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Dixon In light of the ever changing Global Order, we find that the role, concept, and identity of the nation-state have changed. The nation-state as we see it has been redefined in terms of economic integration. Its role we can safely say is now that embraces the notion of quasisovereignty that is projected beyond its traditional barriers and confinement of physical territory. It has truly evolved from its traditional context. “A crucial force that transformed the world of colonial empires into the world of independent territorial states was nationalism, which arose in connection with popular sovereignty and liberalism and helped generate independence movements in the colonial empires. Nationalism begin to connect states with nations by inscribing the sovereign territorial state as the dominant form of political organization throughout the world and by generating a variety of particular experiences of nationhood, depending on specific historical situations. In short, nationalism re-formed the state in an ordering of the political world that was nearly global, and created a range of challenges to European supremacy and dominance within the emerging global grid of territorial states.” (Walter C. Opello, Jr. and Stephen J. Rosow, 1999). It is important therefore within the framework of the definition of the traditional nationstate that we explore further the idea of quasi-sovereignty and the role it has and continues to play in the ever-evolving Global order. Thus we would define quasisovereign states as a nation within a nation or a state within a state with self autonomous rule but still falls under the jurisdiction of a dominant super-state. Its attributes are cultural, racial, historical, and indigenous only to the citizens of that territory. Self
autonomous regimes that come to mind with full governmental structures are the former British colonies of Bermuda, Bahamas, and Virgin Islands which fall under a commonwealth status and the Native American tribes in the United States. Puerto Rice which is a commonwealth territory of the United States also carries that distinction as well. In most cases, these territories give up some autonomy in terms of having their own separate Defense Forces. We can characterize the major governments in the same way, in that they give up some measure of autonomy through international agreement involving trade, military alliances, and the settling of International disputes through the World Court of the Hague. Countries have also found it easier to share in the protection of their vital national interest by entering into Defense Alliances with organizations such as NATO. NATO has its own separate governmental structure with a Secretary General that its member nations adhere to. There are rules and procedures which sometimes supersedes the ones that are in emplaced in its member nations. Finally within the last few years, nations have relinquished the decisions and responsibilities of their National Judiciaries to the ICC (International Criminal Court). We find that the nations least likely to give up their sovereignty are the ones in the emerging sector of the Global World Order. These countries include Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Sri Lanka. These nations views themselves as Independent Mavericks who seek to defy the influences of both the U.S. and EU which they consider an undue infringement into their national affairs. To counter that influence, they have formed an independent organization of their own which binds them together economically,
diplomatically, and politically. That movement is called NAM (The Movement of NonAligned Countries). “The Movement of Non-Aligned Countries was created and founded during the collapse of the colonial system and the independence struggles of the peoples of Africa, Asia, Latin America and other regions of the world and at the height of the Cold War. During the early days of the Movement, its actions were a key factor in the decolonization process, which led later to the attainment of freedom and independence by many countries and peoples and to the founding of tens of new sovereign States. Throughout its history, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries has played a fundamental role in the preservation of world peace. While some meetings with a third-world perspective were held before 1955, historians consider that the Bandung Asian-African Conference is the most immediate antecedent to the creation of the Non-Aligned Movement. This Conference was held on April 18-24, 1955 and gathered 29 Heads of States belonging to the first post-colonial generation of leaders from the two continents with the aim of identifying and assessing world issues at the time and pursuing out joint policies in international relations.” (NAM). Under no uncertain terms am I giving support for this intergovernmental entity. A great majority of them are authoritarian in nature, been listed as state sponsors of terror, or have been charged with grave Human Rights violations. Yet their political versatility and diversity range from the religious theocracy of Iran to the Mega democracy of India. My purpose therefore is to acknowledge that they are a major player in the game of global politics whose basic intentions are to hold on to all vestiges of national sovereignty. At times they have played both a constructive and destructive role in the pursuit of conflict
resolution within the sphere of influence of the United Nations. A recent example would be the conclusion of hostiles by the Sri Lanka government against the Tamil Tigers which led to their crushing defeat and left thousands dead. The United Nations, EU, and the United States tried to mediate an end to the Civil War. However the Sri Lankan government rebuffed those efforts by claiming national sovereignty to settle its own internal disputes. The least amount of criticism of Sri Lanka’s action came from NAM and in some instances; the 118 member organization indirectly supported their cause through backdoor diplomatic channels. Understandably, all of these countries either have membership in other organizations such as OPEC, OAS, Arab League, WTO, AESAN, and OAU. Therefore, to a certain extent they already subscribe to certain checks and balances within these organizations. Since they are sovereign states, there must be universal justification for intervention by the International community. According to The International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty in their document entitled “The Responsibility to Protect,” there are four variables that must be met before military intervention into the foreign affairs of a sovereign nation-state is initiated: “The Precautionary Principles: 1. Right intention: The primary purpose of the intervention, whatever other motives intervening states may have, must be to halt or avert human suffering. Right intention is better assured with multilateral operations, clearly supported by regional opinion and the victims concerned.
2. Last Resort: Military intervention can only be justified when every non-military option for the prevention or peaceful resolution of the crisis has been explored, with reasonable grounds for believing lesser measures would not have succeeded. 3. Proportional means: The scale, duration, and intensity of the planned military intervention should be the minimum necessary to secure the defined human protection objective. 4. Reasonable Prospects: There must be a reasonable chance of success in halting or averting the suffering which has justified the intervention, with the consequences of action not likely to be worst than the consequences of inaction.” (International Development Research Centre, 2001). Unless the country is a failed state such as Somalia or Haiti then there is no justification for intervention. Then there is the question of what are the costs by the international community into the affairs of another country? Clearly the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan that is now taking place deserves direct intervention by the international community. However, the cost to coalition forces could be disastrous in terms of lost of human life, backlash by the militia, and terrorist attacks in other capitals around the world. The presence of OAU troops in the Sudan to help stem the tide of human life obviously has not worked. Eventually though, the International Community will have to step in because there is a good chance that the raging Civil War in Sudan will spill over into neighboring countries such as Chad and has the potential to destabilize the whole East African region. What role does the UN play in stabilizing potential fragile or failed states once the decision has been made to intervene?
In Tony Judt’s article “Is the UN Dead,” we find a reoccurring theme when it comes to the responsibility of the United Nations committing peacekeepers to unstable fragile states in the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America, they are ill-prepared. It is quite evident that the very nature of the United Nations was not set up to accomplish the task of Peacekeeper as originally defined in its Charter. It has no standing Army, Navy, or Air Force. It must rely on its member nations for money, troops, equipment, supplies, and logistics. “Clearly, if the UN is to exercise its emerging "responsibility to protect"— which was not part of its original remit or design—it needs an army of its own (as Brian Urquhart, among others, has proposed). As things now stand, even when the Security Council does agree to authorize a military mission the secretary-general has to begin an interminable round of negotiations and cajoling for money, soldiers, policemen, nurses, arms, trucks, and supplies. Without such additional assistance the organization is helpless: in 1993, peacekeeping expenses alone exceeded the UN's entire annual budget by over 200 percent. And therefore single-state interventions (the French in Côte d'Ivoire or Chad, the British in Sierra Leone), or a sub-UN coalition such as the NATO attack on Serbia in 1999, will continue to be faster and more effective solutions in a crisis than the UN.” (Tony Judt, February 15, 2007). Hence, the effectiveness of the UN Peacekeeping role is further hampered by the quality of the troops that are provided as well as the equipment by both developed and emerging nations. According to the Institute for Security Studies (which is a think tank out of Tshwane (Pretoria), South Africa), troops from these countries have been proven to have a lack of discipline because they are poorly supervised and as a direct result have committed grievous Human Rights abuses. Some of these documented cases have
surprisedly come from troops originating out of Italy, Belgium, and Canada while in the role as peacekeeper for the UN. “At the very least, allegations of serious atrocities committed by peacekeepers date back to the time of the UN peacekeeping mission to Somalia in 1997. Canadian, Belgian and Italian peacekeeping troops were alleged to have been involved in atrocities. For example, certain Italian peacekeepers were alleged to have pinned a man to the ground and shocked his genitals with wires from a radio generator, whilst other Italian troops were alleged to have bound a woman to an armoured truck and raped her with a flare gun. Belgian peacekeepers were alleged to have roasted a boy over an open fire until his clothes caught alight. Canadian soldiers were alleged to have conducted a 'turkey shoot' by setting out food and water to act as 'bait' to lure hungry Somalis into shooting range. They were also alleged to have beaten a 16-year old Somali boy to death after raping him with a baton. In most of these cases, it was reported that there was 'hard evidence' in the form of photographs taken of the incidents by the offending peacekeepers themselves. Some of the soldiers involved were charged by the military authorities of their countries of origin, and some received short sentences of imprisonment.” (Max Du Plessis and Stephen Pete, 2006).
It should also be noted that UN Peacekeepers from the AU (African Union) under the auspices of the UN have committed grave human abuses as well. “7,000 man African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur under investigation for raping and abusing local women and girls Refugees forced to endure rape at border crossings as “price of passage” Guards rape women or force them into sex in return for protection from bandits or for basic goods, including food Presence of abusive guards inside camps, and bandits just outside, makes simple tasks such as going to the latrine or gathering water or firewood dangerous/life threatening.”(Martin Donohoe, 2008). Therefore, the UN always hits a wall in trying to obtain quality Command Structures from its wealthier member nations such as the US and the EU. Its member nations are somewhat reluctant to commit both their troops and top leadership under an international command structure because they fear that such an organization would trump their sovereignty and decision-making abilities in regards to their military. It is quite evident that the biggest obstacle for the deploying of troops on behalf of the United Nations comes from the United States.
“Lately, however, the military's role has been significantly altered to include a new category of national responsibility, that of protecting the undefined "vital interests of the United States." That phrase is broad enough to cover just about anything a President might want. And recent Presidents have employed this very phrase to justify dispatching troops to the far
corners of the earth and to use them to enforce resolutions of the United Nations. This is dangerously wrong. The U.S. military was not created to be a mercenary force for sale to the highest bidder. It is not supposed to act as a worldwide service club performing good deeds around the globe. And no President has the legitimate authority to make our armed forces available to a world government. The U.S. military is a taxpayer- supported force whose role is limited by the Constitution of the United States to the defense of the lives and property of our people and the independence of our nation.” (John F. McManus, 1995). In recent years, the UN Peacekeeping role has taken on different dimensions of peacekeeping. An emphasis has been placed on civilian sector security to guard noncombatants from become fatalities of war, genocide, and flagrant human rights abuses such as rape or torture. The UN’s inability to successfully broker a ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Rebels is a textbook example of thousands of civilians caught in the crossfire that were maimed and killed. “In the past decade, security has emerged as a vital component of national and international policy in conflict-affected societies. The end of the Cold War had a tremendous impact on the concepts of governance, democracy and security. This is partly because the threat of a world war, conventional or nuclear, was greatly reduced and broad issues of human security, particularly democracy, became the new focus. As the limitations of military-based security arrangements become more evident, it underscored the need for new approaches to security that avoid the conflicts of the past between the security interests of states and the security interests of their populations. These developments have resulted in growing recognition of the need for the international
community to address the twin imperatives of security and development through more integrated policies and programmes (A survey of security sector system reform and donor policy 2003). This has also given rise to a range of new normative developments, policy initiatives and operational programmes which are aimed at preventing and resolving violent conflicts, consolidating peace following war, and facilitating reconstruction so as to avoid renewed violence. The security sector reform (SSR) agenda is largely rooted in the search for solutions to the challenges faced by multilateral and bilateral donors concerned with development and peace consolidation in the aftermath of the cold war.” (Medhane Tadesse, May 2007). The spectrum of peacekeeping of the United Nations is often a daunting task. Over the years, the emphasis has shifted from general peacekeeping to a multi-prong approach which encompasses elements of peacekeeping, nation-building, and economic development. The UN’s experiences in the past have taught it a very valuable lesson in terms of how it approaches fragile nation22s that can quickly disintegrate into a failed state status due to the volatility of the country. Often the UN integrates its overall operational structures repairing the inner workings of a failed state such as Somalia with that of regional nations in the same generalized area, NGO’s, and IGO’s such as the African Union. “Statebuilding, however, raises its own set of challenges. As mandates and time-frames of postconflict missions expanded to accommodate the requirements of institution-building, the problematic aspects of externally-assisted statebuilding became more apparent-and troubling. To be sure, practitioners of statebuilding in the United Nations and other international organizations have been aware of many of these problems. Issues such as
coordination and coherence, local ownership, legitimacy, capacity-building, dependency, accountability, and exit are now commonly discussed in meetings of the UN Peacebuilding Commission and elsewhere. But each of these problems emerged from deeper tensions and contradictions that are less well understood: outside intervention occurs in order to create self-government; international control is required to affect local ownership; universal values clash with local peculiarities; long term goals may contravene short term imperatives; and peace may require both a break with the past and a reaffirmation of local history.” (Roland Paris and Timothy D. Sisk, November 2007). The West African Region countries of Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Liberia are prime examples of the challenges that the UN faces in pursuing an integrated approach in terms of statebuilding in the areas of sector security, reconstruction, reintegration, and economic development. Of the three, Ghana has been the most stable in terms of its democratic reforms and cohesion. Sierra Leone and Liberia have experienced in the past, the cycle of civil wars and ethnic conflict that is now engulfing the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This has been especially true in Liberia where its former leader Charles Taylor is now facing charges of Crimes against humanity in the custody of the ICC (International Criminal Court) because of the ethnic tinged atrocities committed by him and his cohorts while in power. Therefore, the main foundation that serves in the UN’s approach in terms of state-building is providing sector security to safeguard the problem when an emerging nation makes a transition from failed to fragile state. “Countries emerging from conflict pose of the greatest challenges for security sector reform due to weak state capacity and institutions, a diffusion of coercive power across competing groupings, and the resulting political bargains struck between powerful elites
at the expense of society at large. In such a hostile environment, reform tends to focus on the practical or proximate, including restructuring and training military and police forces, rather than on aspects of security sector governance. Thus, despite the growing inclusion of security sector reform as a core component of UN Security Council-mandated peace operations and bilateral engagement.” (Jack Sherman, March 2009). Indeed those countries such as Ghana that are able to overcome the hurdles of establishing and implementing sector security initiatives in concert with the United Nations are the ones most successful in stabilizing their societies in guarding against the scrooges of ethnic cleansing, genocide, torturing, and raping of non-combatants as in the case in the Darfur Region of the Sudan. “Nonetheless, in Ghana-where the contribution of parliament to a democratic and accountable security sector that is reflective of the needs of society at large has been sporadic-less progress has been made in increasing parliament’s oversight role that might have been expected. Thus early inclusion of parliament’s oversight role than might been expected. Thus early inclusion of parliamentary oversight is important, but immediate benefits may be less apparent. Indeed, a tragic irony is that the complete of the security architecture of the state (as in Liberia and Sierra Leone) provides a more permissive and enabling environment for SSR than non-conflict contexts (as in Ghana). (Jack Sherman). The success of the post-conflict building process by the UN depends not only on the cooperation of its stable member-nations, but also the continuous interaction with the NGO’s and IGO’s within the region. Processes such as immediate mediation and consultation are key cores to rapidly reintegrating a failed state into the sphere of the World Community.
Yet there are even situations where the ineffectiveness in bringing peace and stability to a particular country or region has prompted one of its member states to take matters into their own hands to rectify the situation. This is especially true when it comes to European countries intervening in the best interest of their former colonies, this includes the countries of Chad, Côte d'Ivoire by the French, the Congo by Belgium, and Sierra Leone by the British. Since I have been elaborating on the Sector Security of Sierra Leone, I will confine my analysis in this essay to that country. In my examination of the internal structures of Sierra Leone, one can readily agree that conditions have somewhat improved since the rebel movement in that nation was put down by the SAS detachment, Royal Marines, and various other British Military Advisors. The SAS operation against the West Side Boys (authorized by then Prime Minister Tony Blair) to rescue six British soldiers held as hostages was a prime example of the effectiveness of the British Military to bring stability in that war-torn country. “Although the Office of the UN Secretary-General strongly would prefer the British to join the UN operation, it is in no position to criticize Sierra Leone's former colonial power. While the largest UN peacekeeping mission in the world is shrinking, despite plans to expand the troops, Britain has been able to strengthen its presence in Sierra Leone. This week only, a taskforce of 500 Royal Marines arrived in Freetown to reinforce the British soldiers already training the Sierra Leonean military. Meanwhile, the UN is not able to recruit the 7,000 troops that are still missing in its operation, and the large Indian and Jordanian contingents are leaving Sierra Leone.
Thus, the UN is growing more dependent on the increasing British presence in Sierra Leone to achieve is goals. The British further are reported to be popular with most Sierra Leoneans, for their effective handling of the rebels and as there in general is little faith in the UN. British Government troops first intervened in Sierra Leone in May this year, after the capture of UNAMSIL troops by the RUF. British paratroopers in September raided a camp of the "West Side Boys" rebel group freeing six British military hostages and a Sierra Leonean soldier. This raid started what has led to the disintegration of the "West Side Boys". The British Ministry of Defence quickly dismissed the criticism by UN General Garba, saying "the aim of the exercise was to demonstrate Britain's ability to react quickly in the country if need arose," according to the BBC. Given Britain's key position in Sierra Leone, one cannot expect any public statements by UN officials protesting against this statement.” (Afrol.com, November 17, 2000). Based on documented eyewitness accounts, the ruthless actions of the RUF Rebels and the West Side Boys clearly demonstrated that they weren’t really revolutionaries at all, but instead a murdering band of thugs and criminals who routinely terrorized the population through indiscriminate killing and trading in conflict diamonds to buy boozes and drugs. It is quite apparent that conditions in Sierra Leone had quickly disintegrated in the country before the interdiction of British Troops into its former colony. The United Nations Peacekeeping Force failed to protect the citizens from the exploits of the West Side Boys and the RUF which included rape, murder, and forcing women and children to work as slave laborers. The British intervention in Sierra Leone was to prevent a repeat of
the failures in Rwanda due to inaction by the UN. The lack of response by the UN to the deteriorating situation in Rwanda, inadvertently led to the genocide and ethnic cleansing that killed millions in that country. Without the help of the British Military, there was a real possibility that conditions in Sierra Leone during that time period would have declined in the same general direction. Conditions have readily improved in terms of SSR (Strengthening Security Sector) in Sierra Leone since the rebellion was put down by both the government and British Troops. “The SSR program in Sierra Leone, which began in 1999 under the auspices of the United Kingdom, has been undertaken with considerable international involvement and national participation. Successes have included the reconceptualization of national security as people-centered, the inclusion of SSR as a pillar of the country’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, and decentralization of security architecture to focus on Peacebuilding. Shortly after its independence from the British in 1961, Sierra Leone enjoyed relative stability as a democratic state until 1967 when the elected government was overthrown by a military coup.”(Jack Sherman, March 2009). The question that needs to be asked regarding the situation in Sierra Leone is why was the UN Peacekeeping force so ineffective in helping to maintain stability in Sierra Leone? Why has it been ineffective in Darfur and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, whereas on the other hand, the French has been much successful in helping to keep order in its former colonies of Chad and the Côte d’Ivoire? The answers to these questions is that the UN is steeped in corruption, overburden by a bloated bureaucracy, has inept leadership at the top, and is seriously underfunded.
“The UN needs many things. It needs to acquire intelligence-gathering capacities of its own, certainly, the better to anticipate and analyze crises. It needs to become more efficient at making and implementing decisions; it could slim down its overlapping committees and programs, rationalize its regulations, legislation, conferences, and spending. And it needs to be far more aware than it has been hitherto of incompetence and corruption. As Kofi Annan himself has acknowledged, the UN management is "a problem...in need of reform." (Tony Judt, FEBRUARY 15, 2007). Even through the UN as an institution has made critical errors in the past (especially under the leadership of Kofi Annan); it still represents the best hope in acting as a counterbalance in an unstable world. “For all the UN’s faults, it is the best mechanism available. It cannot simply be condemned to the scrap heap in favour of a community of democracies. As attractive as such a proposal may be, it could never have the moral authority and legitimacy of the UN. It is the fact that membership of the UN is universal that makes it so valuable. In addition, there is no reason to suppose that an organisation made up exclusively of democracies would be more willing to address human rights abuses. The EU, for example, has been notoriously reluctant to take action against regimes which brutalise their own people, particularly when sanctions might jeopardise investments.” (John Bercow MP and Victoria Roberts). Therefore, the proper answer to Tony Judt’s question “Is the UN Doomed would be an indefinite no. What is needed though is a thorough house cleaning of the entrenched bureaucracy starting from the Top-down and bottom-up. Member states must take the lead in reforming and fixing the inner workings of the UN. Both the member states and the UN possess the talents from all walks of life to take on such a complex task.
Improving the governmental structure at the UN will takes years to resolve and straighten out. The question that should be asked is when will these reforms take and not if they will occur.
1. Walter O. Opello, Jr. and Stephen J. Rosow, the Nation-State and Global Order: A
Historical Introduction to Contemporary Politics, 2nd. Ed., (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1999), 124.
2. NAM (The Movement of Non-Aligned Countries), “Background Information
(International Context, Founders, Principles),” NAM, http://canada.cubanoal.cu/ingles/index.html (accessed August 29, 2009). 3. International Development Research Centre, “The Responsibility to Protect,” International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (Ottawa, ON: International Development Research Centre, 2001), xii.
4. Tony Judt, “Is the UN Doomed? New York Review of Books, VOLUME 54, NUMBER
2 (FEBRUARY 15, 2007).
5. Max Du Plessis, and Stephen Pete, “Who Guards the Guards; the International
Criminal Court and Serious Crimes Committed by Peacekeepers in Africa,” ISS Monograph Series, No. 121 (Tshwane (Pretoria), South Africa: Institute for Security Studies, 2006), 5.
6. Martin Donohoe, War, Rape, and Genocide: Never Again? PPT, (2008)
phsj.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/war-rape-and-genocide.ppt (accessed August 29, 2009).
7. John F. McManus, Changing Commands: The Betrayal of America’s Military,
(Appleton, WI: John Birch Society, 1995), 11. 8. Medhane Tadesse, “Overcoming Challenges for Security Sector Reform in the Horn of Africa,” in Challenges to Security Sector Reform in the Horn of Africa,
ed. Len Le Roux and Yemane Kidane, ISS Monograph Series, No. 135 (May 2007), 69. 9. Roland Paris and Timothy D. Sisk, “Managing Contradictions: The Inherent Dilemmas of Postwar Statebuilding,” Research Partnership on Postwar Statebuilding, International Peace Academy (November 2007), 3. 10. Jack Sherman, “Strengthening Security Sector Governance in West Africa,” Center on International Cooperation, New York University (March 2009), 7. 11. Ibid, 6. 12. Afrol.com, “British Troops Powerful Factor in Sierra Leone,” November 17, 2000, http://www.afrol.com/News/sil047_british_power.htm (accessed August 29, 2009). 13. Jack Sherman, “Strengthening Security Sector Governance in West Africa,” Center on International Cooperation, New York University (March 2009), 5.
15. John Bercow MP and Victoria Roberts, “Promote Freedom or Protect Oppressors:
The Choice at the UN Review Summit, the Foreign Policy Centre September 2005), 1.
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