Monday, January 9, 2006

Peacemaking News

I've just received a bit of news that looks interesting. I haven't had a chance to check it out further, but here's at least one study that acknowledges the wisdom of peacemaking.

"It is not surprising that most people believe global violence is increasing. However, most people, including many leading policymakers and scholars, are wrong. The reality is that, since the end of the Cold War, armed conflict and nearly all other forms of political violence have decreased. The world is far more peaceful than it was."
- Andrew Mack, director of the Human Security Center at the University of British Columbia and former UN official, describing how worldwide peacemaking efforts - despite some major failures - have been broadly and quietly successful.

A major study by the Rand Corp. published this year found that U.N. peace-building operations had a two-thirds success rate. They were also surprisingly cost-effective. In fact, the United Nations spends less running 17 peace operations around the world for an entire year than the United States spends in Iraq in a single month. What the United Nations calls "peacemaking" -- using diplomacy to end wars -- has been even more successful. About half of all the peace agreements negotiated between 1946 and 2003 have been signed since the end of the Cold War.

a link to a Washington Post story:


Eleutheros said...

Two things send a skeptical eyebrow rising:

1). The author's a former UN muckatymuck. Don't reckon he could be a bit biased, do you?

2). I wonder to what extent he's taking credit for the UN for the sun rising? That is, in the heat of conflict, the UN clowns come in mucking around, the two sides settle the conflict as they would even if the UN hadn't been there and then the UN takes the bows. I wouldn't be surprised to find that some of the conflics that the UN solved was because the fighters ran out of ammo.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that eleutheros.

Son of Lilith said...

This argument is open for debate as all others, but if these claims are true then I've got one think to say to the war mongers:


Son of Lilith said...

Sorry, that was immature.


I'm in a silly mood today, but I hope you all get my point.

Daniel Levesque said...

I would contend that the opposite of what the author has poisted is true. Since the fall of the Soviet Union a great many nations that were once peceful under Soviet rule have turned violent, mostly civil war. Also, the Middle East remains a hotbed of hatred and violence as it has been for decades. On op of that, Africa has become more war-torn from inner strife than it has been since before the colonization days and aparthied (which we can all agree was wrong). Latin America still has the same problems with Guerillas and drug lords. Piracy is on the rise out at sea. And don't forget terrorism.

I fail to see how any of this is a reduction in global violence. Perhaps the author is accounting for the drop in state-sponsored murder and torture that came with fall of Communism in Europe. Still I fail to see how that counterbalances the rise in civil warfare and terrorism worldwide.

Dan Trabue said...

Some thoughts (and I may have posted them before but they still are appropriate):

1. EVEN IF you think that violence works as a solution, we cannot do an Iraqi-style invasion for each of the dozen (hundred?) countries around the world that have oppressive regimes or where people are being killed.


2. If we are not going to invade each rogue regime, we ought to have a plan in place for how to deal with those sorts of problems. Agreed?

3. The plan ought to detail:
a. What constitutes a problem?
b. What steps ought to be put in place to resolve the problem?
c. Who needs to agree that it is a problem before action takes place?
d. How will resolution be paid for?

These simple steps seem reasonable conclusions to reach regardless of where you stand on violence-as-solution.

My thought is that violence cannot possibly solve our rogue regime problems - not enough soldiers and bombs. We need other solutions in place.

GRANTED, these solutions won't solve all our rogue regime problems either but it would be an honest effort and have at least as great a chance at working as violence does - I'd say more.

Otherwise it's every rogue regime for themselves and to hell (quite literally) with the rest of the world.

This seems like basic reasoning that anyone could agree with. Or am I wrong (and someone will find a reason to disagree with it)?

Daniel Levesque said...

I would wholeheartedly agree with such a plan, but witha few qualifiers.

There must be immediate dire consequences for rogue nations that violate the resolutins. None of this 12 years of giving a free pass like was done for Iraq.

It must be possible to actually reach an acceptable agreement in the first place.

Finally, who needs to invade every rogue country in the first place. We can change national policy to allow the assassination of enemy leaders. We have the capablity, and I see no reason why it should not be an option if it would save thousands of American lives.

I am, of course, open to other ideas and information. The way of peace is ALWAYS preferable to war and violence if it can be followed.

Carl said...

I've already argued:

"Between slaughter and sexual escapades, bribery and boasting about the work of others, the UN couldn't run a one-car funeral. Why on earth would anyone entrust it to keep the peace?"

Still, despite bombing at peacekeeping, the blue-helmets are number one with a bullet at keeping cash:

""How bad is the still expanding scandal in the United Nations' multi-billion-dollar procurement division? Based on a still-secret internal investigation, the answer is: for the U.N., it is just as bad as the gigantic Oil-for-Food debacle — or maybe worse.

The focus of the current scandal is U.N. peacekeeping, a function that consumes 85 percent of the U.N.'s procurement budget — a cost that could reach $2 billion in 2005. Like many of the U.N.'s financial dealings, it is shrouded in secrecy. And like the multi-billion-dollar Oil-for-Food scandal, it is wrapped in what the U.N.'s own investigators now call "systematic abuse," "a pattern of corrupt practices," and "a culture of impunity."

In all, U.N. investigators have charged that nearly one-third of the $1 billion in major U.N. procurement contracts that they examined involved waste, corruption or other irregularities — $298 million in all. And that total covered slightly less than one-third of the $3.2 billion in major supply contracts that the U.N. has signed in the past five years."