Saturday, June 07, 2003

A New Model for Peacekeeping

The rivets are popping with increasing speed. The Congo, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Aceh, the Solomon islands, Burma. The world is facing a security threat occasioned by the collapse of societies, rather than the cross-border invasion of traditional armies. In this kind of world, United States forces are neither appropriate nor numerous enough to establish the peace and maintain the continuance of civilization.

What is needed now is the establishment of a separate leadership structure to which national forces can be assigned for the purposes of maintaining global order against runaway ethnic massacres, druglordism and barbaric practices like cannibalism. There is plenty of unemployed, second-tier military manpower available. The armed forces of New Zealand, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Germany and Japan -- Japan has the second largest defense budget in the world after the USA -- are doing nothing in particular, while the world burns.

What is needed is a new leadership structure to harness these idle forces and employ them in constructive ways. The United Nations, which was a creature of the Cold War, formed in 1946 in order to provide a forum for the resolution of conflicts in a bipolar world, has not adapted to meet the challenge. It now boasts of an unbroken string of failures in peacekeeping Of the 62 major wars and international conflicts which have broken out since 1945, only two have been acted on by the Security Council: Korea 1950 and Kuwait 1991. The Vietnam War, the genocide in Cambodia, the civil war in Biafra and the holocaust in Rwanda are not even counted in the tally of 62. The unfailing motto of the UN is: 'count on us to let you down'.

This leadership structure should parallel the American division of the globe into regional headquarters. There should be peacekeeping analogues to Central Command, Pacific Command, Northern Command, Southern Command, European Command and Pacific Command. These peacekeeping headerquarters should gather intelligence, prepare contingency plans and anticipate problems in their areas of responsibility and take control of such national forces as may be assigned to them by assent. The sight of French forces improvising a deployment to the Congo is a categorical indictment of the inadequacy of the so-called UN peacekeeping system.

The armed forces of the United States are the world's premier military assets and should be reserved to meet threats  which no other nations can be reasonably expected to face: North Korean nuclear missiles, Iraqi divisions,  the Al Qaeda, an oncoming asteroid from outer space. Within this strategic overwatch, the second tier-military forces of the world should maintain the peace and assist in nation building. It's a mission any nation can be proud of.