Skip to main content

tv   Great Decisions in Foreign Policy  PBS  July 16, 2010 8:00pm-8:30pm PST

9:00 pm
>> even the famed military strategist tsung-tsu acknowledged that to subdue the enemy without fighting is the height of skill. yet more resources throughout history have been devoted to military endeavors than to peace efforts. >> we need to be much more flexible, much more capable of responding and adapting our responses to the threats that we're facing. >> does the u.s. integrate the tools of peace building into its statecraft? when do challenges like poverty, disease and climate change become issues of national security? and what role can global institutions and civil society organizations play in supporting government led efforts? next, on great decisions. >> in a democracy, agreement is not essential, but participation is. join us as we discuss today's
9:01 pm
most critil global issues. join us as we discuss today's most critil global issues. join us for great decisions. [instrumental music] >> great decisions is produced by the foreign policy association, inspiring americans to learn more about the world. funding for great decisions is provided by the carnegie corporation of new york, the starr foundation, shell international, and the european commission. great decisions is produced in association with the university of delaware. >> and now from our studios, here is ralph begleiter. >> welcome to great decisions. i'm ralph begleiter. joining us to discuss peace building and statecraft are paul hughes, senior program officer at the center for conflict analysis and prevention at the u.s. institute of peace. he's a former army officer who served in humanitarian reconstruction at the pentagon and in iraq in 2003.
9:02 pm
and ambassador dennis jett, professor of international affairs at the school of international affairs at penn state university, former u.s. ambassador to peru and mozambique, and former senior director of african affairs at the national security council. thank you both for being with us. what's the difference between peace building and peacemaking? a lot of people have heard about peacemaking. is there some difference between those and how does it differ from nation building? ambassador? >> well, peacemaking is the initial phase. you have to have the peace before you can build on it and that peace can be negotiated through diplomatic means or it can be imposed, but once the shooting stops, you have to build on that peace. you have to create a society where the peace is stable and that can be the tricky part. the, um, parties that were at conflict in the past don't always agree to how the future should, should unfold, who should have what share of political power.
9:03 pm
and so, you need to help those societies reconstruct themselves physically, but also construct themselves politically. >> paul? >> well, igree with the ambassador, but it took the united states a lo time to figure out what these differences truly were. back in the late '90s, when some of these concepts were evolving, there was a great deal of confusion, especially within the department of defense about what was really meant by this, and do you want to assign the military a task of peacemaking somewhere and how does that differ from peace keeping or peace enforcement? there were just a lot of permutations to it. but, uh, when you get into the peace building side, it's not just peace building of the official organizations of a new state or a state coming out of conflict. it also evolves around the civil society sector, too, which is just as important in building a sustainable peace. >> now you've got
9:04 pm
military experience and the ambassador's got diplomatic experience, and i know that military personnel sometimes resent the idea that, "now wait a minute, we're here to solve a problem. we know how to go about our military activities, but we don't have any training. we don't have any expertise in the kind of work that you do, ambassador, that follows that process." are we blurring the lines now in the united states between what the military does and what the diplomatic or political environment does? ambassador? >> i think we are. i think that there was reluctance on the part of the pentagon to accept these kind of responsibilities and roles, simply because they didn't see them as essentially military. the state department on the other hand, doesn't have much surge capacity. the number of foreign service officers is pretty small, and when you spread them over the world, there just aren't that many around that can get into the details, the nitty gritty, that's required in a peace building effort, and so the military has sort of gotten dragged into it
9:05 pm
and now accepted the role more. but as colonel hughes said, it's a wide array of activities that you have to engage in, including building civil society if that country is going to be sustainable. so, it's not only economic reconstruction, it's that creating that society politically, and that's manpower or person power intensive. >> let me focus our attention a bit on iraq and afghanistan, two specific examples. great decisions spoke with some other experts on this topic as well. let's hear what they have to say about it. >> we used to see conflicts as proxy wars and depended on the superpowers, uh, for resolving them or managing them or aggravating them. and with the withdrawal of the superpowers, we have to rethink how to approach these conflicts, see them in their proper context as regional and also as internal. >> when we talk about
9:06 pm
afghanistan in our country, we're still using the words counterinsurgency or counterterrorism as the organizing principles. and i, i think that that handicaps us in terms of the way we think about that engagement. >> given where we are now as the troops pull out, i would assume that there could be an interest, particularly in iraq, in terms of, of doing some activities which would help the government, umm, and the existing society strengthens itself, democratize itself, umm, deal with internal conflict and the like. >> will the diplomatic process or the political process in iraq and afghanistan-- let's say, let's talk about iraq for a moment-- as it moves into the phase of peace building, change the rhetoric? can the military, uh, withdraw from that kind of, of rhetoric that it uses all the time? >> well, i think the rhetoric is important and it does give uh, some focus to what it is you are attempting to achieve.
9:07 pm
also the environment itself is important if you're in an anti-insurgency, anti-terrorist environment, you're using military action to suppress certain parts of society or to eliminate certain threats. uh, normally, the ideal situation for peace building is that you have peace and you have something to build on. that's, uh, a bit problematic. we're drawing down our number of troops there as it is, so how that-- they will hand off those roles, they are now confined to bases, i believe, and so that role will shift, not only because of what the u.s. would like to accomplish, but because of what the iraqi government will permit. you still have a situation however, where a shiite majority has now taken power. they're not particularly interested in the rights of the sunni minority, and so there are a lot of fundamental issues, the relationship with the kurds is particularly strained these days.
9:08 pm
um, the--uh, how to share the oil revenue, all of that goes into making a society where you can have some sharing of not only political power but economic power that's essential for stability, and that takes a long time to work out sometimes in any country. but i think it's particularly problematic where you've imposed a situation as we have in iraq through our military action. >> i might, i might add, ralph, that the balkans is another case example, case study of this. and we still have military forces committed to the balkans, not just the united states, but the europeans do, uh, to insure that the peace does not break down while the peace building is, is on, on the way to growth. but it's a very problematic, uh, enterprise to undertake. >> you know, i want to ask, it's good that you mention the former yugoslavia also, but in iraq, do you think the american people will be interested
9:09 pm
in the peace building phase of the operation after u.s. troops are essentially withdrawn and we're down to a few, uh, tens of thousands advisors in iraq, and is public support in the united states essential for the peace building phase? maybe it isn't. what do you think? >> i think that the american people, number one, are going to lose focus on iraq because our national characteristic is, we don't have patience for these sorts of enterprises. we want a quick solution. we get in and we get out and that's it. um, but the need to remain focused on iraq, because iraq will defy a short term solution, and public will, especially as expressed through congress is extremely vital to the success of stabilizing iraq. >> what do you think, ambassador? >> well, to a degree, i think the american public's attention span is pretty short. i think it's already diverted its attention away from iraq
9:10 pm
and the only reason it would be drawn back is if the situation deteriorates significantly. if it's relatively quiet, i think the american people will tend to tune out. but the other piece of this puzzle is what do the iraqi people want. and we have a status of forces agreement that has a deadline for the withdrawal of u.s. troops, so tha uh, is going to be probably more important than what americans think. >> you know, that, that leads me to ask this question. can a country that has invaded another be the peace builder in that country? is there some sort of disconnect in that case? now former yugoslavia is a different situation and there are other situations that are quite different, but in iraq, can the peace builder be the same nation that initiated the conflict? >> i think it makes it more difficult when you've, uh, imposed that peace and invaded a country. ideally, when the parties to the conflict, uh, negotiate a peace and arrive at a solution
9:11 pm
that they can agree with, that's the best situation upon which to build. but when, uh, you impose the peace and you are identified as the invader, as we are, and we used to have a coalition of coerced and co-opted countries that joined us in the invasion, but i think we're down to exactly one country now in that, in that occupying force, the united states, and so it sort of identifies us even more when we don't have any international aura to, to our efforts. and i think it makes it all the more difficult, and it's a convenient excuse for iraqi politicians, and they're running for offices these days, and so they have to make political statements and so, um, arguing for the removal of the american troops is one that is an applause line in some circles in iraq. >> great decisions was curious about what the components are of peace building that follows
9:12 pm
military action. we asked some of our experts that question as well. let's hear what they have to say. >> development becomes a major factor because usually it is the marginalized, the deprived, that sooner or later find a way of reacting against the injustice, perhaps even by rebellion. and that rebellion then generates an onslaught from the more powerful governments against the so-called rebels, and you have a chain that can become genocidal. >> when i say we need to tell stories about peace, i'm not saying we should all be singing kumbaya. uh, this is not a warm and fuzzy pursuit. the core of my argument is that we tend to think about building peace and improving people's lives abroad as humanitarian issues, as moral issues, but i would argue that we have a strong strategic interest in building peace as well. >> there's all sorts of things that could be done. i would see it as a three or four legged stool
9:13 pm
of which there is a diplomatic part, a military part, and ngo part and the fourth part, which is harder to get in, is the business part, the economic part. um, and international organizations sometimes have both the reach and the international credibility that they can do things that the u.s. government can't do, and you want to mix these things skillfully together. >> so we've talked about the military part, we've talked about the diplomatic or political part a bit. what about the development part? francis deng made reference to that, uh, and the others as well. in afghanistan, i think, we're seeing this problem be confronted head on. the military operations are not done, but development, getting economic development going in that country is really a big, big, big challenge. what's the answer to that? is government the best answer to that? are non-government organizations the best answer to that? ambassador? >> well, i think it, it's a little bit of everything.
9:14 pm
you're right. afghanistan is a very poor country. usually in these civil war situations, they start with a poor country and destroy what they have and, and so they dig themselves economically an even deeper hole to climb out of. certainly, there's a role for government in providing development assistance, humanitarian assistance, which is essential to make sure that the population has enough to eat, has medical care and the basic necessities. and then you worry about the other kinds of things, the more complicated economic development issues like infrastructure and utilities and that sort of thing. and there's a role obviously there for ngo's. >> paul? >> two points. the first one is that based on experience that i've seen in iraq and other conflicted zones, you're not going to get economic development started, especially with foreign investment if the foreign investors do not feel comfortable that
9:15 pm
their investment will be protected by law. if you have a broken down rule of law system, which is nearly always the case in these conflicted countries, it will inhibit economic development. um, the second point is, americans tend to assume that, uh, economic development has to look a particular way. it has to appear in some particular way that they are comfortable with, that they are familiar with. >> that americans are familiar with? >> that americans are familiar with, not what the host nation or the indigenous country is familiar with. for the americans to go into a place like afghanistan, and think that they are going to be building five star hotels and superhighways and putting in electricity to all of the villages of afghanistan, uh, is a pipe dream, because that is not the experience, it's not the cultural experience of afghanis. that is an important dynamic we have to understand, because it also plays to the question
9:16 pm
of what we mean by stability and security. in some of these parts of the world, a low level of violence is what they have always anticipated and expected and lived with and their, their cultural organizations are built around that phenomenon. and for us to walk in and think that we're going to stop intertribal conflict, for example, in afghanistan is, is a hopeless cause. we can't do it. >> are you saying essentially that americans can't always be focused on building peace in the american image? that the building of the peace has to be done in some, uh, perhaps customized image for each country in which it's involved. and is that difficult for the united states to do? >> well, i think it is difficult for the united... first, i agree that america needs to do it in the context of the country that is in question. it is difficult for the united states to do because we lack the capacities to make this happen and as the ambassador remarked early
9:17 pm
on the department of state, uh, it has been woefully underfunded and supported by the united states government for decades, and we're now paying the bill for people in the 1980's who sought to destroy the department of state. >> and does this also play into the public opinion aspect? if americans are always told that the american system is the way, it's the right way, and then they see it as something that can be replicated everywhere? is that a problem gaining or retaining public support for these peace building missions in places like iraq, afghanistan, and perhaps elsewhere? >> well, i think there are some elements that are-- that should be universal, but i would agree with the colonel. one size does not fit all. you have to take into account the situation in the particular country and, and adapt to it and do what you can within that context. uh, so we shouldn't expect to create little americas all over the world. the other aspect that i think is worth a mention, particularly with regard
9:18 pm
to afghanistan, is you have sixty percent of the economy producing ninety percent of the world's heroine. a narco state like that makes any kind of development-- economic or political-- problematic, particularly when you have a corrupt and incompetent and essentially dishonest government that's just stolen an election. so, that makes the burden all that much more difficult and challenging. >> come back to the question of non-government organizations. we asked some of our experts about the roles, uh, maybe others have more flexibility in than governments do. let's hear what they have to say. >> civil society-- i use the term governments, yes--are now in the post cold war era playing a vital role, in fact, they are much more trusted by the international community sometimes than the governments. and therefore it is in the interest of governments to work with them, not as adversaries, but as potential allies in addressing the problems in their own countries.
9:19 pm
>> by partnering with organizations like these, uh, the u.s. and, and our other allies, uh, can both get local knowledge, which can be very useful, but also local legitimacy. and so, in many cases the challenge is really making sure these organizations have the resources and the expertise to do the peacekeeping work because a lot of organizations certainly have the interest in doing so already. likewise, with ngo's, and in fact, with other organizations, uh, uh, private sector corporations, international religious organizations, uh, they often have their ear a lot closer to the ground. they may be much more engaged on a day-to-day basis. >> there can be a massive ngo, non-governmental organization contribution. this is where organizations like my own work and what we can do is everything from radio programming,
9:20 pm
television programming, which supports bringing people together. >> so these last few speakers were talking about sort of cultural roles that ngo's play in peace building. that's a difficult thing for the government to do, for the u.s. government to do. religious roles, um, you know, civil society roles, broadcasting and journalism and that sort of thing. are those the kind of things that typically, the united states has to rely on non-government agencies, on non-governmental organizations to engage in or is that something the u.s. government ought to be involved in? ambassador? >> well, i think it--i think it does have to rely on these organizations. we can't do everything and, and you can't build a peace if the people themselves who live in that country don't take ownership of that peace, don't have a stake in that peace, don't have a stake in the future of that country. and so, they're the ones who are more effective than any outsider at monitoring things like human rights violations or developments, insuring that,
9:21 pm
uh, their government is not succumbing to corruption at every opportunity, a whole range of things that outsiders can't do that the people of the country have to do for themselves or should be encouraged and assisted to do for themselves. >> paul, the institute of peace uh, focuses in large measure on these other kinds of activities that have to go on in countries to create a peaceful environment that the u.s. government really can't, or hasn't been involved in, in the past. uh, what about the arab-israeli conflict, for example, where usip has been involved for a long time, and i guess you are as well? uh, we've heard about peace building and peacemaking between the arabs and the israelis for decades now. why hasn't this succeeded? why hasn't there been an opportunity to actually build a peace between these two groups? >> well, certainly, we don't have enough time left on the show to explain all of the obstacles in the middle east that relate to uh,
9:22 pm
the palestinian-israeli issue, uh, but it has been very difficult to build civil society organizations, especially on the palestinian side, for a variety of reasons. uh, some of them related to support for the palestinians, some of them related to the palestinians themselves. the current palestinian leadership now is intent on institution building, uh, and needs a great deal of help. they are also supportive of the help that they have received on civil society organizations. and there is a great deal going on that we support in terms of education and media and uh, in the palestinian regions. uh, and, once that effort begins to take hold and an institution that people can recognize as a palestinian state evolves, then i think you're going to see movement towards an eventual peace agreement
9:23 pm
because then the israelis, as they like to say, will know the address to, to go to. >> let me just ask you briefly, and we don't have much time left, but i'd love to hear your answer to this. are there places like north korea and south korea, for example, where the u.s. has not intervened in, with peace building operations, where that might be a fruitful tack to take to change a situation, a confrontation, that has existed for decades? is intervention in a place like north korea, and along the border and on the korean peninsula, a useful thing in peace building, or is it just not possible to do that as long as those two countries are still technically at war? ambassador? >> uh, i would say that it's not possible. i would say that at this point with a dictatorship in the north run by uh, someone of dubious mental stability, perhaps, uh, there isn't an opportunity there. i would look to the south koreans first to tell us what they think we can do to help them
9:24 pm
in their relationship with the north. i mean, the south korean capitol is within artillery range of the north korean border. so it's uh, essentially their call, and if they think there's something we can do to assist them, to improve that situation, we should do it. otherwise, it's one of those things where we will probably just have to wait for the situation in the north to improve and create an opportunity. >> paul hughes, do you want to comment on that? >> i agree with him entirely. you have to have a peace, uh, some sort of peace agreement to build upon to, to make the stable region. and we don't have, that's not in the cards right now in the north. >> paul hughes, the senior program officer at the center for conflict analysis and prevention at the u.s. institute of peace. thank you for being with us. and ambassador dennis jett, professor of international affairs at the school of international affairs at penn state university, thank you as well for being with us on great decisions. and thank you for watching great decisions.
9:25 pm
i'm ralph begleiter. we'll see you next week. >> to learn more about topics discussed on great decisions, visit our website at great decisions is available on dvd. to order, visit or call 1-800-playpbs. funding for great decisions in foreign policy is provided by the carnegie corporation of new york, the starr foundation, shell international and the european commission. great decisions is produced in association with the university of delaware. next time on great decisions in foreign policy... >> beneath the advantages of a so-called flat world, lies a dark underbelly, a booming drug trade, cyber-terrorism, and increased human trafficking are evidence of the more nefarious effects of globalization.
9:26 pm
>> it's slavery. i mean, the use of the word trafficking, it's still sort of grates a little bit because it distances it and makes it sound like something about objects, and it's slavery. slavery's not gone. it's still happening. >> can worldwide organized crime be stopped or at least slowed? >> next time, on great decisions >> next time, on great decisions in foreign policy. [instrumental music] closed captions by captionlink
9:27 pm
9:28 pm
9:29 pm


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on