roughly underway, and progress has been made. A third one I can’t resist mentioning about [inaudible] strategy which falls into peace-building is rule of law and human rights issues. There was a recommendation that there be a doctrinal shift, so that will need to be integrated up front in the mission. We can talk about it. Technically, the UN said we don’t need a doctrinal shift, but in reality, we have seen that happening. There is still a huge lack within the rule of law capacity of the UN, although they have made strides.
Number two category--participating in, planning and managing operations. One of the important things is a recommendation that has a sort of icky abbreviation called “ISIS,” and I won’t bother to explain it, but basically, it is to help collect within the UN system the analytical and strategic capacity of the different knowledge people within the different offices of the UN. The recommendation was pull them together and create an analytical unit. This has not been created, and the UN does have an issue about getting the data needed on the ground in a one-stop place. It is beginning to be built through other offices but still does not exist.
The other recommendation was to have integrated management task forces so that when you set up an operation, you get people from all the different offices together to help plan the mission. This has happened, but it is not a decision making body at this time.
I mentioned the increase in staff, and I could get into the numbers, but just real short--the UN has improved its headquarters staff, but I just want to point out that of over 4,000 civilian police deployed in the field in the UN operations, they have all of 24 people to manage them at headquarters in the UN. Military personnel, there are roughly 63 permanent staff in the DPKO; many of them are paid through a separate budget, so they are not considered permanent staff. And we have, as I mentioned, over 50,000 troops in the field. Imagine running military operations and civilian operations with this kind of headquarters-to-field ratio.
I am going to move along now to the third point which is most related to our topic, which is rapid and effective deployment. First of all, the Brahimi Report for the first time actually defined what “rapid and effective” would be. It said, okay, 30 days for a traditional mission, and 90 days should be your goal for planning purposes for a complex mission. That’s what is called Chapter 7 and tends to be what we mean by intervention here. That was adopted, but it is still a planning function, and Guehenno recently pointed out that that’s still very difficult to meet, and even though things moved relatively well in the early days of Liberia, that was also helped out by the fact that the ECOWAS force was already in the region.
Advanced planning and spending authority--the UN usually couldn’t move out, didn’t have any money to spend before the Security Council acted. They now have this authority, but the funding of roughly $50 million is insufficient, particularly with all the new missions coming down the field. It was used well in Liberia, but they are going to need more resources.
Mission leaders--you absolutely need good mission leaders who are trained in advance, preferably brought to the UN headquarters. This also has moved out both for Afghanistan and Liberia, but as far as giving them strategic guidance in advance if they get into a tough situation in the field, it is not clear to us that that has actually been conveyed.
And then, some of the more hardware things. Two things. One, the UN Standby Arrangement System is a database that helps the UN plan what member states might offer when asked, and it basically allows the UN to know ahead of time what capacities might be available for member states; and second, it might help match up where a country is willing to provide personnel but does not have enabling units or logistical support. So this is a planning device to help coordinate them. It is okay, and it has gotten better, but it only has two nations listed at the most rapid deployment level--the RDL level--which is the UN’s idea about how we can really help secure who we know has what, who could move out quickly. So hats off to Jordan and Uruguay. The SHIRBRIG [Standby High Readiness Brigade], countries may participate, but they are still a Chapter 6, I think, and within the four levels, countries like the US are still at Level 1.
We could get into on-call lists and things like that, too, and also I want to talk at some point about recruiting for police. It is just very difficult because they are not deployed in groups or battalions. It is ones, twos, and threes. And English is not usually the first language, and I know particularly for Liberia that it was hard to recruit capable police on a short-term basis. Many of them didn’t even speak English or drive cars properly, so it was a problem.
Another thing that has been a real success that the UN should get credit for is its logistics space in Brindisi has been definitely improved, and they did a great job with strategic deployment stocks. So these are better than even the Brahimi Report’s recommendations for kits that could deploy folks better to the field and more quickly. However, with this concurrent number of missions coming up, it has already been used for Liberia, and the UN is running to try to catch up with what it is going to need for its future deployments. While it is built into fund what is taken out for one mission by the mission that is coming in, the time to have that happen takes too long for it to be able to keep up with the missions we are seeing.
One of the recommendations of the Brahimi Report is to try to have regional training for brigades, so if you don’t have a nation providing a brigade, you could have regional training where let’s say a developed state could help developing countries work together. This would enhance response time and make it more effective in the field so personnel aren’t meeting for the first time when they are actually deployed and showing up on site.
The Standby High Readiness Brigade, SHIRBRIG, which is chaired I think this year by Canada and is for the European countries plus I think some other nations as well, roughly 16, has done a great job helping to set up missions in Ethiopia and Eritrea, and I think they also did planning work with Liberia and Ivory Coast. Likewise in Africa, we have now the proposal for the African Union and the standby force with five regional brigades, which is I think still in the planning process. But other than that, there is not a lot of evidence that brigade-level folks have been trained regionally.
The Rule of Law Office within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations has also been working very hard to help integrate rule of law, security sector reform, police into the mission mandates, but there are only two people in the whole office. If one is in Congo and one is in Liberia setting up the mission, who is back at headquarters helping recruit and figure out the mission mandate and how you implement that? So one of our strongest recommendations would be that you need to look at this--it’s great that that office exists, but two people is not enough.
Public information is another important issue we could talk about.
All right. So basically, on the responsibility to protect, how does this UN capacity relate? Obviously, it is much better to have definition of “rapid and effective,” but if you are talking about intervention in the case of genocide, I’m not sure that you even have 30 or 90 days. While you may know a year ahead of time, the decision and the need to move quickly--that might not be fast enough, and the UN will struggle to even meet that in the coming year plus. While civilian protection is in UN mandates, it is more in the sense, as I mentioned, of responding to what is going on day to day in the actual field operation. And as we all know, the UN frequently does not take the lead in an intervention. It is frequently a member state--it might be NATO, it might be ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] --and then the UN is often frequently getting a Chapter 7 mission after as a hand-off. So one question is do we want the UN to have that capacity to lead the intervention?
Countries need to participate better in the standby arrangement system. They need to be at the rapid deployment level if they are to be effectively listed. We need better mission leadership and training in advance. The districts aren’t guaranteed. The strategic deployment stocks need improvement. There has been question about a second logistics base in Africa. One could consider that or expanding Brindisi in Italy. And then, continuing to work with regional organizations is one area where it can make a real difference.
At the end of the day, is there the capacity for the UN in particular to move quickly to do an intervention to prevent genocide? I cannot say yes. I welcome conversations about this. Does that mean it can’t? No. It does mean it has a possibility. This is not rocket science. We have a really good idea about what kind of capacity is needed and where the energy needs to go. Member states need to also think about once you have deployed troops, what is their doctrine, what is their training, what are the rules of engagement that the troops would use in the field for a protection mission, what is their willingness to use force, what are the commanders’ willingness to tell their troops to use force?
It is great if you can actually deploy and get these folks set up and in the field, but you also have to know how they are actually going to operate, and I can’t answer that question either.
I will wrap it up there. I know my colleague will talk about the U.S. Government and political will. I will point out that the U.S. in particular could do a number of things. It could participate in a standby arrangement and help train folks to be better at higher levels within that. On civilian policing, for example, we could help set up a certification system so that when a civilian police was recommended by a country, you knew they met certain standards that could be universal.
On funding, there are going to be some groans over how much this will cost, but without this, who is going to do it and do it effectively? We could also consider training. We have a new initiative coming out of our Department of Defense, but what it is going to train to do?
That would be my bottom line. Political will is always the question, but political will can also be influenced by what people think the capacity is. So let’s get that capacity question off the table and move all those debates back into the political environment where this belongs.
PAULINE BAKER: Thank you. Will, you are going to be talking about the U.S. role.
WILLIAM FERROGGIARO: Thank you, Pauline. Let me first off thank Dr. Wolpe and the Wilson Center for inviting me to join this panel. I am delighted to be here. I would also like to commend the role of the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Holocaust Museum and others in sponsoring the Remembering Rwanda events for the past six weeks. I think it has been something that has really contributed to our understanding of, again, the lack of political will in dealing with the Rwanda crisis. So I applaud that.
I would first of all like to give just a disclaimer--the views that I’m going to express here will be my own. The Archive doesn’t take a position on these matters. My approach to this is a foreign policy approach. So I am going to approach addressing the issue of political capacity and particularly the U.S. from that approach. I would, however, offer just an anecdote to the previous panel which is I had a conversation--talking about mobilization of the population for prevention--I had a conversation with a gentleman who serves on the National Intelligence Council not long ago--
WILLIAM FERROGGIARO [continuing]: --their watch list and how they internally have a sense of what countries are going to blow and so on. And I suggested in the open forum to him why don’t you make that public? In fact, as the U.S. Government and the Department of Homeland Security does with its various threat warnings, why don’t you indicate which countries are in danger? It would be quite something for the public to read about that in USA Today or in The Washington Post and have a sense, because then it asks us to ask questions about what is going on in those countries, and then it builds a capacity for understanding and in a political capacity to ask our leaders to pay attention to these countries. That is just an aside that I wanted to mention. Unfortunately, the member of the National Intelligence Council said that just wasn’t practicable, and I find that answer lacking, but that’s my own personal view.
I am going to talk specifically about the U.S. I am going to talk about political capacity. I don’t think that in the U.S. there is an issue of knowledge capacity. I think Samantha Power’s study makes that quite clear--in the 20th century, we have had the information. The system works in a way. Our intelligence functions, our diplomatic functions serve policymakers. In the wake of these tragedies, intelligence has in fact instituted things like the Great Lakes Task Force, new intelligence and warning internally. So the capacity for knowledge is not an issue.
I don’t think the coercive capacity, either diplomacy or military, is at issue, either. The U.S. maintains tremendous superpower reach. In the Rwanda example, for example, the Belgians asked in April of 1994 that they be airlifted out by the U.S. and that a new battalion be brought in. The U.S. alone possesses that kind of capacity. The U.S. military and armed services very much take to heart these sorts of things and have produced many After Action Reports, do systematic review of capabilities and resources such as the Bottom-Up Review which followed the end of the Cold War, and continually train their people.
So I am focusing on the political capacity, in particular because I think this is the missing ingredient in our capacity and the responsibility to protect. There is an established legal basis, a precedent, and there is consensus for intervention for threats to international peace and security, but there is a very less established basis for intervention for intrastate conflict. So the political component is essential for that reason. I think from the U.S. standpoint and from a foreign policy standpoint, the one way to address political capacity is to address the calculus of national interest. Until we understand that national interests drive foreign policy, we are not going to be able to get our heads around a U.S. role in an intervention capacity.
General Dallaire and others have recently suggested that the U.S. in fact stand by, that as a hyperpower, it stand by and let the middle countries take the intervention role and let the U.S. provide resources and material and logistics and technical assistance. I would like to step back and address the aspect of when the U.S. can participate as a lead country.
National interest--at the height of the genocide on May 5, 1994, Madeleine Albright articulated the Clinton Administration’s framework for national interest, which was that vital interests were those that affect our very being. Those are the nuclear issues, the commitments we have around the world to various countries. Those will be dealt with unilaterally. The U.S. might work bilaterally, it might work multilaterally, depending, but it would reserve the right to do things unilaterally.
Regional disputes are second, and national interests are a second level. These would be dealt with primarily through alliances, through NATO.
And then we have at the bottom rung global and humanitarian interests. These are the things that the U.S. viewed it could never solve--poverty, AIDS. These would be dealt with at the UN.
I think these thresholds are important to understand because this is how the political apparatus thinks. The thresholds determine the political, diplomatic, and force commitments and resources of the U.S. Government. They are based on threats to U.S. security. In other words, the reason we have 37,000 troops in the Republic of Korea is because a hostile state with eight nuclear weapons threatens an ally with which we are pledged to defend. That is a vital national interest of the United States.
There are correlating media and congressional and public consensus on these interests. Editorial boards were more active on Bosnia. They were silent on Rwanda--akin to ratcheting these threshold levels.
I think there are two problems with this national interest calculus. First is that genocide and atrocities often occur where the U.S. sees minor or no interest. Africa in particular is the lone region where no U.S. interests exist, a la Bosnia or Kosovo. There are no direct threats there to U.S. security. We have no military agreements. There is some negligible training going on, and we have very little trade relations with the African subcontinent. A second problem is that genocide and atrocity prevention itself is not a vital interest of the United States. We have never actually explicitly said that. We have a rhetorical not a political commitment to genocide and atrocity prevention.
Consequently, in Rwanda, we had no perceived vital or national interest so there was no direct unilateral U.S. action. Mogadishu in October of 1993 meant there would be no more troops for humanitarian reasons. Therefore, when Rwanda came around, there would be no U.S. support of UN actions. In other words, the humanitarian interests dealt with at the UN level in Somalia and Mogadishu in October 1993 meant we would not intervene there.
Consequently, the import of this national interest calculus is that presidents leave this calculus at their own risk. The Somalia debacle in Mogadishu meant that there was an amendment passed in the Senate, led by Senator Byrd, which for the first time since Vietnam cut off funding for U.S. operations overseas. It led to the resignation of the defense secretary and, some believe, his decline in health.
I would like to contrast this with another country, and that is Haiti, around the same time period when you are looking at the Rwanda example. But Haiti, as poor as it is, as seemingly unstrategic as it is, is in the U.S. sphere of influence. It is through our 200 centuries of promulgation of the Monroe Doctrine part of our security sphere. It was also a country that was putting refugees onto American shores. It was also something that President Clinton had experience with in 1980 as Governor in Arkansas when he had to deal with prison riots and put them down as Governor--and those were in fact Cuban refugees--but again, very directly affecting U.S. security interests. The reaction to that was that you had serious diplomacy. You had Senator Nunn, Colin Powell, and I think Jimmy Carter going to Haiti, brokering with the junta there, and then you had subsequently in September of 1994 the military invasion of Haiti.
Given this framework, how do we intervene? I think the Liberia example of last year is instructive. First, you establish connections to historic relationships. The U.S. and Liberia had an age-old relationship going back to the 1800s. You motivate constituencies if they are available. The Congressional Black Caucus was active on Liberia. In Somalia in 1992, you had Senator Kassebaum visit and publicize her visit and bring this back to the Senate. You established the importance to U.S. interests--humanitarian interests such as the massive civilian deaths; you had national interest in that the collapsed state of Liberia affected the region; you explained the importance of U.S. leadership and values. We don’t want to allow civilian suffering. President Bush went out and said that very publicly. And particularly you have the leadership issue of the President post-Iraq invasion having to show that he cared about the rest of the world. You also explain that the U.S. role is indispensable. We can bring an amphibious ready group off of the shores of Liberia very quickly. The British were engaged in Sierra Leone. Others are engaged. We alone can take this on. You also use the media. Particularly in the case of Somalia in 1992, you had Andrew Natsios and Herman Cohen holding weekly press conferences, saying how many people were dying. And then, as a final way to motivate political leadership, you can leak information to the media to advance policy if necessary. In other words, if the ships are turning around, and the public doesn’t know that the ships are on their way to Liberia, you can leak that to the media and in fact, the military is not going to turn ships around just because a leak has occurred. So you set the process in motion.
Finally, let me address the issue of improving political capacity. How do we make leaders realize that humanitarian intervention is the right political choice? I am going to stress that these are kind of evolutionary. I don’t have a ready fix for this.
I think, as Howard has said, that to build political commitment, you need to build effective constituencies--and not just self-interested ones. I think it is important to suggest that while many of us here are on various networks, and we have so much information available to us, talking about the kind of public support that will allow a Congressman to vote for authorization of intervention abroad. So we need to publicize these kinds of issues in order to get general public support for this.
First of all, I think there is the issue of educating and publicizing. Certainly books like Samantha’s contribute; conferences; the Carnegie Commission on Deadly Conflict; certainly public-private dialogue is important between government and specialists. Dr. Wolpe has talked about a training program to sensitize Congressional staff to the issues of Africa. I also think something that is very important is official public inquiries. I think it is important for officials to admit failure and/or success. It enhances government credibility. It legitimizes the government’s role to intervene. I think we fail to argue--there is so much talk about “Blackhawk Down” in Somalia--we fail to argue that the front end of Somalia saved hundreds of thousands of lives. That very often gets truncated in discussions of Somalia in intervention from the U.S. standpoint.
I think very much these inquiries also tend to have bureaucratic consequences and impact. They can lead to shifts in resources, setting up new offices, and building constituencies within government.
Finally, I think public inquires also ensure the greatest publicity for these types of roles, and then again, the process of building public support. I think it is important to publicize precedent. UNITAF, the first part of the Somalia operations, worked. Liberia, for many of its faults, worked. Charles Taylor is gone, killing has stopped, there is demobilization, and so on. I think it is kind of ironic that the Pentagon isn’t triumphing this success in Liberia, and I think we all know why they are not doing it. They are much more concerned with other more vital national interests rather than attending to the issues in failed states like Liberia.
The second point besides education is the issue of media. Despite the consolidation of major media, I think we are witnessing and we have over the past decade the enhancement of political networks--human rights groups, alerts, and so on. You get bulletins from all variety of sources now, and new technology such as the internet that wasn’t there in its full capacity at the time of Rwanda. These mean two things: one, that there is tremendous access to a broad variety of information about humanitarian crises, and secondarily, that there are potentially new and global constituencies and pressure for action.
My third point in addressing the political capacity is one that I think we fundamentally need to think about, and I think is deserving of perhaps a commission, and that is I think we need to rethink this national interest calculus and paradigm. This will require a reconception that humanitarian crises affect national and strategic interests. It will require revisiting political and military agreements for their relevancy--in other words, do we need 53,000 troops in Japan, 91,000 troops in Germany, and 37,000 troops in Korea? Are those capacities, are those commitments relevant in this day and age?
However, at the same time, when we ask those questions, we must address the fundamental insecurity of the military and national security apparatus, which is in 1993-1994 at the end of the Cold War, as these commitments for UN peacekeeping operations increased and in fact bloomed, there was a draw down in forces. And to ask the military to maintain its forces and its structure for all of these previous Cold War commitments and then ask them to undertake these post-Cold War commitments, we have to fundamentally review these, because that builds a level of insecurity in the military complex that must be addressed in order to take on these new types of missions. What I am suggesting doesn’t suggest that the U.S. suddenly becomes Canada and becomes the new peacekeeping mantle. I don’t think that is possible. I think we are at an historic place, and I think the U.S. is a hyperpower.
I think it requires a very explicit political commitment by national leadership and very explicitly laid out in the national security strategy of the United States and in the national military strategy of the United States for genocide or atrocity prevention. It will gain us moral authority and leadership stature. This guidance that is published, both the national security strategy and the military strategy, is necessary to orient the relevant bureaucracies to act so that you don’t have a joint staff, midlevel officer arguing at the UN that we are not going to support equipping Ghanaian troops to go into Rwanda.
Finally, I think being very explicit about this political commitment will call the public to arms, will raise this issue before the public. Unless we have this type of transformation, a President will always swim against a strong political current to commit troops for less than vital interests. Sad to say, I don’t think we are likely to find leadership willing to undertake this battle regularly.
I will leave you with just one quote that suggests a template given the United States’ unique role as a hyperpower in the world and vis-a-vis its role to the UN. It is a quote from the December 4, 1992 address by President Bush to the nation on committing troops to Somalia, and I think it suggests a template to deal with humanitarian intervention. He said: “In taking this action, I want to emphasize that I understand the U.S. alone cannot right the world’s wrongs; but we also know that some crises in the world cannot be resolved without American involvement, that American action is often necessary as a catalyst for broader involvement of the community of nations. Only the U.S. has the global reach to place a large security force on the ground in such a distant place quickly and efficiently and thus save thousands of innocents from death. We will not, however, be acting alone. I expect forces from about a dozen countries to join us in this mission.”
So I leave you with that as a conceptual framework for intervention, and I would leave my remarks there.
PAULINE BAKER: Thank you, Will. I want to congratulate the panel for all staying pretty much within the time limits, leaving us all with plenty of time for questions and answers. Howard tells me that we can go to 5:15, since we started a little late, and then we’ll cut it off at 5:15 sharp. And following his leadership, I am going to exercise the prerogative of the chair with the first question.
I think all of the panelists have made a very good case for showing that what we call the international architecture of response is changing. We are not real sure which direction it is going in, but clearly, we are thinking about it. And we have different levels of thinking about it. The African Union has probably the most advanced thinking and regional norms on the issue, having actually voted to suspend sovereignty in certain situations and legitimized humanitarian intervention as a mission of the regional foundation. No other regional organization or even the UN has really done that on a general generic way.
NATO, however, has the most advanced regional military capacity even though it is under strain, and the UN has the greatest legitimacy in terms of humanitarian intervention. So the question is let’s look a little bit in the future, and what do you envision in terms of marrying these strengths, filling the gaps of weaknesses?
For example, while the EU has given I guess the very first fund to strengthen African peacekeeping capacity region to region, what would be the likelihood of NATO adopting a new post-Cold War mission of training, doctrine, military capacity-building with, say, the AU or sub-regional organizations in Africa? What would be the role of the UN in not only fulfilling the Brahimi standards and closing those gaps but perhaps filling those gaps in cooperation with regional or subregional organizations and getting a better division of labor rather than taking on the responsibility of global peacekeeping alone? And what would be the role of the U.S. or other nations in redefining national interest in such a way that you could get more regional collaboration?
I know that’s a set of several questions, but I want to point this discussion a little bit to the future and see what kinds of ideas we have. Patrick, would you like to respond first as to whether or not this is something that the African Union would want, or the sub-regional organizations?
PATRICK MAZIMHAKA: Very quickly, I will respond positively. As I said in my presentation, the African Union recognizes the legitimacy of the UN. That’s the first thing. The African Union is also seeking partnerships, as demonstrated by what we have been doing with the European Union and the G-8. We would welcome putting all these resources together to be able to develop the capacity.
There was a remark that was made that there has been a draw down on actually forces available, but that’s not the case in Africa. In Africa, we have not had our fair participation world peacekeeping because of the standards that UN sets about capacity, and indeed, we don’t have that kind of capacity in our nations to be able to contribute. But if we can build on the blocks of the African Union as a continent that we are putting together, not looking at individual states, we will then be able to benefit not only the African continent in these kinds of situations but also the world at-large, where the UN has determined there is a legitimate need to intervene.
PAULINE BAKER: Gunther, would you like to comment on that?
GUNTHER ALTENBURG: Thank you.
Briefly, I agree very much with you when you say that the architecture and the mechanism have changed a lot since the beginning. We started out this exercise after the Cold War and there was this word about the interlocking institutions which for some time were interblocking institutions because some of the politicians couldn’t get it through their heads that we had to work together, and exactly to do what you were saying, that you get the legitimacy from, let’s say, a mandate from the UN or the OSCE, and then you need to look at what are the capacities.
Now, with respect to the capacities, we are all wearing thin. I mean, there is just one set of forces. Some people are just great in assigning their troops to different assignments, but when the call comes, they are in trouble, because maybe they are in the Balkans, they are already in Iraq, they are already in Afghanistan, and here we go, and we need a quick thing to be done here or there. And that is exactly the problem.
Therefore, I think my point would be very much with your last remark about capacity-building. NATO, frankly speaking, is not in the business of doing that with Africa, at least not south of the Sahara. We are doing a lot with what we call the Mediterranean dialogue countries, and we are trying to reach out to the U.S. concept of the wider Middle East to reach out to some of the Gulf countries. And we are very busy with the Central Asians and the Caucuses. But actually, there is a resource problem there. I mean, we are working practically on a zero growth budget, and here we go. All these force planners to do the job--where do they come from? They need to be paid. While all the foreign ministries are experiencing cuts and while our budget comes from these foreign ministries, they say, “Well, very sorry, while we have to have the cuts, why would we spend more money on international organizations,” or like that one. So indeed, there too, we need a little bit of a political push to be better on that one.
PAULINE BAKER: Tori?
VICTORIA HOLT: Just to follow up on your point about Africa and the UN. The UN actually has set up a new initiative to work with the African Union. They have also worked within West Africa to identify the cross-regional issues for all peacekeeping operations in the region and how there can be synergies between them. So I think that actually, that is moving forward in a useful way.
I like your premise of the question, but I’m going to challenge it slightly that the UN has more than legitimacy to offer. Despite my critical remarks, I think the UN has a unique role in that it can do peacekeeping with security, but it links up with peace building, which is the hand-off into development and relief, in a way that I’m not sure NATO would want to get into, but could potentially do the security aspect.
PAULINE BAKER: Yes, I agree with you on that. I was just trying to single out that you need qualities--
WILLIAM FERROGGIARO: Pauline, if I could just add three brief points from the U.S. perspective.
One is that I don’t think you can separate the political from the military component on this. What I mean about that very broad statement is that when we are talking about regional relationships, you can’t separate the war in Iraq from the ways that countries in other regions would be disposed toward cooperation with the United States. So I think that’s a first point.
Secondarily, the global war on terrorism framework that the U.S. has right now as part of its security architecture means that it is most concerned with U.S. security. We are doing various trainings and maneuvers in Kenya, but it is about U.S. security. It is not about what is happening in Kenya. That said, at the same time, there are very small amounts of training and money going through what was originally the African Crisis Response Initiative and now I think is under the acronym ACRI to train militaries in West Africa and other countries, other regions, to build up indigenous capacity.
PAULINE BAKER: Thank you. Let’s open it up, and please identify yourself. We’ll start on this side of the room and move over. This gentleman here.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
QUESTION: Thank you. My name is [indeciperhable] and until recently, I was a consultant for the Department of Political Affairs at the UN in the area of conflict prevention. Thank you very much for your very informative discussions.
My question is on the Responsibility to Protect Report which makes several recommendations, the most important of which seems to be establishing a set of guidelines for the Security Council to use when considering and reporting on potential genocides. The report also raises several questions for consideration in developing these guidelines, such as what is the nature and magnitude of crimes needed to trigger a response, and what are the tools to be used; how best to ensure consistent application of the responses; what structures already exist to help stop gross human rights abuses.
My question is twofold. Does anybody know of any practical work that is now being done to develop such a set of guidelines? And two, would convening a broad-based expert group to develop such a guideline and implementation strategy be a useful next step?
PAULINE BAKER: Tori, would you like to take that?
VICTORIA HOLT: I think there is actually a huge effort underway to operationalize Responsibility to Protect, both at the normative level, of which I think some of what you are discussing fits into, as well as at the field level. There is a whole NGO coalition in Washington as well as in New York, and the Canadian Government has a whole office committed to this as well. For example, I would throw out that the Woodrow Wilson Center [inaudible], could put you in touch--I think in New York there is an NGO coalition with the World Federalist Movement, and in this town, it is Citizens for Global Action, among others. So that is not a UN office for you, but it is a group of people who are looking at these, and the NGO community, I think, through Interaction is also looking into developing some guidelines, but I am unfortunately not an expert on what they are.
PAULINE BAKER: Yes, sir?
QUESTION: Good afternoon. My name is [indecipherable] I am a former visiting professor with the George Mason University in the Peace Operations Policy Program. I may say something that could be irritating, so let me apologize ahead of time. In appreciation of Pauline’s charge to look forward, I must in fact step back for a moment. After Nuremburg when we said “Never again,” I waste a lot of time -- or maybe “invest” a lot of time is a better word -- trying to determine what “Never again” means.
I am fascinated that of almost 200 nations in the world, everybody advocated a human and national responsibility when it came to intervening in Rwanda--a million people in 100 days. It is fascinating. It hurts and it pains because many people looked so much like me who died. And I often wonder could I have been one of those.
I ask that we look--and Will, I appreciate what you had to say about the political will--but I am also fascinated by Gunther’s verbalization of what the EU or NATO--what their charges are and what they did or didn’t do. I think we need to look truly, as Pauline has said, forward. But a basic question that I have is what role does race play in all of this. And that momentarily aside, I would draw your attention to a model that Professor Dave Davis at George Mason University has developed, a conceptual model of peace operations which is I think the unique model to look at conflicts and intervene in them, sometimes before they begin or on the potential latent side of it or after they have begun.
So I draw the question back, what does race have to do with all of this.
PAULINE BAKER: Will, do you want to take that one--was the question directed to him or to anyone?
WILLIAM FERROGGIARO: I’ll address it, sir. Again, I tend to think--that’s why I contrasted both the Rwanda and the Haiti examples. Unfortunately, I think it is even colder than an issue of race. It is really a question of how important are you as an interest to the United States. You have to look at the broad variety of interests. In the case of Haiti, the trade is minimal as Rwanda’s was to the United States. But you have to look at the security issues and the political component. You didn’t have Rwandans arriving on the shores of Florida in 1994 as you did Haitians and Cubans, and that is very much part of the political component of leadership to respond. Unfortunately, that’s where we are.
Certainly, as you have probably noted in your own studies, Africa’s role in the national security bureaucracy is systemically disadvantaged. There is no question about that. But again, I think it gets to the sheer amount of people deployed at the White House on the National Security Council to cover Africa as opposed to cover Europe. But I think it aligns to Europe’s material and military interest to the United States.
That’s how I see it, and I think that’s probably the best explanation for it until--and again we get to the longer issue of when will Africa’s trade matter to the United States. I think in fact it is changing. Gulf of Guinea oil imports to the United States are now approaching 20 percent of U.S. imports. There is a recognition--and we were talking earlier about Pauline’s first question about the U.S. and regional responses--there is an increasing awareness on the part of the U.S. of the role of collapsed states, so we are looking at countries in Africa differently. But again, vis-a-vis U.S. security, not about the international dynamics of what is happening in those societies.
So unfortunately, I think the interest calculus is still very prevalent.
PAULINE BAKER: Gunther, would you like to comment?
GUNTHER ALTENBURG: I think I would start with something you have been saying, Will, about Somalia, which probably shows you that indeed it is not so much about race, but about public perception of certain problems. At the time, I think everybody was talking about the “CNN effect.” There were all these poor Somalis dying of hunger and this and the other, and all of a sudden, for reasons of indeed the public perception of that problem, the U.S. took that decision and practically took us all with them to do this.
And I think it was a completely new paradigm. If you think about the Cold War at the time, the Horn of Africa, that was the nightmare of all the force planners in the world. We could not allow Somalia to fall into the hands of the Warsaw Pact, although they were already there. We were all obsessed about white spots on the map, and all of a sudden, the end of the Cold War, who cares about Africa, who cares about white spots, and this and that. Until this thing comes onto the television screens, and we have it every night and every night and every night. Therefore, I think it depends very much on what is the perception of a problem, how does this work on the political decision making process.
My second point would be--and I am also covering a little bit of the question we have heard before--that indeed, I think the bureaucrats--people like me, for instance, who are working in the international organizations, we have learned a lot over the last decade or so in coming together. We now meet openly, where in the past, for instance, we had difficulty in meeting our EU colleagues--we need to go gastronomically into some restaurants to meet them and informally talk about the things that were of interest to us. Now we are having staff meetings, we are having staff meetings with the EU, we are having staff meetings with the United Nations, with the OAC, and that very regularly.
I think that slowly, slowly, things are developing, and they are developing also with respect to the responses to this report. I think what we are trying to do, as I said earlier, is we are trying to kind of force the politicians into some sort of scheme and not to avoid the political decisions.
Now, of course, all of this is a resource problem, and there, I would agree with Will that Africa is weak on this, or at least south of the Sahara is weak in the international organizations in wielding the power there.
PAULINE BAKER: We have a lot of hands, so please make your questions very, very brief. Yes?
QUESTION: My name is [indeciperhable] and I represent the Society for the Suppression of Uncomfortable Questions.
PAULINE BAKER: We have already had some of those.
QUESTION: I figure there are some other people here from the same company. Anyway, I have a question regarding implementation of security measures, particularly military-type interventions. And the question that I have is what role, if any, do you all envision--and I am addressing it to the whole panel, because I think you’ll have different answers--what role, if any, do you envision for the so-called private military firms a la Blackwater Security, Dyncorp, CACI, Titan, just to name a few of the currently more controversial.
The reason that I am asking this is because for all the talk that we have had in the last two panels of the contributions and assistance and measures that should be taken by the multilateral institutions, the multilateral institutions are currently subject to significant constraints in their ability to raise troops. And I am just curious whether you envision a role for the private military firms, and if so, what kinds of regulations would they be under, and if not, what is your view on them?
PAULINE BAKER: Let’s have some very brief answers if we’re going to have everyone talk. Tori?
VICTORIA HOLT: I’m not going to address the substance of your question, but I will say that the UN makes its own decisions on this, but the UN does use contractors. They are thinking about maybe doing it now for strategic lift, which is one of the big problems they have had. And certainly private companies do a lot of logistical support in the field. I think your question gets more to would they actually be doing the security peacekeeping mission, which I will pass to a colleague here.
PAULINE BAKER: Patrick?
PATRICK MAZIMHAKA: I think I would have really pleaded not to answer that, but let me say this. The African Union, because of the history of such organizations on our continent, would find it extremely difficult to accept private military operations to be deployed on our continent.
QUESTION: But they have been deployed on your continent; they have already been deployed on your continent.
PATRICK MAZIMHAKA: But we have said we are very uncomfortable; it is very uncomfortable. And I’ll tell you why we are very uncomfortable. I think you will recall the stir recently of a private military firm that was stopped in the middle of staging a coup in Equatorial Guinea. Unfortunately, most of those participating were Africans. So we are very, very uncomfortable with that concept, much as they may be deployed by those, of course, who can deploy without our consent. But definitely that is a concern for us, and I would encourage that.
WILLIAM FERROGGIARO: Pauline, I would just add that it sidesteps the whole issue of political commitment. It’s an easy out, and I just think it’s the wrong answer.
PAULINE BAKER: Gunther, would you like to comment?
GUNTHER ALTENBURG: Well, I think different armies, different traditions in that respect. Everybody, I think, after the Cold War, under the pressure of having to rationalize their costs, has been doing outsourcing, but they have been doing outsourcing in particular in the area of support, combat support and logistics, mainly. To outsource the fighting is something different. Then, you are already in deep water of where do you draw the line between a regular military and mercenary. That is something that, as far as I can tell, we have not yet--sure enough, you have all sorts of people, also private people, who are working as bodyguards; that is sure. But under a government contract to do the war fighting, that is something that really needs to be looked at very carefully because of the implications that this has also in terms of international law.
PAULINE BAKER: Jason?
QUESTION: [indeciperhable] with the Fund for Peace. I have two questions. The first is for Ambassador Mazimhaka. When Tori was discussing the challenges facing the UN, she mentioned the difficulty of having member countries say what contributions they would make and actually state those contributions. I was wondering how much success is the African Union having in getting its member countries, for example, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Kenya, to say what it could or would contribute down the line if need be for an emergency response.
My second question is for Ambassador Altenburg, and that is how much success is NATO having in getting its new member countries to put more assets to building up the type of capacity needed for these new types of missions and these peace support operations? Seeing as how they are facing in a sense transforming their militaries, how successful has NATO been in saying we think you should put priorities into these certain areas? Thank you.
PAULINE BAKER: Patrick, first.
PATRICK MAZIMHAKA: I certainly will say that Africa is a lot more successful than the UN. I know that many countries have already enlisted themselves in all the five brigades. I think that will not be the problem. I think the problem is how rapidly can they deploy, because it is a commitment of troops, but then, troops which must be trained, as was said before, into a common operation, [inaudible], common equipment, standardization, and all that. But of course, sure, for the soldiers, I think they are available. But to say they can be deployed rapidly, absolutely not.
PAULINE BAKER: Gunther?
GUNTHER ALTENBURG: Thank you for that question. I would say two things. On the 2nd of April, we raised all the flags before NATO Headquarters, and up to that moment, of course, the candidates were candidates, and they had to show that they were candidates and that they were eager to perform and so on. So they of course were all eager to be involved in whatever we do in the Balkans, in Afghanistan, and some of them also in Iraq. Now that they are in, one needs to see how things go, because now they have practically everything they wanted, and now they have probably to reassess where they are, and I get different noises about their threat assessment, and it is also costly, there is no question about that. They are all committed to something like 2 percent, something old NATO, old Europe, is not doing as well as the new ones are, but they have to transform their forces, and they are actually doing quite well in that. And I think we’ll have to see, let’s say, in about two years or so where we are.
PAULINE BAKER: Let’s take three more questions, because we are getting near the witching hour. We’ll start with this gentleman, that gentleman, and the one in the middle--if we have time, we’ll take yours--it depends on how fast they answer.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. I am Zac Nsenga and I am the Ambassador of Rwanda to this country.
Thank you very much. I have been listening to the panelists and to the panel before, and I think these are extremely interesting topics that we are listening to which are helping us to learn more.
I am particularly heartened to hear that a lot has been done in the way of intervention and prevention, but there is one puzzle which I want the panelists, especially the African Union and the United Nations, to help me.
In 1994, after the genocide, we had a whole army and the gendarmes and the militias who committed genocide in Rwanda who fled into Congo. Since then, they have been based in Congo. We know that most of them actually did not participate in the genocide, and since then, we have been trying to bring them back, but it is a core group that still remains there, and they are known by everybody. In the process of improving things and [inaudible] strategies to deal with this, is there anything that is being done, either at the African Union level or at the United Nations level, to deal with this current problem of [inaudible] militias in Congo who attacked Rwanda [inaudible]--on the 7th, on the 8th, and on the 9th, they attacked Rwanda. And one of the puzzles is that when we tried to do something about it, the UN actually tried to come up with a resolution to condemn Rwanda. So is anybody looking at this puzzle, and is there anything concrete that I can hear from here that can help us?
PAULINE BAKER: Thank you. The gentleman right behind you.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. My name is [indecipherable] and I am a graduate of the Fletcher School. My question is in regard to the noticeably absent capability on the part of the Organization of Islamic Conference or the Arab League in particular to have any indigenous conflict prevention or intervention capabilities. I was wondering if the panelists have any insight as to why there is a lack of presence, if indeed there is one, and if they perceive there to be a need to have that presence be felt or have it fulfilled; and finally, what can other IGOs do in particular to maybe encourage such a capability to be formed. Thank you.
PAULINE BAKER: Thank you. And the last question, please.
QUESTION: My name is [indecipherable], and I am with the Conflict in Development Team in the Africa Region of the World Bank. Several of the panelists on the previous panel and this panel have intimated that the notion of intervention extends beyond the initial diplomatic and military actions that bring the cessation of hostilities. There are three components to my question. First, from the outset of intervention, what capacities and strategies should be in place with regard to post-conflict before an intervention is even considered? Second, how can development assistance be better leveraged as an instrument of peace-building? And third, how can multilateral and bilateral donors better structure their activities vis-a-vis conflict to serve more effectively as peace-building institutions?
PAULINE BAKER: Thank you. I’m going to ask the panel also to answer as briefly as possible, starting with the first question on the army in the Congo, Patrick. And then, Tori, you will talk about what the UN might or might not be doing.
PATRICK MAZIMHAKA: The army in Congo?
PAULINE BAKER: The army in Congo--what is the African Union doing about the army in the Congo.
PATRICK MAZIMHAKA: [Inaudible] armies in the Congo--yes, I know what you are talking about. The African Union, OAU at the time, had an operation in the Congo, something called the Joint Military Commission, the observers in the Congo. The Government of Congo definitely did not want that association to continue, so we don’t have any observers on the ground right now.
But the African Union indeed, alarmed by the situation you have described, we are taking up the matter, and in the last meeting of the Peace and Security Council, Congo was on the agenda, and we are consulting with the countries involved and the UN, of course, which has got deployment there, to see what we can do effectively, as you said, to disarm those forces, because it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to know that that situation destabilizes not only Rwanda but the region as a whole. And as one diplomat said to me, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that Rwanda will, if nothing is done, go back into Congo to deal with the issue.
PAULINE BAKER: Tori?
VICTORIA HOLT: I can’t answer the specific point that you make which is what has been at the core of the Congo mission’s problem, as well as recruiting troops who are willing to go there and making sure that the Chapter 7 mission is really a Chapter 7 mission, as we saw this summer with the crisis there. I think the good work of the Europeans coming in and providing more support. It’s a huge country. There are not enough troops there to be able to control all the militias, and I think the mandate is relatively limited. So I think your problem is right, and I don’t have a good answer for it. I’m sorry.
PAULINE BAKER: Who would like to volunteer to answer the second question on the Arab League?
GUNTHER ALTENBURG: I think that’s my call. We do indeed, since quite some time, have a cooperation with what we call the Mediterranean dialogue partners, with seven of them. That is, Mauritania--a typical Mediterranean country--Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. We would probably go further, but there are some sensitivities, and what we are trying to do is to work with them in the security sector. We are quite successfully working with some of them, like Jordan and Algeria, on some of their defensive forum [inaudible] projects and border security and these things. So this is under way.
Clearly, there is a resource problem, as I have said, and we are trying to offer more, but one also needs the other side to be interested in that, and that is under way, that is under way. We will have to see how it works. At present, the overall political situation in the Middle East is probably not very conducive to that sort of cooperation at this point. They are all interested in doing bilateral things, but it is a difficult sell. The idea of what we are trying to do is to reform the security sector in a way that it comes under the political leadership and the civil control. That’s the idea about the whole exercise, and [inaudible] to understand what we are trying to do.
PAULINE BAKER: We have the final question, which is quite a big question. Who would like to take that on in a brief way? Tori?
VICTORIA HOLT: You asked a question about a strategy for peace building. There have been strategies written. The question is about implementation. Part of peacekeeping operations is working better with the Department of Political Affairs, DPA, which should have a lead on this, and we can talk about it--it is some of the stuff I couldn’t get to--whether it is DDR [disarmament, demobilization and reintegration] activities, electoral support, security sector reform, all of this, quick-impact projects, overlap with peacekeeping. In general, I would argue, our report would argue, that the DPA needs to have a good look at it and its capacity.
Many of these things which the Brahimi Report recommended weren’t funded at the end of the day sufficiently. It is still voluntary funding versus integration within the UN. So if you want a laundry list of “to do’s” I could give that to you afterward.
PAULINE BAKER: I am going to give the very, very last word to Will, who asked to have a last intervention on Sudan and promised to make it very brief.
WILLIAM FERROGGIARO: Very short. In answer to your question, too, just as a critical response to national and multinational assistance to countries, in fact, is a book called Aiding Violence by Peter Uvin. If you haven’t read that, I think it’s a real critical analysis.
My final comment--we spoke very specifically about military capacities, and we are talking about intervention. I am really struck by the situation in Sudan now. I focused my remarks as well, and I mentioned diplomacy and a number of things, but it seems to me that we have with the war in Iraq an extreme emphasis on diplomacy elsewhere. And I am struck by the lack of high-level diplomacy on Sudan. Sudan is a country with a GDP of $13 million. What I am suggesting is that we have diplomatic levers to use, and we are not using them.
I just leave that as a final component of political capacity--it is not only the military capacity but the diplomatic capacity to force countries if we want to use them.
PAULINE BAKER: Thank you. Please joining me in thanking the panel for very excellent presentations.
HOWARD WOLPE: And let me conclude by thanking you, Pauline, and all of our panelists for outstanding presentations today and a lot of food for thought.
Patrick will know what I mean when I say that in some ways, when I hear discussion of [inaudible] and failure to deal with that issue in the Congo, I feel like deja vu all over again. Patrick played a major role in negotiating what was really a remarkably important agreement, the Lusaka Agreement, that really has set the framework in a holistic fashion for dealing with the Congo crisis. We spent a lot of time working on that and have just one element that has not yet been addressed. That is really a very sad commentary still on international failure. There is a history, but we don’t have time to go into that.
I want everyone here to know that Jerry Fowler at the Holocaust Museum and I have agreed that there will be a full transcript of today’s proceedings and Samantha Power’s presentation last night as well, that will be prepared, and then, we will be developing a joint report on all of these, because we think the quality of the presenters and of the discussion merits a very broad dissemination. The event, as I indicated earlier, has been webcast, so will shortly be available on our Web, which can be accessed through our Archive on the Web at WilsonCenter.org. To all of you, especially those of you who have traveled long distances, my great appreciation. Thank you to all for participating.