AP’s new math declares Security Council as top contributor to Peacekeeping

Briefly, in an article on UN peacekeeping titled UN says still trying to get peacekeeping right, the Associated Press’s John Heilprin writes that “U.N. figures show the 10 biggest troop-contributing nations to U.N.-mandated operations are the U.S., Pakistan, Bangladesh, Britain, India, Italy, Germany, France, Nigeria and Nepal.” This is completely false, unless perhaps the author includes the peacekeeping operations before the end of the Cold War, for which I have not analyzed the data. Even then, I doubt the author is correct. The article also fails to properly attribute failures in UN peacekeeping as it glosses over “controversies” while ignoring the underlying systemic problems.

The top 10 “troop-contributing nations” look more like this sample from the end of 2009: Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, Egypt, Rwanda, Nepal, Ghana, Uruguay, and Italy. If the consideration is “police-contributing”, then the top 10 states are: Bangladesh, Jordan, Pakistan, Nepal, Nigeria, India, Senegal, Ghana, Philippines, and Zambia. If the top 10 is overall contribution of forces, then this is the list with their contribution for December 2009 in parenthesis: Pakistan (10,764), Bangladesh (10,427), India (8,757), Nigeria (5,807), Egypt (5,155), Nepal (4,311), Jordan (3,798), Rwanda (3,671), Ghana (3,633), and Uruguay (2,513).

The Security Council permanent member contributions in December 2009 was: China (2,136), France (1,610), United Kingdom (282), Russia (365), and US (75).

I wrote about the challenges and mercenary-nature of most of the peacekeeping forces in a 2008 magazine article that also raised the fact Blue Helmets are outside (not just beyond) the law of armed conflict. The UN Security Council’s share of peacekeeping forces have been historically low, especially since the end of the Cold War – the only time that really matters now. More recently, I wrote about an evolution in peacekeeping that may be both promising and reinforcing.

See also:

Tom Barnett on the next generation of UN peacekeeping

Tom Barnett, writing at his blog, described my article on UN peacekeepers as a tool of public diplomacy at World Politics Review as a “smart piece.” My article, titled “UN Peacekeeping as Public Diplomacy“, explores a third generation of peacekeeping that is appearing selectively. The new driver, one in which states contribute forces to further their own agenda, holds the potential of increasing the quality of UN engagement in some missions while at the same time reducing, or maintaining, the quality of engagement in others.

In his brief discussion of the article, Tom relates his personal and supporting experience with the Chinese with regards to Africa.

I myself have been surprised, whenever I met with Chinese military officers, how many of them have done time on the continent. It is really viewed as a prime operational experience.

I recommend both a read of Tom’s review, which quotes my article, and a review of the article itself at World Politics Review (free trial subscriptions are available). Your comments below, here, Tom’s blog, or at WPR are appreciated.

UN Peacekeeping as Public Diplomacy

Certain countries, China in particular but also potentially Brazil and India, are increasingly leveraging UN peacekeeping as an opportunity to engage local populations to further national interests.  China, for example, has followed through on its word to increase its UN activities to further its image as a responsible power and to create awareness and connections with individuals and countries alike. 

At World Politics Review (subscription required), I have a short article that explores what may be the third transformation of UN peacekeeping.  From its inception as means to keep an agreed upon peace between two warring parties (hence the name), to peacemaking, some countries are using opportunities facilitated by wearing the Blue Helmet to build relations in troubled places that posses valuable resources and, secondarily, markets. 

A subtle evolution of United Nations peacekeeping operations is underway. …

The global movement of people, information, goods, and services creates new opportunities, but also new threats for peacekeepers. With the immediate and persistent availability of information, peacekeepers and their home countries will be increasingly held accountable for their actions, as well as their failure to act — a situation countries were long able to avoid. …

This public diplomacy component of peacekeeping, which connects with the general public and leaders alike, is potentially transformative and empowering for a country’s agenda, as increased contact creates awareness of culture, language, and narratives. This facilitates greater understanding, as well as personal and institutional connections, potentially opening markets and access to resources through the development of formal or informal relationships.

Read the U.N. Peacekeeping as Public Diplomacy in its entirety. A subscription is required, so subscribe or sign up for a trial subscription.

U.N. Peacekeeping as Public Diplomacy

U.N. Peacekeeping as Public Diplomacy by Matt Armstrong, 19 May 2010, in World Politics Review.

A subtle evolution of United Nations peacekeeping operations is underway. If the first of these missions kept an agreed-upon peace, and later missions sought to make peace, several countries now use these operations to advance their foreign and economic policy agendas, and raise their global profile. This shift, selective as it is to date, may potentially raise the standard of conduct in U.N. peacekeeping operations increasingly fraught with charges of criminal behavior, corruption, lack of accountability, and general ineffectiveness. However, there are significant downsides to this approach. …

These same conditions create opportunities to increase the reach and the potential impact of peacekeeping, even in areas where the communications infrastructure is underdeveloped. As the geographic reach of a peacekeeping mission extends further beyond its immediate area of operations, the effects of success, or failure, increasingly shape perceptions of the contributing nation and the mission.

This public diplomacy component of peacekeeping, which connects with the general public and leaders alike, is potentially transformative and empowering for a country’s agenda, as increased contact creates awareness of culture, language, and narratives. This facilitates greater understanding, as well as personal and institutional connections, potentially opening markets and access to resources through the development of formal or informal relationships.

A brief examination of today’s U.N. peacekeepers reveals that three countries are well-positioned to leverage this new facet of peacekeeping, although they are at various stages of this process. The first, China, is demonstrating the power of such an approach as it effectively couples peacekeeping with its national agenda. The second, Brazil, though lacking China’s horizontal and vertical integration of policy and action as well as Beijing’s global aspirations, is using peacekeeping operations as part of its efforts to gain a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. The third, India, is just entering this path, and still struggles to come to grips with its potential leverage as a major contributor of peacekeeping troops, even as it tries to define its role in regional and global affairs. …

The dynamic nature of credibility makes it an important but volatile asset that organizations and institutions must manage with care. Over the past 60 years, the U.N.’s image, credibility, and ultimately its effectiveness have often been tied to its peacekeeping activities. While that image has been tarnished by peacekeeping scandals involving sex, drugs, and corruption, contributor nations have largely escaped public condemnation. However, as peacekeeping forces face increasing transparency and accountability as a result of the global environment’s expanding interconnectivity — including less-developed regions — the potential for peacekeeping to build up or tear down the “brand” of a country will increase dramatically.

This shift in the purpose of peacekeeping from a contributors perspective is positive, but not without potential pitfalls. While contributing nations can increase their global image, international prestige, and soft power through a smart application of traditional and public diplomacy, such concerns could lead to increased selectivity of missions based on potential payoffs to national interests, at the expense of the collective interest that peacekeeping operations are primarily meant to serve.

Beyond Government Accountability: a challenging look at Peacekeepers

My article in Serviam, the magazine dedicated to “Stability Solutions in a Dangerous World,” is now available.  I mentioned it before, but now you can read the whole thing. 

It’s intended to be thought-provoking.  By the way, it was vetted and approved by an international lawyer and a consultant to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.  There will be more on the subject of the lack of accountability of peacekeepers by others.  In the immediate future, it sounds like you can catch more in the upcoming HBO movie The Greatest Silence (and listen to this NPR interview with the filmmaker). 

Continue reading “Beyond Government Accountability: a challenging look at Peacekeepers

Beyond Government Accountability: a challenging look at Peacekeepers

Beyond Government Accountability: a challenging look at Peacekeepers by Matt Armstrong, 8 April 2008, at Serviam Magazine (magazine website no longer available).

The relationship between peacekeeping forces (PKFs) and the U.N. Security Council mimics the relationship between a private military or security company and the country in question. The Security Council negotiates with U.N. members to contribute to PKOs, most often in the stead of the five permanent Security Council members who actually make the decision to deploy military observers, police, and troops. The General Assembly does not authorize or oversee PKFs, but it is tasked to operate on the behalf of the Security Council.

Forgotten is Article 43 of the U.N. Charter, which calls for maintaining a standing rapid reaction military force to be available to the Security Council. Instead, the U.N. relies on ad hoc partnerships and “conditional commitments” through the U.N. Stand-By Arrangements System. This system falls well short of what was envisioned when it was established six decades ago at the dawn of the Cold War.

The Future of U.N. Peacekeeping

Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, will be speaking Thursday, 27 March 2008, at 1:00p as part of CSIS’s Smart Power Speaker Series:

UN peacekeeping is today the flagship enterprise of the United Nations and has become a central element of the international community’s response to complex emergencies. During his eight year tenure as chief of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Guéhenno has seen the number of deployed UN troops double to over 100,000 with an annual budget of around $7.5 billion in order to protect vulnerable populations and help local communities transition from a post-conflict to a development environment.

I wonder if some critical truths of U.N. peacekeeping will be discussed, such as those I discuss in a forthcoming article in Serviam due out literally any day now.  A teaser:

…If holding non-state soldiers accountable was really the concern of many, as they claim when discussing mercenaries, then the admitted lack of accountability of and jurisdiction over contracted nations contributing to UN Peacekeeping Operations (PKOs) should be of prime concern if not only for the broader and deeper impact on the societies in which they operate.

The relationship between peacekeeping forces and the UN Security Council (SC) mimics the relationship between a country and its private military company. The UN Security Council (SC) negotiates with its members to contribute to peacekeeping operations, most often in the stead of the permanent SC members who actually make the decision to deploy military observers, police, and troops. The General Assembly does not authorize or oversee peacekeeping forces (PKF) but are the ones tasked to operate on the behalf of the SC. …

I had hoped the new issue would be out by now and that it would spark a question or two for Mssr Guéhenno.  Such is life when trees are killed…

See also:

Who are the UN Peacekeepers?

Additional commentary will follow later.  Raw facts to consider now:

As of Dec… Total  U.N. Peacekeepers

Top 7 Contributing Countries

Top 7’s % of Total
2001 47,108 Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, India, Jordan, Ghana, Kenya 52.8%
2002 39,652 Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, India, Ghana, Kenya, Uruguay 52.0%
2003 45,815 Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, India, Ghana, Nepal, Uruguay 51.7%
2004 64,720 Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jordan 51.3%
2005 69,838 Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Jordan, Nepal, Ethiopia, Ghana 55.7%
2006 80,368 Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Ghana, Nepal, Uruguay 50.9%
2007 84,309 Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Jordan, Ghana, Nigeria 51.2%

The "total peacekeepers" above includes military, military observers, and police. 

And what about the Security Council, the ones send in (and pay for) the peacekeepers?

As of Dec… Security Council % of Overall China’s share of the Security Council’s Total France’s share of the Security Council’s Total
2001 5.2% 5.3% 19.9%
2002 5.2% 6.0% 16.8%
2003 4.5% 17.2% 15.2%
2004 4.6% 34.8% 20.4%
2005 3.7% 40.9% 22.5%
2006 5.8% 38.5% 43.0%
2007 5.6% 38.5% 41.0%

On China, see this post from 2005, this post from 2006, and/or this post from 2007

I have posted on this before, but for now, I’m "just saying"….

When an international force is only international and not a force

Kings of War highlights a central problem to all international missions in talking about Europe’s endeavor in Afghanistan:

Our European partners are simply not pulling their weight in AFG. The NATO Secretary General has repeatedly asked the European allies to provide more resources and, crucially, to remove national caveats that prevent their forces from entering the fight. Indeed, just four days ago, the ISAF Commander, Gen. Dan McNeil, complained that some NATO member states have not even provided the troops they had promised to deploy in Afghanistan. Moreover, he was damning on the issue of caveats: “When countries say their forces can only operate in certain ways and in a certain geographic space that certainly impinges on my ability to mass forces.” In short, many of our European allies – especially the big cats: France, Germany, and Spain – have yet to step up to the plate and prove themselves.

Yes, they do need to step. But consider this: what happens when rules on the use of force fail to prevent and thus permit a war crime? DUTCHBAT in Srebrenica, or pick a country patrolling an African PKO in say SL, DRC or Rwanda… I understand politics of deployment and even the fear of a German soldier potentially coming face to face with a child solder (and thus Op Artemis is barely more than a war game), but come on. Stop playing politics with the lives of vulnerable people, and by vulnerable I mean populations that are increasingly susceptible to extremist ideology.

(Somewhat) Recent links to MountainRunner

Steve Field at D-Ring shows his brilliance with this post (and no, that is not a picture of me, I assume it’s Seth, a far more handsome gentleman than myself). (Original post here)

The increasingly wise PurpleSlog agrees with me that Karl Rove, or someone like him, should replace Karen Hughes. (Original post here)

Joshua Foust linked to my post on Israeli mercenaries (would Dougie @ IPOA call these guys mercs or contractors?) helping violent drug lords / insurgents in the Western Hemisphere.

Adam resurfaces to comment on a Canadian article titled “Human Security and the Militarization of Aid Delivery” (via Chris) asking at the end what I think about NGO’s using PMCs. To start, NGOs and UN peacekeeping operations have been using PMCs for, well, decades in ways only subtle to Americans and those not involved in NGOs. In the middle, I disagree with Adam’s blanket statement that “organizational cultures, motivations, and priorities of PMCs and NGOs, are also strikingly different.” If you want to make a buck, don’t start a PMC, start an NGO, fewer people are shooting at you and the profit margins are greater and you’ll be the subject of many cocktail conversations and enjoy side benefits. I also disagree with the assertion that transgressions by PMCs in one theater will bleed over to a host population in another (the global community is another thing, but the people being helped aren’t watching the talking heads). Let’s look at Nepal and their “promise” not to send any of their human rights violators outside the country to don the Blue Helmet (also, think about the criminal behavior of the Dutch at Srebenica years ago). Abuses by PMCs are not inevitable by their nature, organization, or what have you. As I wrote (and published) before, if your concern (the royal You not Adam specifically) is accountability of an armed force, look first at the Blue Helmets. The core issue is this: should NGOs be armed, or should they be accompanied by armed escorts? Generally, no, whether they are soldiers of a state or private. Guns are scary to many of the people in most need and the NGO becomes tainted by a very close proximity with guns. Relational distance is important and can be conducted by anyone.

Bonnie Boyd at the Central Asia Blog linked to my popular post on PRTs. She also observed MountainRunner is a “really good Civil-Military Relations blog”. It’s good to come across another smart and observant blogger… 🙂

China leads a peacekeeping op

The UN announced the first-ever Chinese led peacekeeping operation.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Major-General Zhao Jingmin as the new Force Commander for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO), the first time that the world body has had a Chinese national head one of its missions.

This syncs with Chinese public statements to use peacekeeping as a way of increasing its profile with governments and people directly (like with a hospital). The public diplomacy angle has been stated repeatedly, perhaps most clearly when they voiced their intent to up their contribution to the Lebanese PKO to increase their profile in the Middles East (as well as in Europe).

As China builds its expeditionary capability and while building prestige and influence, how exactly is the US improving its image by forcing democracy at the barrel of a gun?

UN Accountability, again

Eugene Kontorovich at Opinio Juris wrote about The Good, the Bad and the UNgly of UN peacekeeping.

The blue helmets have in recent years been amply involved in corruption, sexual abuse and worse. The Post article describes some if it, but there is much more. Two years ago, a U.N. report found large-scale sexual abuse by peacekeepers around the world, including rape and child molestation, and of course, promised reform. In Congo, the abuse was particularly pervasive. One would think after the rape scandal there, someone would have kept a closer eye on the peacekeepers to make sure they didn’t add robbery to their list of offenses.

And then there are the French soldiers in the Ivory Coast who suffocated a man to death with a plastic bag, were congratulated by their officers, and covered-up for by some senior generals.

He accurately goes on about the perception of the force as being critical to their effectiveness.

Part of the accountability problem may have to do with the positive associations people often have between the U.N. and human rights. The UN represents the world, has the international Human Rights Commission — how bad can it be? People may be more hesitant to criticize the UN because they see it as performing other important functions. When the first pictures were released from Abu Ghraib, America and human rights abuse became synonymous. That creates incentives to change. But despite what to me seems like truly pervasive sexual abuse, far more than one would expect from a force of 83,000, the U.N. has not become synonymous with human rights abuse, at least not in the minds of those who matter.

This point was missed by some of the responders.

There are two important issues here. One is the perception issue Kontorovich hits on. The other is the nature of the peacekeeping force itself and the accountability. The truth is, UN Peacekeeping forces are outside of the law.

Continue reading “UN Accountability, again

Gold for Arms: More On Peacekeeper Immunity

Here we go again. United Nations peacekeepers act criminally and there is nothing the UN can do but the rhetoric implies there is. This most recent example isn’t about rape or sex slaves, it’s about trading weapons for gold. Maybe the Paks were thinking job security when they conducted their Gold-for-Arms program with DRC militias they were supposed to be disarming. Well, in all honesty, they were disarming them and then selling the weapons back for gold. Seems like a profitable enterprise to me. Perhaps the $1100 / man / month the UN pays Pakistan for their contribution isn’t enough.

Of course, the UN comes out with lofty statements denouncing the act, including this from the Secretary General:

“The Secretary-General looks forward to the early completion of the investigation. He will act upon its findings expeditiously and transparently. If wrong doing is found to have occurred, he will hold those responsible accountable.”

From he peacekeeping operation, MONUC, itself: 

MONUC stressed that it “has an absolute zero-tolerance policy on misconduct and will remain vigilant in preventing egregious and unacceptable behavior.”

All well and good, but a farce. Unlike administrators working with the UN, there’s nothing the UN can do to discipline peacekeepers themselves. The reality is simply this: peacekeepers are above the law, there is nothing that can be done about them in the current regime.

You can’t use market tools like you can with private military companies. If the country or organization is not pleased with the performance of a private contractor, it can fire it and go with another firm. In the world of peacekeeping, not possible. Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India are 40% of the total peacekeeping manpower (including all three sectors: police, military observers, and troops). The UN can’t fire them. For example, Nepal simply promises not to send any of its military forces used for domestic human rights violations overseas on peacekeeping operations.

And what happens when the UN finds the Paks truly did get a little too entrepreneurial in DRC? The UN will simply ask Pakistan to rotate out the bad apples. The results of the 319 UN investigations into abuse by peacekeepers from Jan 2004 to Nov 2006?

Two-thirds of the allegations involved sexual exploitation and abuse. Following the investigations, 18 civilian personnel were summarily dismissed and 17 police and 144 military personnel were repatriated.

Were there instances where investigations didn’t take place? You betcha.

Just add more perspective, in the field of private contracting, it is entirely possible to use existing laws to regulate and provide oversight over contractors. In the case of the UN, where they have explicitly stated they are not party to international human rights regimes such as the Geneva Convention (the UN isn’t a state so never signed, and won’t because then it would be a “party” to the conflict), Blue Helmets are truly above and outside the law.

This Gold for Arms will blow over and nothing substantial will come of it. Next topic.

Unintended Consequences: Blue Helmet Edition

One of the unintended consequences of paying developing countries to provide peacekeeping is not likely corruption or illegal trade in sex, arms, or drugs. No, we anticipate that threat to the UN’s legitimacy and effectiveness of the peacekeeping mission itself. There’s something else:

Another unintended consequence of peace operations has been the spread of HIV/AIDS…

Soldiers tend to be mainly men of a sexually active age, with money in their pockets well in excess of prevailing per capita income levels, deployed away from home for months at a time, and, by temperament and training, prone to risk-taking behaviour. Often they come into contact with young boys and girls who are poor, unemployed, and with a higher than normal rate of having been sexually exploited as casualties of armed conflict. The Joint U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS referred to a study that showed some 45 per cent of Dutch military personnel serving with the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Cambodia in the early 1990s had had sexual contact with prostitutes or other local women during a five-month tour of duty.

According to an International Crisis Group study, troops from countries with high HIV/AIDS prevalence rates account for one-third of U.N. peacekeepers. Some African military forces have infection rates as much as five times that of the civilian population. Some countries, for example Ghana, conduct compulsory testing before selecting soldiers for mission deployment. Others resist for reasons of social and cultural sensitivity; some simply lack testing facilities.

Chinese Tuesday

Some bits on China for your Tuesday.

  • From the Enterprise Resilience Blog: According to The Economist, the United States was surpassed last by China as the world’s leading producer of automobiles and the Associated Press notes that China is now the globes second leading market for automobiles — behind the United States but ahead of Japan. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that carmakers are flocking to China to show their goods [“Automakers Display New Products in China,” by Elaine Kurtenbach, Washington Post, 20 April 2007]. It used to be that the most important auto shows were held in places like Detroit, New York, and Los Angeles.
  • From Pambazuka News (2 Mar 06): Chinese medical, agricultural and engineering teams continue to operate in many African countries. ‘Since 1963, some 15,000 Chinese doctors have worked in 47 African states treating nearly 180 million cases of HIV/AIDS. At the end of 2003, 940 Chinese doctors were still working throughout the continent. Beijing prefers technical support over financial aid to African countries for obvious reasons. Financial aid stretches resources and diverts capital from significant needs at home, therefore investments in trade and projects that have a chance at providing returns are more popular than direct aid and loan programs.’
  • From People’s Daily Online (3 Mar 06… apparently I’m doing some inbox cleaning): About 190 Chinese police officers are serving under the UN flag for peacekeeping efforts around the world, state media said Friday. China is the second-largest contributor of peacekeeping police forces among the permanent members of the UN Security Council, and its police officers are working under the UN flag in Kosovo, Liberia, Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, Sudan and Haiti, China Daily said. The United States has some 340 police officers in UN peacekeeping missions, the paper said.
    [MountainRunner: At the time, China was the 2nd largest contributor of Police forces as the article mentions, but it was the top SC contributor to peacekeeping missions, accounting for nearly half of the total SC participation. Additionally, it should be noted that the bulk of the US police contribution was, and continues to be, through private security companies. In other words, the US is not mobilizing its own but outsourcing the responsibility. Question: would there be a difference if the US simply paid Germany (203 police in Aug 06) to double their force?]

How peacekeeping works… from the BBC

The BBC has a decent article on how UN Peacekeeping operations are “born” and staffed. This is a good read, but two comments:


Current monthly rates paid by the UN per peacekeeper include:

  • $1,028 for pay and allowances
  • $303 supplementary pay for specialists
  • $68 for personal clothing, gear and equipment
  • $5 for personal weaponry

(H/T AMPList)

China and Peacekeeping

Briefly, from the UN News Centre: More Chinese police arrive to serve with UN Mission in Haiti.

The United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti (MINUSTAH) today announced the arrival of nearly 100 Chinese officers, including seven women, who are serving with a Formed Police Unit (FPU) in the Caribbean country.

The 95 new police, who joined a group of 30 FPU members of the same contingent that arrived last week on 4 April, brings the total number of Chinese officers in Haiti to 125.

China has contributed more than 1,000 officers in Formed Police Units since the Mission was established in October 2004 after an insurgency forced then President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to go into exile.

The latest contingent, replacing one which has rotated out, comes from Guandong Province. Prior to their deployment to Haiti, its members underwent a five-month training course covering language, shooting, driving and combat/defensive tactics.

Good for them. See my previous posts highlighting Chinese public diplomacy vis a vis peacekeeping in general, including Sept 2006 news of China upping it’s UNIFIL (Lebanon) numbers for the same reason (although they seem to only doubled their contribution to 343 as of February 07). 

More on the Civilian Response Corps

CSIS’s PCR blog has an update on the Civilian Response Corps (see my previous on CRC here). More notable is a comment posted to their post today:

Among other factors, the creation of a bona fide US civilian response corps requires addressing two institutional impediments within the State Department. One of these is the lack of promotional incentives provided to foreign service officers (FSOs) who venture into harm’s way to engage in stabilization and reconstruction activities. Career FSOs usually move through the ranks by fostering key foreign contacts at embassies–not by taking the risks involved in embedding in remote areas of war torn countries to administer US reconstruction programs. As such, exactly the sort of FSOs and other civilians the US needs to create a viable civilian response corps are not being offered the proper incentives for their actions.

The newly introduced legislation (S. 613) seems to address this institutional problem in Section 9 on “Service Related to Stabilization and Reconstruction.” Part (a) states that “Service in stabilization and reconstruction operations overseas, membership in the Response Readiness Corps…and education and training in the stabilization and reconstruction curriculum…should be considered among the favorable factors for the promotion of employees of Executive agencies.” Parts (b) and (c) provide further incentives for FSOs and USAID personnel to participate in a civilian response corps.

However, the new legislation does not address a more fundamental problem that directly impacts the first. Members of a civilian response corps cannot take the requisite risks to do their jobs if US security officers, with the support of ambassadors, severely restrict their movements. Security officers and ambassadors stand to lose their positions and professional standing when, on their watches, US personnel are injured or killed while doing their jobs. As such, security concerns tend to trump all else, and US political objectives suffer as a result. It is for this reason that US embassies and consulates around the world have become veritable fortresses that are disconnected from the popular mood of their respective countries. In Iraq, for example, US officials have gone out of their way to cordon off US personnel from all that is Iraqi.

Thus while S. 613 is moving in the right direction to provide for future US nation building efforts, it does not address a more fundamental policy problem in the State Department. The whole point of creating a civilian response corps is to recruit civilians who are willing to put themselves in harm’s way to further US policy objectives. At some point, the potential for civilian casualties associated with engaging native populations must be factored into the cost of doing business.

China and Peacekeeping

Stratfor published a useful chart depicting China’s increased participation in peacekeeping operations.
This is a semi-regular topic on this blog.  Back in 2003, the PLA Daily, the newspaper of the Chinese Army, stated the intent to increase participation in peacekeeping operations to raise China’s global profile.  In other words, peacekeeping would be a tool of both public diplomacy and traditional diplomacy.

In 2005, China was the 15th largest contributor of forces, moving earlier this year to 12th, which included increasing its contribution to 1,000 in Lebanon in 2006 for the declared purpose of raising its profile in the Middle East and in Europe.

Not surprisingly, China prefers to send its peacekeepers to Africa over other destinations.  This fits with Chinese stated public diplomacy strategy (and here for more specific example).  However, as was the case in Haiti, China doesn’t play exclusives and will go where it feels it can get a big bang for its disaster relief and humanitarian aid renminbi.

In addition to being seen, this has the added benefit of practicing for deployments away from their very-near abroad.

I’m sure we will see more Chinese peacekeepers.  The UN maintains about 20 operations at any one time with a new rotation starting every 6 months.

The Top 5 “peacekeepers for hire” have little in the way of international interests and get paid about $1100 per man per month (and require on top of that transport, equipment, and support).  These Top 5 collectively contribute nearly 50% of all UN forces, while the top 3 are 39% of the total.

If China ramps up its peacekeeping, will it have a ripple effect to these poor nations counting on the cash?  Will that create new opportunities for the Chinese to provide aid, in the variety of forms they provide “aid”?

Stay tuned.

Image credit: Stratfor