October 13, 1992 | Backgrounder on International Organizations
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917 October 13,1992 EXPANDING UNlTED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING ROLE POSES RISK FOR AMEXICA INTRODUCTION The United Nations has enjoyed a number of successes over the past four years. It helped defuse violent conflicts in Angola, El Salvador, Namibia, and Nicaragua. And the 28-nation coalition that defeated Iraqi aggression in 1990-1991 was organized under U.N auspices. Nevertheless, the U.N. had less to do with those successes than many people think. Far mm important wexe aggressive American diplomacy and the end of the Cold War. The undeserved praise for the U.N. has led some to overestimate the world bodys ef fectiveness, and to prescribe for the U.N. an imprudently large role in maintaining world peace.
The U.N.s role in peacekeeping already has grown in several ways. U.N. peacekeeping is expanding into peace-enforcement-the enforcement of cease-fms and the provision of humanitarian aid backed by force. Now there is talk of fanning a standing U.N. army that could be rushed to trouble spots around the world. This enlargement of U.N. power changes the purposes of peacekeeping and threatens to bog down U.N. farces in ancient re gional qumls and bitter civil wars. Mmover, it leaves wasteful and ineffective U.N. bu reaucrats with more discretion to interfere in the internal affairs of member states.
Unprecedented Power. Until recently, U.N. peacekeeping forces we= a tool wielded by ad hoc coalitions of U.N. member states, rather than an institutionalized fme con trolled by the U.N. bureaucracy. Now that is changing. In Cambodia, Somalia, and Yugo slavia, the U.N. bureaucracy and the Semtary General have gained almost unprecedented decision-making power. Unlike past U.N. operations, no superpower or group of states is taking the lead. And in each case at least one indigenous faction hostile to the U.N. pres ence is beyond the control of outside powers. If currefit trends continue, U.N. peacekeep ers easily could find themselves drawn into a war in each of these three countries less, some U.N. boosters, including U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and U.S. Senators Paul Simon and Joseph Biden, believe that the U.N. should cruise at full speed ahead. They have called for the equivalent of a standing U.N. my; for shifting Americas share of the cost of U.N. peacekeeping tom the State Department budget to the The U.N. is sailing into uncharted waters in its new peacekeeping operations. Neverthedefense budget; and for making American troops available to the Security Council to fight U.N.-sanctioned wars that may have nothing to do with defending U.S. national security speech before the United Nations General Assembly on September 21, he directed the U.S.
Secretary of Defense to place new importance on peacekeeping, ordering him to empha size training of combat, engineering and logistical units for the full range of peacekeeping and humanitarian activities.
Although Bush so far has resisted calls to back a standing U.N. my, there is cause for concern. Bush failed to clarify the conditions under which American peacekeeping mops would be deployed. Inasmuch as the new U.N. peacekeeping operations are beginning to resemble war more than peace, American peacekeeping troops could be sent to fight, and possibly die, in Yugoslavia, Somalia, or other distant countries where the U.S. has little or no security interests at stake.
Not only are American lives at stake, so is American money. Expanded U.N. responsibil ities for peacekeeping would be financed to a large degree by American taxpayers, who pay for approximately 30 percent of U.N. peacekeeping costs. The cost of U.N. peacekeep ing activities has soared from $233 million in 1987 to an anticipated $2.5 billion in 1992.
The peacekeeping operation for Cambodia alone ahady costs over $1 billion a year, or al most as much as the entire budget for the U.N. Secretariat. The American contribution to U.N. peacekeeping forces also has soared from $8 1 million in fiscal 1990 to $460 million in fiscal 1993 America follow certain guidelines. The U.S. should Cause for Concern. Even George Bush has strayed from his usual prudence. In a Given these concerns about the direction of U.N. peacekeeping, it is important that Rule out sending American troops to tight in Cambodia, Somalia, or Yugosla via.The U.S. has little or no economic M strategic interests in these countries. The lives of American soldiers should not be put at risk unless these interests axe endan Reject a U.N. standing army. Peacekeeping operations sometimes call for the use of armed force. When this occurs, the U.N. forfeits its role as a neutral third party and instead becomes partisan. At that point, peacekeepers become targets, like the U.S. Marines did in Lebanon in October 19
83. That could leave the peacekeepers with two options, neither of which is acceptable: 1) to escalate peace-enforcement into a war; or 2) to withdraw without completing the mission. A standing army will accomplish little aside from tempting the U.N. into places it should avoid.
Retain Americas ability to act unilaterally, without consulting the U.N on is sues important to American security interests. Frequent use by America of the U.N. could make future presidents reluctant to defend U.S. interests without first gaining U.N. backing. Therefore, America should seek help from the U.N. only when both a critical national interest and an important principle of international law are at stake. Examples from the past include releasing hostage diplomats in gered 1 Excerpts from Address by President to the UN, The New Yo& Tims, August 22,1992, p. A14 2 Iran, fighting aggression against Ku wait, and bringing peace to southern Africa and Central America.
Reduce the U.S. percentage of contri butions to U.N. peacekeeping opera tions. The U.S. already pays more than its fair share of peacekeeping costs. If the U.N. continues to expand its peacekeeping missions, the cost surely will rise further. At a time when the budgets of many government pro grams are being cut, Congress should lower the U.S. percentage from 30 per cent to a maximum of 25 percent.
Resist efforts to include peacekeep ing expenditures in the Defense De partment budget, rather than the State Departments. Unlike other countries which pay their U.N. contri butions through a variety of govern ment ministries, the U.S. makes all of its contributions to the U.N. through the State Department. This centralized funding allows the U.S. to have a uni fied U.N. policy, rather than several conflicting policies. Furthermore, pay ing peacekeeping costs out of the fens budget, as proposed by Senator Simon, would reduce funds available for the militarys primary mission defending the United States As those categories demonstrate, the role of U.N. peacekeeping changed as the international order changed. After World War II, U.N. peacekeeping efforts were concerned with the withdrawal of the Eu THE HISTORY OF PEACEKEEPING 3 U.N. OP ropean powers from their African and Asian colonies. Overlapping this period of decoloni zation was the Cold War era, in which the U.N.s peacekeeping powers were diminished by the US.-U.S.S.R. conflict and the veto right each country has in the Security Council.
The U.N. played a relatively successful peacekeeping role, however, at times when the su perpowers were not in direct conflict. Examples: The 1962 civil war in Yemen and the 1964 and 1974 Cyprus crises. The U.N. also became involved where superpower allies were at war, such as in several of the Arab-Israeli crises. At the end of the Cold War, the U.N. helped the Soviet Union and the U.S. disentangle themselves from conflicts in An gola, El Salvador, and other places in the Third World. Finally, in the post-Cold War era the U.N. sometimes has followed the U.S. lead, as in the Persian Gulf War. At other times such as in the former Yugoslavia, the U.N. has lurched into operations without much sup port from the major powers SRATIONS IN CAMBODIA, SOMALIA, AND YUGOSLAVIA Emboldened by the success of the Gulf War, the U.N. has undertaken a number of peacekeeping operations since the end of the Cold War. The largest of these have occurred in Cambodia and Yugoslavia. A smaller undertaking exists in Somalia. These two large missions will involve more than 35,000 personnel in the field at a total cost of $2.5 billion over an eighteen-month period. Although these operations will have little impact on U.S interests, American taxpayers will foot the bill for 30.4 percent of their cost, or $760 mil lion. Despite this huge sum, there has been little debate in Washington over the cost and benefits of these U.N. efforts.
The U.N. and Cambodia. The largest U.N. peacekeeping operation today is in Cambo dia. Three rival guerrilla pup have been fighting thevietnamese-installed puppet govern ment of Cambodia since 19
79. Last October the US., China, and the Soviet Union brokered a peace agreement among the four parties. At that time, a cease-fire was put in place; it has been repeatedly violated. The U.N. plans to help implement the peace treaty by monitoring the cease-fire, assisting the repatriation of between 350,000 and 400,OOO Cambodian refugees now in Thailand, and demobilizing 70 percent of the military farces.
The U.N. will also help verify whether troops remain inside their camps when elections take place in April 19
93. Moreover, U.N. personnel will help clear thousands of land mines and oversee the national elections. Finally, the U.N. will help run five important government ministries until the newly elected government comes to power the ministries of defense, foreign affairs, information, finance, and public security To accomplish this, the U.N. Security Council authorized on February 28,1992, the for mation of the U.N. Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC UNTAC consists of 15,900 troops, 3,600 police, and about 2,400 civilians drawn from 33 countries. This mas sive effort will cost the U.N 1.9 billion, of which the US. will pay $5 16 million. The U.N. also will spend an additional $900 million in voluntary contributions to repatriate 1 1 Cambodian refugees 2 Ihe three gueriUa groups are the Khmer Rouge, the Khmer Peoples National Liberation Front, and the National Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia 4 HISTORY OF U.N. PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS I Decolonlzatlon/Aftetmath of World War II India and Pakistan 1949 present $n,ooo,ooo' 102 troops Monitor cease-fire in Jammu and Kashmir U.N. Military Observer Group in UNMOGIP 591 observers Monitor infiltration of arms and troops into Lebanon from Syria Render miliary assistance restore civil order 3,697,742 1958 1960-1 964 U.N. Observation Group in Lebanon (UNOGIL U.N. Operation in the Congo ONUC 400,130,793 19,828 troops Keep order and administer transfer to Indonesia 1962-1963 W. New Guinea pending $32,386,420 1,576 troops U.N. Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA 189 troops U.N. Yemen Observation Mission 1963-1964 Monitor infiltration into Yemen $1 ,849,995 UNYOM) across Saudi border I Maintain order; since 1974 6,411 troops also to monitor buffer zone separating Greek and Turkish communities 6~,ooo,ooo~ U.N. Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP) 1964-present i 1,713,280 96 observers Monitor cease-fire in 1965 India- Pakistan War 1965-1 966 U.N. India-Pakistan Observation Mission (UNIPOM I Arab-Israel1 Canfllct 375,000,000' 572 troops Monitor cease-fire along Israeli borders 1948 present U.N. TNC~ Supervisory Organbatbn (UNTSO 214,249,000 6,073 troops Separate Egyptian and Israeli forces in Sinai U.N. Emergency Force (UNEF I) 1956-1967 446,487,000 6,973 troops Separate Egyptian and Israeli forces in Sinai U.N. Emergency Force (UNEF II) 1973-1979 Monitor separation of I U.N. Disengagement Ln -ewer 1974 present Syrian and Israeli forces $490,000,000' 1,450 troops on Golan Heights Force UNDOrl 1.99 billion' 6,942 troops U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon UNIFIL) 978 present between Israel and Lebanon Establish buffer zone I Cold War Era wlthout SuPerDower Confrontation Mission of the Representative of Dominican Republic (DOMREP Monitor cease-fire $276,000 2 observers the Secretary General in the 1965-1966 828 military and U.N. Iran-Iraq Observer Group 1988-1991 Monitor cease-fire UNllM00 of Iran-lraq War ~190~000~000 105 civilian staff Note: Estimate through 1991 Source: The Blue Helmets: A Review of United Nations Peacekeeping (New Yok: United Nations, 1990 William J. Dud and Barry M Blechman, Keeping the Peace: The UnhdNations in the New WoddOrder(Washington, D.C The Heny L. Stlmson Center, 1992 Marjjrie Anne Browne United Nations Peacekeeping: Historical Overview and Current Issues Washington, D.C Congressional Research Sewice, January 31,1990); Marjorie Anne Browne, "United Nations Peacekeeping: Issues for Congress Washington, D.C Congressional Research Service, July 6,1992); and Central Intelligence Agency United Nations Peacekeeping Operatbns 1992 5 U.N. PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS (Con't I End of Cold War Afghanistan and Pakistan 1988-1 990 $1 4,029,010 50 observers U.N. Good Offices Mission in UNGOM AP Monitor withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan 70 miliiry 25,000,000 observers and 35 civilian staff Monitor withdrawal of Cuban forces 1989-1 991 U.N. Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM I Supervise transition of tule to independence Namibia from South African 41 6,162,000 7,500 troops U.N. Transition Assistance 1989-1990 Group (UNTAG Monitor for arms and troop 1,098 personnel primarily miliiry 1989-1 991 infiltration; demobilize $83,000,000 U.N. Mission in Central America (ONUCA) Nicaraguan Contras observers 440 troops 175 civilian Monitor general cease-fire army; repatriate refugees U.N. Angola Verification 1991 present and creation of new joint $w0,000,000 Mission (UNAVEM II 1,083 personnel 23,000,000 (695 police and 388 miliiry U.N. Mission in El Salvador 1991 Monitor human rights ONUSAL) violations, elections I Post-Cold War 72,000,000 250 troops U.N. Iraq-Kuwait Observer 1991 present Monitor buffer zone Mission (UNIKOM) after Gulf War Maintain cease-fire; 1,212 personnel clearing prog ram 1,172 military 1991 present establish mine 39,000,000 including U.N. Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC Supervise government functions and eventual 22,000 personnel U'N' 1992 present elections while rebuilding the $1.9 billion inctuding in Cambodia (UNTAC) country and disarming the 15,900 tmps factions; resettle refugees Monitor cease-fire replace Yuaoslav 634,000,000 15,000 troops U.N. Protection Force In Yusoslavia (UNPROFOR) lgg2 - present of Croatia: protect deliveries forces in Serbian areas of humadtarian supplies in Bosnia Monitor cease-fire humanitarian aid protect deliveries of $238000,000 500 troops U.N. Operation In Somalia UNOSOM) 1992 present Note In nominal dollars Estimate through 1992.
Source: The Blue He/mets:A Redew of United Nations Peacekeeping (New Yok United Nations, 1990 William J. Durch and Barry M.
Blechman, Keeping the Peace: The United Nations in the New WorM Older(Washington, D.C The Henry L Stimson Center, 1992 Marjorie Anne Browne United Nations Peacekeeping: Historical Overview and Current Issues Washington, D.C Congressional Research Setvice, January 31,1990 Marjorie Anne Browne United Nations Peacekeeping: bsues for Congress Washington, D.C Congressional Research Senrice, July 6,1992 and Central Intelligence Agency United Natbns Peacekeeping Operatbns, 1992 6 U.N. Peacekeepers Around the World Complicating matters is the fact that one of the guerrilla groups, the communist Khmer Rouge, has shown little desire to disarm or participate in the peace process.The Khmer Rouge launched attacks after the October 199 1 peace agreement to secure more territory. It shot down U.N. helicopters and refused to lay down its arms or permit U.N peacekeepers into its teni tory. Considering the Khmer Rouge's brutal his tory of killing up to 1 mil lion Cambodians from 1975 to 1979, the Khmer Rouge is not likely to ac cept a peaceful political solution to the war. If the Khmer Rouge decides to resume its fight for total power, thousands more U.N. troops would be needed to defeat it.
The U.N. and Yugoslavia. The other large U.N. peacekeeping operation is in the farmer Yugoslavia. When Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in June 1991, Serbs living in Croatia rebelled against the newly created state. The Serb-dominated Yugoslav army then invaded Croatia, ostensibly to protect the Serbian minority living there. After Serbian troops occupied about one-third of Croatia, U.N. Special Envoy Cyrus Vance nego tiated a cease-fire in January 19
92. On February 21,1992, the U.N. Security Council voted to monitor the cease-fire by sending a 14,000-member peacekeeping mission called the U.N. Protection Force in Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR The annual budget for this mission was set at $634 million, of which the U.S. share is $193 million.
Then it was Bosnia's turn. Fearing domination by the Muslim population, the Serbs who comprise 31 percent of Bosnia's population, opposed independence. With support from the Serbian Republic, the Serbs quickly gained control over most of Bosnia, meeting strong resistance only in Sarajevo and the sTunding areas. Today a military stalemate ex ists between the Serbs and Bosnian Muslims.
The civilian population of Sarajevo is endangered and short of food, medical supplies and other necessities. Thousands of Muslims also have been driven from their homes in Serb-dominated areas and forced into detention centers where some have been starved, tor tured, and killed. The Serbs, in turn, point to their own refugees from other areas of Bosnia 3 In addition to problems with the ethnic Serbs, Bosnia has a problem with ethnic Croats, who make up 19 percent of Bosnia'spopulation. With the help of the Croatian govemment, the Bosnian Croats seized about one-fifth of Bosnia 7 Some 850 UNPROFOR troops were deployed at the Sarajevo airport in June to keep the airport open and to bring relief supplies to civilians. In August the UNPROFOR strength in Bosnia grew to 1,5
00. Their efforts have been frustrated by Serb shelling and Bosnian sniper fire. Thus far, at least four U.N. troops have been killed and 48 injured. More deaths are sure to follow.
A strong case can be made that Serbia is guilty of aggression against both Croatia and Bosnia, and that some Serbian leaders axe guilty of crimes against humanity for pursuing ethnic cleansing of Serbian-occupied areas. Then axe growing demands for the Em pean Community, the U.S and particularly the U.N. to do more to halt the fighting. Many seeYugoslavia as an opportunity to transfer to the U.N. mm power and responsibility for maintaining international security and safeguarding human rights.
The U.N. and Somalia.The third U.S. peacekeeping operation today is in Somalia.
Since the overthrow of Somalian leader Siad Barre in January 1991, Somalia has been plunged into anarchy. Rival clans wage war against one another and armed gangs ran domly tede and kill civilians. The food delivery system has collapsed, leaving as much as a third of Somalias 6.7 million people to face starvation. To relieve the suffering, the In ternational Committee of the Red Cross began relief effarts in early 19
91. The U.N. agen cies lagged behind, claiming that banditry, looting, and hijacking by the brutal armed gangs made food delivery difficult and dangerous.
The Security Council approved a United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM) in April to monitor the cease-fire and protect the delivery of humanitarian supplies. Unfortu nately, the leader of the strongest armed farce in Somalia, General Mohammed Farah Aidid, perceived U.N. peacekeepers to be a threat to his drive for power and withheld his permission for them to enter Somalia. Then, on August 12, along with other Somalian war lords, Aidid signed an agreement allowing 500 U.N. peacekeepers into Somalia to deliver food. Mm recently, however, he has refused to allow the U.N. to increase the size of that contingent by 3,000, and he has protested the deployment of four American warships carry ing 2,100 U.S. Marines off the Somalian coast.
The U.S. Senate introduced a resolution on August 4,1992, callin for the U.N. to dis tribute emergency food supplies to Somalia, using force if necessary. So far this has not occurred 4 THE LIMITS OF PEACEKEEPING Five years ago, before the Cold War ended, the idea of a U.N. army would never have been seriously considered. However, a series of peace agreements concluded with U.N. in volvement since 1988 encouraged some to believe that the world body should become more active in seeking world peace. This sentiment largely is based on the success of U.N peacekeeping operations in Angola, El Salvador, Namibia, and Nicaragua.
The Lessons of U.N. Peacekeeping. It is important to understand the real lessons of these U.N. peacekeeping operations. They are 4 Senate Con. Res. 132 8 J U.N. peacekeeping successes occurred where peace was brought about by par ties other than the U.N.The U.N. stepped in only later to mediate and observe Many of the worlds violent conflicts pitted superpower allies against one another. In Angola, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and to a lesser degree Namibia, the opposing armies were allies of the U.S. and the Soviet Union. When the Cold War ended, the opposing sides real ized that economic and military aid from the superpowers would decline. They decided to take the advice of their patrons and negotiate settlements. The U.N. was called in after wards as a neutral third party to help implement parts of the agreements.
J Acting on its own, the U.N. sometimes did more to perpetuate conflicts than to end them.
Despite paralysis induced by the Cold War, the U.N. occasionally acted independently.
For example, it took the side of the Sandinistas in Nicaraguas civil war. The International Court of Justice, a U.N. body, actually declared on June 27,1986, that the Americans were violating international law by anning and training the Nicaraguan freedom fighters.
In 1983, the U.N. General Assembly condemned American agpssion in Nicaragua.
Nevertheless, the presidential candidate favored by the freedom fighters-Violeta Cham om-eventually defeated the Sandinistas in elections held largely because of the military economic, and political pressure put on the Sandinistas by the U.S.-backed rebels.The U.N. General Assembly also repeatedly took the side of the Arabs against Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. In one egregious case, the U.N. General Assembly in 1975 passed a resolution condemning Zionism as racism. The molution was repealed only last year under pressure from the U.S.
J When all parties to a conflict want the conflict to end, the U.N. can play an ef fective diplomatic role as an impartial negotiator.
The U.N. peacekeeping operation in El Salvador illustrates this point. In El Salvador, the government and the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) were exhausted from fighting a twelve-year civil war. But the opposing sides deeply distrusted each other.
They looked to the U.N. as a non-partisan third party that would help achieve their mutual goal of ending the war. The two sides signed a ceasefm agnxment on January 15,1992 that called for the U.N. to verify the ceasefm, demobilize =bel guenillas, investigate human rights abuses, and monitor elections.
Lessons of Peace-enforcement and U.N. Warmaking. U.N. peaceenfarcement and warmaking, unlike peacekeeping, involve the use of armed force. Sometimes, as with the 1960-1964 Congo crisis, peacekeeping can slide into peaceenforcement. Since the end of the Cold War, there have been a number of calls for the U.N. to use anned force, most re cently in Somalia and the former Yugoslavia. However, a look at past military operations conducted by the U.N shows mixed results 5 Nicaragua sued the United States in the International Court of Justice u) get a ruling that by training, arming, equipping financing, and supplying the Nicaraguan rebels the U.S. violated international law.The U.S. claimed that Nicaragua aided communist rebel movements throughout Central America, and that the U.S. and its allies, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Honduras, were engaged in collective self-defense 9 I Congo 1 960-1 964 U.N. Military Operations Peace restored; U.N. shaken by Soviet charges 234 U.N. troops dead; cost of $400 million 1.8 billion in 1991 dollars Violence following decolonization; civil war 1 Aggression turned back.at the cost of 33,000 Korea North Korean aggression American lies; long-term deployment of huge American force to insure cease-fire 1 950-1 953) against South Korea As the &bate over peacekeeping in Yugoslavia and elsewhere makes clear, the U.N could be drawn into more conflicts where it will use armed force. In the past, the U.N. was careful to secure the consent of all parties to a dispute before sending in peacekeeping troops, and the U.N. refrained, for the most part, in interfering in the internal conflicts of member states. Today, however, many are urging the U.N. to intervene more assertively in the internal affairs of member states to end human rights violations.
Before the U.S. heeds their advice, the lessons of past experiences with peace-enforce ment and U.N. warmaking should be reviewed. The lessons am J The U.N. can only guarantee a cease-fire by deploying large numbers of ground troops.
After the Korean Armistice, renewed communist aggression was deted by the pres ence of tens of thousands of U.S. troops for the four decades following the war. In the fu ture, to keep peace between an aggressor nation and its victimized neighbors, the U.N might find it needs to keep in place a virtual army.
J In volatile situations, circumstances can change and shatter the world consensus supporting a peacekeeping operation.
In the 1960 civil war in the Congo, the U.S. and Soviet Union at first agreed to support the U.N. effort there. However, when the province of Katanga tried to secede in July 1960 the Soviets sided with the Congolese govemment and demanded that the U.N. fight the se cessionists. U.N. troops subsequently took military action against the secessionists.
The Soviets quickly grew so disenchanted with the U.N. response that they refused to recognize the authority of Secretary General Dag Hammarskjllld and called for replacing him with a troika of U.N. officials. Within two months of the arrival of U.N. troops in Sep tember 1960, the Congos government dissolved. Four opposing camps, each with its own armed forces, claimed control over all or part of the country. At one point or another, each si& felt the U.N. was working against it. This caused a series of attacks by various Congol ese factions on the U.N. troops. In the end, 234 U.N. troops were killed, the organization spent over $400 million (approximately $1.8 billion in 1991 dollars) and was forced to float a bond issue to pay for the crisis. In 1965, shortly after U.N. peacekeeping troops left the Congo, Joseph Mobutu (now Mobutu Sese Seko) staged a coup. He has been dictator of Zaire (the countrys name was changed in 1971) ever since and has been accused of cor 10 ruption and violently suppressing political dissent. Today Zaire faces a political crisis that could lead again to civil war. 6 J Without the consent of all parties to a conflict, peacekeeping operations can quickly turn into dangerous and costly peace-enforcement operations.
The U.N.3 experience in the Congo highlights the dangers of maintaining U.N. troops in places where they are no longer wanted by one or more of the parties. Another costly lesson was the dispatch of the Multinational Force (MNF) of American, British, French and Italian troops to Lebanon to keep the peace following the assassination of Lebanese President-elect Bashir Gemayel on September 15,19
82. Although this was not an official U.N. operation, it had the approval of U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar.
While initially welcomed by many of Lebanons warring factions, the MNF eventually be came tenmist targets, culminating in the October 23,1983, truck bombing ofthe U.S. Ma rine barracks in Beirut that cost 241 lives LEARNING THE WRONG LESSON ABOUT U.N. PEACEKEEPING Given the past history of U.N. peacekeeping, and the Current crises in Yugoslavia, Cam bodia, and Somalia, the question arises: What role should the U.N. play in maintaining world peace? In addressing this question, it is important to undentand how merit U.N successes in Angola, El Salvador, Iraq, and Nicaragua were achieved. Thm is a tendency to exaggerate the importance of the U.N.s role in restoring peace in these cases. U.N. Sec retary General Boutros-Ghali, for example, released a plan entitled Agenda for Peace on June 17 that gives too much credit and responsibility to the U.N. for maintaining world peace fum U.N. peacekeeping, peace-enforcement, and warmaking operations describes situa tions in which the U.N. will need to use farce. The plan lacks specific details, but it con tains a series of proposed graduated U.N. responses to international aggression. The Secre tary General implies that threre are major, medium, and minor degrees of aggression? He does not provide specific examples, but Bourns-Ghali has stated that the U.N. forces may perhaps never be sufficiently large or well enough equipped to deal with major intema tional aggression8 Presumably, Boutros-Ghali refers to major conflicts on the order of the 1939 German invasion of Poland, the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, or perhaps even Iraqs 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Boutros-Ghali, however, believes that the U.N should be able to respond to a threat posed by military force of a lesser order.g Presumably, this repsents medium aggres sion. The meaning of this also is not clear, but perhaps it is similar to Serbian aggression in fanner Yugoslavia. To combat this level of aggression, Boutros-Ghali mecommends that the Security Council should resolve the crisis using troops voluntarily provided by U.N. mem Boutros-Ghalis Agenda for Peace. U.N. Secretary General Boutros-Ghalis plan for 6 7 8 9 lbid See Thomas P. Sheehy, For Zaires Mobutu, the U.S.-Funded Party is Over, Heritage Foundation Executive MemrundumNo.314,0ctoberll, 1991.
The defhtion of international aggression may be expanding to include civil war that could affect Boutros Boutros-Ghali, An Agenda for Peace (New Yo& The United Nations, 1992 p. 25 peace 11 ber states, under the command of the Military Staff Committee (MSC The U.N.3 Mili tary Staff Committee is composed of the military chiefs of staff of the five permanent members of the Security Council. According to the U.N. Charter, they are hsponsible under the Security Council for any armed forces placed at the disposal of the Security Council.**O the U.S. and Soviet Union. It is unlikely to be resmcted in the near futm because the permanent members have shown little desire to do so. Even if they wanted to activate the MSC, it would be difficult to reach an agreement in a common military doctrine, command structure, and other military considerations. Nor is it likely that many countries will make their troops available to the Security Council anytime soon awry with peacekeeping, and the operation turns into peace-enforcement. This represents minor aggression. This could occur where U.N. forces are needed to restore or maintain a cease-fire. To accomplish this task, the Secretary General would recruit troops the same way he recruits peacekeeping forces: member nations would volunteer them. However these troops would be more heavily armed than peacekeeping farces. And, most important although they would be authorized by the Security Council, they would be under the com mand of the Secretary General.
Boutros-Ghalis plan in effect would provide the U.N. with a standing army. He has asked that 20 member states each, on 48 hours notice, provide the U.N. with 2,000 troops.11 Presumably, this army would be used in low-intensity combat such as protecting food shipments in Somalia or maintaining a cease-fire in El Salvador. To pay for the pro gram, Boutros-Ghali has suggested a $50 million revolving fund for emergency humanitar ian purposes and a $1 billion peace endowment. Money for this would be raised partly by imposing an international sales tax on weapons and international air travel.
Senator Simons Plan. Another plan for expanding the U.N.s peacekeeping operations comes fnrm Senator Paul Simon, the Democrat from Illinois. In legislation before the Com mittee on Governmental Affairs in April 1992, Simon -sed making U.N. peacekeep ing activities a part of Americas national defense. Simons bill states that United Nations peacekeeping contributes to a United States national security interest and maintains that, the United States has a national security interest in fully funding its assessment for United Nations peacekeeping.12 To protect this putative national security interest Simons legislation would fund U.S. contributions to U.N. peacekeeping operations out of the Defense Department budget. They currently come out of the State Departments bud get The MSC has been inactive since 1947, primarily because of Cold War tensions between At the bottom of Boutros-Ghalis scale of aggression is force used when something goes 13 10 United Nations Cb, Article 47(2 11 Can the U.N. Handle Its New Credibility? Interview with Boutros-Ghali, USA Today, September 21,1992 12. S. 2560, Section 1 1 2 13 Two other notable pieces of legislation supporting peacekeeping are: The fiscal 1993 Defense Deparrment on emergency peacekeeping, and a Senate resolution sponsored by Joseph Biden urging the President to begin negotiations to make American troops available to the U.N. Security Council Appmpriation which allows the Secretary of Defense to spend $300 million appropriated for opemions or maintenance 12 Flawed Conclusions. Trusting the Secretary General with military power requires an un warranted leap of faith.The U.N.s intervention in the Congo from 1960 to 1964, the only time in the past when this has been tried, generally is seen as an expensive disaster.
Boutros-Ghalis idea of activating the Military Staff Committee also is dangerous for America. The command of the Military Staff Committee presumably would shift periodi cally among the five permanent members of the Security Council. That means that four fifths of the time someone other than an American would be in charge. Putting American troops under the command of a foreigner would undermine American influence over the outcomes of wars that could have tremendous international consequences. If the U.S needs to protect its national security interests, it can find allies to help it do so without re sorting to the cumbersome and often ineffective U.N. system.
Senator Simons plan to change the mission of the U.S. Defense Department hm one of protecting the U.S. to one of protecting the world is equally without merit. Although Simons bill states that peacekeeping contributes to a United States national security inter est, he never adequately explains why this is the case. In fact, diverting Defense Depart ment funds to pay for the U.N.3 burgeoning peacekeeping programs inevitably would mean a decrease in American security.The effect of Simons bill would be to disguise peacekeeping costs as defense costs, and diminish the amount of money spent on real de fense needs. It also would detract from what should be the U.S. militarys primary mission defending the United States MYTHS ABOUT U.N. PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS The unrealistic recommendations of Simon and other U.N. boosters rests on a number of myths.They are Myth #1: U.N. peacekeeping operations save the U.S. money because the U.N does collectively what the U.S. would have to do individually.
Fact: The rapidly expanding U.N. peacekeeping programs actually add to U.S. costs be cause they often involve the U.S. in peacekeeping efforts that Washington otherwise would avoid. For example, the U.S. has little or no national interest at stake in Yugoslavia the Western Sahara, or Somalia, but will have to spend $254 million because of U.N. in volvement in these far-flung crisis areas.
Myth #2: Allowing the U.N. to develop a military capability, such as the Military Staff Committee (MSC will relieve the U.S. military from involvement.
Fact: In the two major U.N. military operations, against North Kma and Iraq, the U.S supplied the bulk of the U.N. coalitions military farces involved in the fighting. In cases such as Yugoslavia or Somalia, where the U.S. has little or no national intemt at stake Washington would not send troops unless they were part of the U.N. operations. Thus, in stead of relieving the U.S. from military involvement, the U.N. would actually get the U.S into a war that it would otherwise choose to avoid.
Myth #3: Multilateral, U.N.-sanctioned military actions m preferable to unilateral, U.S. military ones because the imprimatur of the U.N. implies the backing of international law 13 Fact: By repeatedly seeking U.N. approval for military actions, the U.S. may establish a precedent that future presidents will be loath to break. If the U.N. stamp of approval is per ceived to be necessary for every use of force, the U.N. Security Council effectively will be given a veto over U.S. military actions. This could prevent the U.S. from acting unilater ally even when its national security interests are at stake. For example, it is unlikely that the U.N. Security Council would have approved the 1983 invasion of Grenada or the 1986 bombing of Libya.
Moreover, U.N.-sanctioned military action carries no special moral force or legal justifi cation. The U.N. is not a body representing global democracy, where each nation suppos edly represents the democratic will of its people. The U.N. is made up of democracies and dictatorships, some like Iran, Iraq, and Syria, which are oppressive to their own people. Its voice is that of nation-states, and not of the worlds people GUIDELINES FOR U.S. POLICY ON U.N. PEACEKEEPING In the euphoria following the end of the Cold War, and the new found respect shown the U.N a danger arises that policymakers will let their misguided idealism get the better of them. Congress and the President should take a clear-headed, realistic look at U.N peacekeeping and establish some priorities for U.S. policy. These should be: 1) defend American national security; 2) protect the American taxpayer; and 3) avoid surrendering American sovereignty to the U.N. bureaucracy. To accomplish these goals, the United States should J Rule out sending American troops to fight in Cambodia, Somalia or Yugoslavia.
The U.S. has little or no economic and strategic interests in Cambodia, Somalia and Yu goslavia. American soldiers should not be put at risk if U.S. national interests are not en dangered.14 Additionally, the United States Constitution limits the war-making powers of the hsident and Congress, restrictin their use of that power to circumstances where they provide for the common defense.
Furthennore, it is easy to underestimate the resistance that a U.N. farce would face.
Combatants fighting a war in their own country have more to lose than foreignen who fight for humanitarian purposes. The Khmer Rouge and the Serbs, for example, will con tinue to fight, because they have to live with the result. But neither the U.S. nor any other country is likely to sustain casualties indefmitely to perform what essentially is a charitable service of little consequence to their national security.
J Reject a U.N. standing army.
The U.N. is a poorly run institution that should not be entrusted with preserving global peace. The U.N. has a workfocce top-heavy with high-paid bureaucrats and light on field 14 15 See Making tk World S
e for America: A U.S. Foreign Policy Blueprint, The Herifage Foundation, April 1992.
Preamble to the United States Constitution 14 workers. Although peacekeeping operations probably are better run than some of the other tasks handled by the U.N significant and costly lapses occur regularly. For example, after the Namibia operation, the U.N. donated $26 million of its equipment, including $18 mil lion worth of jeeps and trucks, to the Nambibian government. en the U.N. needed them in neighboring Angola, the Namibians refused to return them.
Sophisticated military missions such as those performed in the Gulf War can only be ac complished by a handful of the countries in the world. These would include the United States, France, Britain, and their regional allies. It is a fantasy to believe that the U.N even with its own standing army, could achieve military goals without the aid of one or more of those nations. And none of those nations is likely to sacrifice its soldiers, equip ment, and money to fight someone elses battles.
J Retain Americas ability to act unilaterally, without consulting the U.N Releasing hostages in Iran, fighting aggression in Iraq, and bringing peace to Central America were important American goals sought by the world community. It made sense for the U.S. to use the U.N. in these cases. But repeatedly seeking U.N. appval far the use of armed farce is a double-edged sword. It could lock the U.S. into a position where fu ture presidents grow increasingly reluctant to act unilaterally to defend U.S. interests with out first gaining U.N. backing. Therefore, the U.S. should be cautious about approaching the U.N. to endorse American military actions. Thexe may be times when the U.N. endorse ment is desirable, but there will be times when it is not. When its vital intemsts am at stake Washington always must reserve its right to take unilateral action if necessary IP on issues important to American security interests J Reduce the U.S. percentage of contributions to U.N peacekeeping operations.
Many congressmen were unpleasantly surprised when Secmtary of State James Baker on March 5 requested an additional $350 million for U.N. peacekeeping for fiscal 19
92. Con gress had already appropriated $107 million far that purpose. Baker also informed Con gress that he would request $460 million for U.N. peacekeeping in the fiscal 1993 budget.
By comparison, peacekeeping costs in 1990 were only $81 million. If the U.N. continues to expand its peacekeeping missions, the cost surely will rise further.
The U.S. pays 30.4 percent of the peacekeeping costs far most U.N. missions. This percentage is higher than and in addition to the 25 percent of general U.N. operating costs which the U.S. also pays. At a time when the budgets of many government programs are being cut, Congress should limit funds for U.N. peacekeeping to a maximum of 25 percent of U.N. peacekeeping costs.
To accomplish this, the formula for U.N. peacekeeping assessments needs to be renegoti ated. If not, the U.S. will have to withhold payment, or use its veto power mm often to prevent costly and unpromising peacekeeping operations 16 Misteps an the Path to Peace, The Washington Post, August 22,1992, p. A14 17 Of the thin current U.N. wing operations, two are funded from the UN. regular budget (UNTSO and UNMOGIP one is funded through voluntary contributions (Cyprus and ten am financed from their own separate Bccounts 15 J Resist efforts to include peacekeeping expenditures in the Defense Department budget, rather than the State Departments Moving peacekeeping costs into the Defense Department, as proposed by Senator Simon, would weaken the mission of the U.S. military. Diverting funds from defense to U.N. peacekeeping would harm the militarys primary mission, which is to defend the United States.
Moreover, the large size of the defense budget would make it easier to hide huge in creases in U.N. peacekeeping costs. A 100 percent increase in peacekeeping costs would represent less than a one-fifth of one percent increase in the defense budget, while it would be about a ten percent increase in the State Departments budget. These rapidly expanding costs could cut into the ability of the U.S. to develop and maintain the high-tech arsenal that brought victory in the Gulf War with minimal casualties. The end result of greater hu manitarian and peacekeeping efforts funded at the expense of the Defense Department may be higher American casualties in the event of another war CONCLUSION Americans should discourage the trend toward the U.N. using armed force to solve vie lent conflicts. If this trend continues, it could undermine U.S. security interests, sacrifice American troops for obscure causes unrelated to defending the US and cost American taxpayers increasing amounts of money.
Throughout American history, the U.S. has done a good job of defending itself without the aid of a world body like the U.N. Even if the United Nations was an efficient, neutral democratically elected body dedicated to human rights, and possessing an outstanding re cord in resolving violent conflicts, Americans should rehse to put their national security in its hands. In reality, the U.N. bureaucracy is wasteful and mpt. Many U.N. member states are dictatorships with little regard for human rights. And its history of peace enfarce ment and warmaking in such places as the Congo and Karea has not been successful.
The U.N. can be a useful institution so long as Washington does not lose sight of U.S. in terests. However, Americans should avoid entrusting that body with more authority than it has earned, and they should refuse to let the U.N. lead America into military entangle ments whem Americans have no interests at stake. To accomplish that, the Congress and the President should never send peacekeeping troops into potential war-zones like Yuge slavia and Cambodia, and they should reject the idea of a standing U.N. army. War and peace are still political exercises, and the U.N. alone is not equipped to make either. Only the worlds sovereign nations-sometimes working through the U.N. and sometimes not can effectively do that.
Andrew J. Cowin Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs 16