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The Will to Intervene (W2I) - Going Beyond Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

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Blackadder1916

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Infanteer said:
4.  Canada doesn't need a "Prevention Corps" - we already have one; the CF.  The PRT represents that fusion of government officials capable of operating in austere environments (or "JIMP capable forces operating in a WoG approach" for the buzzword groupies).  I haven't been part of a PRT, but I have worked at arms length with one, and they seem to be on the right road to getting the OGAs involved.
. . .

Journeyman said:
As mentioned, the CF is already a standing "Prevention Corps." So what's lacking, and what he's clearly smart enough, along with his W2I cohorts not to bring up, is the price-tag associated with the actual implementation of their pie-in-the-sky recommendations.

Perhaps it’s the use of the word “corps” in the report’s recommendation that generates such responses, but my take on the proposed “Prevention Corps” (besides it being a cheesy name) is that its function is nowhere similar to the capability offered by the CF.  While the PRTs may function well in Afghanistan, they are not there in a “preventive” or “fact-finding“ role as proposed in the report,  The PRTs are an “after the fact” operation, not a diplomatic mission.

From the W2I report. (italics are as per the report, all other highlighting mine)

2.3 BUILDING CAPACITY

A state’s capacity for the prevention of mass atrocities is comprised of its civilian and military capabilities. A shortage of either civilian or military capacity diminishes the political will for action. Civilian capacity consists of non-military measures available to a government to encourage positive state behavior through diplomacy, economic incentives, or other inducements.  Civilian capacity can also thwart negative state behavior through punitive measures such as travel and study bans,  economic sanctions, and the severing of diplomatic ties.  However, military capacity is also essential. It enables decision makers to complement soft power options with credible threats of hard power actions. In the absence of civilian capacity, governments are only left with two options: doing nothing or applying force hastily. A state possessing soft power has the credibility, legitimacy, and influence to affect international decisions without having to resort to the use of force.
. . .

part two: Policy Recommendations

W2I recommends that the Government of Canada establish a Canadian Prevention Corps

Resources and leadership are needed to operationalize civilian capacity and ensure that Canada contributes to international peace and security. The creation of a multidisciplinary civilian corps focused on preventing mass atrocities would represent a forward looking shift in Canadian policy.

Canada has a history of leadership on key international initiatives aimed at preventing mass atrocities and indiscriminate loss of civilian lives, including the Ottawa Treaty to Ban Landmines, the R2P report, and the Rome Treaty authorizing the creation of the International Criminal Court. While these Canadian-led initiatives are important, it is striking that so little has been done to increase Canada’s operational capacity to enable leadership in the prevention of mass atrocities.

“We have this huge ship of state now, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, that doesn’t turn fast enough whereas tiny countries like Norway, Finland, and Denmark have little ships adapting or reacting very quickly to crises.  We need to have teams of talent available to seize a crisis and make it our own, and have the will and the physical and monetary resources to do it.  But you need top people, and where are those?  Those top people are usually taken by top jobs and cannot be freed.”
– Raymond Chrétien, former Canadian Ambassador to the U.S.

Canada can make a significant contribution to global security by improving its permanent, standby capacity for preventive action. A Canadian Prevention Corps would enable the Government of Canada to deploy a team of dedicated civil servants from anywhere in the government.  The U.S. has moved in this direction with the creation of a Civilian Response Corps to support stabilization missions. The Canadian Prevention Corps would provide a critical mass of multidisciplinary experts to work with high-level special envoys for preventive diplomacy and fact-finding missions.  The corps should be civilian-led and operate under the aegis of the proposed International Security Minister; it should be drawn from the ranks of DFAIT, CIDA, Health Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Finance Canada, Justice Canada, Elections Canada, and the Department of National Defence. These experts would apply to join the corps on a full-time basis from their respective departments.  The corps should fall under
the responsibility of the proposed Coordinating Office for the Prevention of Mass Atrocities.

While I was far down the food chain in 1994 with regards to operations in Rwanda and thus have no first hand knowledge of the poor use of intelligence in the (government’s) decision making process, there were obvious gaps in the information available to us as we (very quickly) prepped and deployed OP PASSAGE.

It’s correcting this malfunction that I see as the primary role of any Prevention Corps.  While (members of) the CF are trained, equipped and willing to go into austere and dangerous regions to perform almost any task, there are certain limitations in the skill sets available in uniform.  Sometimes just wearing a uniform is a hindrance when dealing with certain individuals.  As (somewhat) noted lately in the “Africa” thread with regards to the “bungle in the jungle”, the appreciation was situated by the PM when he sent the army commander to Africa.  Similarly, if all “prevention” related activities were assumed to be the responsibilty of DND/CF then it almost automatically supposes that any solution has to have a military component (besides the waiting in the wings with a stick element that is necessary if a soft approach is to have any credibility).

One of the points that this report makes very clear was the inability or reluctance of individual government ministers, departments or agencies to accept ownership of the developing situation in Rwanda.  Though there is much in the report to which I can take exception, a central authority/agency (if not a separate ministry) either within DFAIT (maybe not the best) or answering to the PCO (probably better) could be the answer.  Just as the government has a military (with a specialist military staff) which can develop military approaches and solutions to an international problem, it makes sense to also have a specialist staff that can develop non-military approaches and solutions to the same problem.  While it should naturally be expected that such advice would be forthcoming from appropriate DFAIT officials, it appears to not always be so.
 

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Blackadder1916 said:
While I was far down the food chain in 1994 with regards to operations in Rwanda and thus have no first hand knowledge of the poor use of intelligence in the (government’s) decision making process, there were obvious gaps in the information available to us as we (very quickly) prepped and deployed OP PASSAGE.

It’s correcting this malfunction that I see as the primary role of any Prevention Corps.  While (members of) the CF are trained, equipped and willing to go into austere and dangerous regions to perform almost any task, there are certain limitations in the skill sets available in uniform.  Sometimes just wearing a uniform is a hindrance when dealing with certain individuals.  As (somewhat) noted lately in the “Africa” thread with regards to the “bungle in the jungle”, the appreciation was situated by the PM when he sent the army commander to Africa.  Similarly, if all “prevention” related activities were assumed to be the responsibilty of DND/CF then it almost automatically supposes that any solution has to have a military component (besides the waiting in the wings with a stick element that is necessary if a soft approach is to have any credibility).


This is one of the points that Daryl Copeland discusses in Guerrilla Diplomacy. He is convinced that traditional diplomacy - not just traditional Canadian diplomacy - is inadequate for the sort of intelligence gathering that can, usefully, warn of social and political crises. Rwanda, and the haphazard information gathering and processing by all Western nations prior to the crises that provoked the genocide, was one of his examples of the failures of traditional diplomacy.
 

Journeyman

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OK, lets try and be realistic before dismissing the CF as the fire-brigade of choice.

We provided a Strategic Advisory Team to the Afghan government. Why? Because DFAIT didn't have the people willing to get their hands dirty. Sure, they were more than happy to bitch about the military doing the task, but they weren't willing to belly up to the bar until forcefully shamed into it. They may have learned their lesson.

Recall that the whole impetus here is to "prevent genocide." What, prey tell, would Elections Canada have done to stop Pol Pot's Cambodian genocide? Anyone else having an inkling that this is all about the non-DND civil servants getting a little miffed at the military's growing clout? -- after all, the MND now gets to sit by the PM.  :eek:

As for staffing this "Corps" (ooh, how reminiscent of the US Peace Corps), "experts would apply to join the corps on a full-time basis from their respective departments." If you were a competent civil servant, even vaguely concerned with your career progression within your department, are you likely to volunteer to move to a line-serial where your job description is, "Wait. If a crisis unfolds, move; but until then, wait." Yep, they're likely to get the best and the brightest.  ::)

I'm sorry, but at the end of the day, the CF is the "Prevention Corps." Not everyone is a door-kicker. There is the DART, the CFJIRU, all kinds of deployable Construction Engineers.....plus people whose skill sets mesh pretty well with an ability to provide security for these folks -- and all the immediate strap-hangers...

.....until the necessary people from Elections Canada show up and take over, that is.



Edit: typo. I know, hard to believe  :-[
 

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Journeyman said:
OK, lets try and be realistic before dismissing the CF as the fire-brigade of choice.

We provided a Strategic Advisory Team to the Afghan government. Why? Because DFAIT didn't have the people willing to get their hands dirty. Sure, they were more than happy to bitch about the military doing the task, but they weren't willing to belly up to the bar until forcefully shamed into it. They may have learned their lesson.

Recall that the whole impetus here is to "prevent genocide." What, prey tell, would Elections Canada have done to stop Pol Pot's Cambodian genocide? Anyone else having an inkling that this is all about the non-DND civil servants getting a little miffed at the military's growing clout? -- after all, the MND now gets to sit by the PM.  :eek:

As for staffing this "Corps" (ooh, how reminiscent of the US Peace Corps), "experts would apply to join the corps on a full-time basis from their respective departments." If you were a competent civil servant, even vaguely concerned with your career progression within your department, are you likely to volunteer to move to a line-serial where your job description is, "Wait. If a crisis unfolds, move; but until then, wait." Yep, they're likely to get the best and the brightest.  ::)

I'm sorry, but at the end of the day, the CF is the "Prevention Corps." Not everyone is a door-kicker. There is the DART, the CFJIRU, all kinds of deployable Construction Engineers.....plus people whose skill sets mesh pretty well with an ability to provide security for these folks -- and all the immediate strap-hangers...

.....until the necessary people from Elections Canada show up and take over, that is.



Edit: typo. I know, hard to believe  :-[


There is a lot of that "return to Camelot" sort of thing in the W2I report. Some of it is not surprising given some of the members, many "came of age" in the '60s and still hold some of those views.

Returning to guerrilla diplomacy, one of the things about which Copeland warned his audience, with had many current and past Foreign Affairs folks in it, was not to wish for a return to some golden age or another but, rather, to focus on the world as it is and deal with that. (Note: I do not agree with his world view; I do not see global pandemics or climate change as threats, per se but, rather, as catalysts that give rise to strategic threats.)

I think the "Prevention Corps" exists, but in three parts:

1. The Early Warning  System- which is provided, mainly, by the foreign service (which includes CF attachés, for example) aided by NGO people who are, often, serving in hot spots;

2. The Soft Power Team – which exists, now, in governments (both in Canada and the USA) and whose work is, already, coordinated by e.g. the Privy Council Office. The decisions to take preventive actions – trade sanctions and the like, are already made there and they are already coordinated from there. The Privy Council already is the “coordination office” the W2I authors seek and there already are cabinet committees to coordinate policy. PCO can also coordinate some of the actions of the NGOs, civil society and the private sector, who are or can be important contributors to Soft Power.

3. The Hard Power Team – which is, of course, the CF.
 

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Old Sweat said:
It seems W2I has underwhelmed much of the media, who may have missed its import and implications. Senator Dallaire was interviewed for only a few minutes in the third quarter of "Question Period" yesterday. The Ottawa Citizen and the National Post had the story buried towards the rear of their first sections this morning, and I have not seen it discussed on the tube today. Having noted that, it could perhaps gain some momentum behind the scenes, especially if it was seen as having some political advantage. Maybe it is nothing more than an attempt to revive soft power, but it does provide an opporunity for internationalist busybodies to kick start their agenda.

Having said all that, the world doesn't need a published doctrine for the true believers to push their agenda. We probably stand a good chance of being pilloried in the media and perhaps taken to court over the oil sands, let along the seal hunt or the plight of the aboriginals.


It is, certainly, not getting the response the authors sought. It is being overshadowed by e.g. the UN Opening, including Canada's leadership in walking out on Ahmadinejad and the leadup to the opening of the G20. Maybe they misjudged the "news cycle."

Here is one report, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from the Foreign Policy web site:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/09/21/interview_lt_gen_senator_romeo_dallaire
Interview: Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire
The general who tried to stop the Rwandan genocide warns FP that the line has blurred between peacekeeping and counterinsurgency. It's a cautionary tale for the age of Afghanistan and Iraq. Are the world's militaries up to the task?

BY ELIZABETH DICKINSON | SEPTEMBER 21, 2009

There are few who can say they have been as close to stopping genocide as retired Lt. Gen Roméo Dallaire, the Canadian commander of the United Nations peacekeeping forces in Rwanda in 1994. Long before the killing began, Dallaire sounded a warning call. Then, he begged for reinforcements and a mandate to use force -- neither of which he got -- as his troops fatefully watched hundreds of thousands of Rwandans slaughtered. "You should spit in my face," says the character based on Dallaire in the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda. "[The West is] not going to stop the slaughter." The world did little then, and so in real life, Dallaire has spent much of his last decade and a half reminding the world not to let the same happen again.

Now more than ever, Dallaire tells Foreign Policy's Elizabeth Dickinson, such distant conflicts should strike world leaders as imminently close. Where unrest simmers, so does the possibility for terrorist havens, global pandemics, and massive human suffering. Preventing and abating those conflicts is not a matter of humanitarianism alone; it's a matter of realpolitik. In a world where no contagion stays local for long, Dallaire challenges leaders to weigh the consequences of conflict accordingly. That calls for a new kind of military force -- one that blurs the distinctions between traditional military efforts, counterinsurgency, and even peacekeeping. In short, there is no fine line between Rwanda and Afghanistan, only a plethora of civilian lives.

Foreign Policy: You're releasing a report today about galvanizing political will toward intervention in crisis situations. What's the secret to getting real action?

Roméo Dallaire: In this era, which began in the 1990s but is much more acute now, we are now significantly at risk -- in terms of our health and security -- from catastrophes that happen in foreign lands. We simply can't use the parameters of whether there is a moral reason for intervention; [this] has not worked. [Politicians] can bring [the reasons for intervention] a lot closer to home. The influence of catastrophic failure in these [troubled] states can reach your borders and your national security. In fact, the well-being of your nation is now linked to places that seemed far away before, [because] now, they are just next door. [The goal is to determine] how we can make the leaders much more aware of the fact that they are going to be held accountable [for responding to conflicts elsewhere], because there are people in their own countries who are going to ultimately suffer.

FP: What kind of response have you received from governments? Do you think that the administration of Barack Obama, in particular, is poised to step up in tough cases?

RD: Obama sees a global scenario in which all of humanity is interfacing. He acknowledges that some regions are putting the rest of humanity at risk. So we think that there's going to be a more interested reading, at least, of looking at intervention -- not only in a reactive way but in a preventative way. That's the "soft power" side -- international development, focusing on preventing failing states from actually going south.

It is my personal position that the NGO community, if it gets rid of some of the fringe gang and coalesces more and more, instead of being so interfighting at times, will become the voice of humanity with a massive impact on foreign policy and public opinion.

FP: Once you get to that point where prevention is no longer possible, when is it appropriate to intervene -- to send in peacekeepers?

RD: You're looking at a person who has seen, in 1994, all the ineptness of actually doing that [intervention]. All the wrong decisions were taken, right from the highest level, right from the start.

[We are] not skilled, we the military, the security, and the diplomatic [sectors], in the protection of civilians. It's not in the dogma yet; it's a side element. Leaders don't seem to be getting those tripwires, those red lines [that point to genocide]. [In Rwanda,] when the hate radio came online and got a license from the government, was that a tripwire?

In 2004 when I was at the Kennedy School and we looked at Darfur, I was on a forum, and I said, "We have got to deploy now 44,000 troops to Darfur, in order to protect civilians." There were chuckles in the crowd. I said, "Why is it that we can't put 44,000 troops in Darfur, when we put 67,000 in Yugoslavia? What's the difference? Is it because we're in Iraq and Afghanistan? We had millions [of troops] in Europe, protecting us." Africa used to be far away. But to North American youth [today], Africa is just a sophisticated bus ride away. I still take the plane with a shirt and tie. To them, getting to Accra, you get a direct flight, it's 400 bucks, and bingo, you're in Africa.

FP: It sounds like what you're talking about is almost a fundamental retooling of the world's militaries. What would that look like?

RD: The big players are still basing a lot of their security on the classic use of force. And in the last two decades, except for twice in Iraq or in Kuwait, we haven't been using the classic use of force. We're still learning how to handle Afghanistan -- we haven't got that thing solved. We're still trying to work out how humanitarians, the diplomats, the nation-builders, the security people, police, and military -- how are all of them working at the same time to bring about [peace] instead of blowing the place up and then throwing in a bunch to rebuild it.

There is a need for a new doctrinal basis and new structures for the protection of civilians. [It's about] using that force as part of your prevention tools. We're not going in guns blazing. There's a whole bunch of stuff that you can do before you use that force. But it's important to make sure that people know that as you're going through these stages, if it doesn't work, ultimately, we'll use the hammer. That makes [the use of force] much more powerful.

FP: Here in Washington, it seems like there is a perception that there are two realms of conflict out there: peacekeeping missions, for example in Darfur or Congo, and Afghanistan and Iraq, which are seen as "hard" military operations. Are we now seeing a blurring of the lines?

RD: We still have people who are "war fighters" and people who are peacekeepers, and they're trying to stay in those two areas. But now, [instead of just those two extreme types of conflict,] what you have is everything in between. [That calls for] a military that's far more adaptable to the different levels of use of force, within a context. Petraeus and his movement are the first signs of realizing this.

I was involved in the reform of the Canadian officer corps in the late 1990s where we said, "We've got to produce the leaders who know sociology, anthropology, [and] philosophy, so they can understand the complexity of the problem, and be able to participate with the other players in resolving of the conflict and diffusing of the conflict before you have to use your rifle."

FP: What's your diagnosis of some of the recent peacekeeping missions that have been criticized for ineffectiveness? Is their failure because they're under-resourced, understaffed, undermandated, or all of the above?

RD: The greatest deficiency in the capabilities comes from two levels: One level is mandate, and the maneuvering and watering down and limiting of mandates, even under Chapter 7. The other side is that developed countries are staying out. Those that sit around the Security Council in their veto positions -- they are staying out of the field. So there are just no capabilities in the field to implement the mandates as such. MONUC [the U.N. mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo] had the [mandate] to conduct far more offensive operations. But the troops they had, the equipment they had, the command and control they had simply could not meet that task. [The big powers are] still living in this sort of semi-isolationism -- they say, "That's a problem between those guys; we'll let it run its course and then we'll pick up pieces after." Well, sorry, in this era, that stuff moves, and it will affect us.

I recently was able to put a couple dollars aside to buy a diamond ring for my wife, which I never did. My work with child soldiers was such that I categorically insisted on a Canadian diamond, because I don't trust DeBeers. No matter with the Kimberly Process [to prevent conflict diamonds], there's just a smell out there. Well those things, more of our younger people are conscious of them. They read it, they see it, they know all about it. Politicians will be held accountable for allowing [atrocities] to happen.

Do we really need "new doctrinal basis" and a "retooling of the military" to address the "protection of civilians?" I though e.g. the Geneva Conventions, etc, and our own basic humanity and morality provide the "doctrinal basis" and that e.g. the Red Cross help with the work.

In saying, near the end, that one of the two biggest threats to peacekeeping is that the "developed countries are staying out" he is echoing the UN's own words on the topic. It is part of the myth that Afghanistan is, somehow, less a UN mission just because there are no baby-blue berets in the FOBs.
 

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I guess I am one of those conservative thinkers from the opening of the first article who think that we should base foreign policy on national interest. Even a small county bereft of much in the way of resources can do a lot when its genuine national interests are threatened. Defining national interest is difficult, but I offer that we will know it when we see it! If the effect of a story on the news is "Wow, that is terrible. What is that country called again?" then I would say that we are not in the realm of national interest. If the effect of a news story is "Holy Crap, we are screwed! or "Holy Crap, we really could be next!" then we are entering national interest.

I am very skeptical of doctrines and policies based on what we want to do rather than what we must do. That being said I respect doctrines implemented by states that run along the lines of "We consider everything that happens within this area as being our business and we do not appreciate anyone else interfering."

 

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Tango2Bravo said:
... I respect doctrines implemented by states that run along the lines of "We consider everything that happens within this area as being our business and we do not appreciate anyone else interfering."


Which is, pretty much, what China says, with "area" being defined as either:

• A geographic expression, such as Tibet or Xinjiang; or

• A function, such as civil rights.

 

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Journeyman said:
We provided a Strategic Advisory Team to the Afghan government. Why? Because DFAIT didn't have the people willing to get their hands dirty. Sure, they were more than happy to bitch about the military doing the task, but they weren't willing to belly up to the bar until forcefully shamed into it. They may have learned their lesson.

Has the CF?  Was the SAT our "best and brightest" or sometimes "our friends who we want to give a jammy go"?  Were they role models for the other CF members deployed, following the same rules, or would pers from KAF fight for a chance to visit the SAT to engage in fraternal toasts and other activities forbidden in KAF?

As for staffing this "Corps" (ooh, how reminiscent of the US Peace Corps), "experts would apply to join the corps on a full-time basis from their respective departments." If you were a competent civil servant, even vaguely concerned with your career progression within your department, are you likely to volunteer to move to a line-serial where your job description is, "Wait. If a crisis unfolds, move; but until then, wait." Yep, they're likely to get the best and the brightest.  ::)

Interestingly, I had the identical discussion yesterday - but about the CF and "jointness", and how, for a hard-charging Navy, Army or Air Force officer, joint time is time out-of-sight of your environoment, with PERs not crafted in the same manner, so you're written off as "not being one of ours".


The CF has many strengths, but must also be willing to engage in reflection to improve - boasting about "us vs them" does nothign to improve the institution.
 

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E.R. Campbell said:
Which is, pretty much, what China says, with "area" being defined as either:

• A geographic expression, such as Tibet or Xinjiang; or

• A function, such as civil rights.

Absolutely. This is no great insight, but I think that conflict arises when we get a Venn diagram of overlapping genuine national interests. If a foreign power wants to affect my human rights or those of a close ally then I will get worked about it. The people who devise policy doctrines in a vacuum should be ignored outside of their post-doctoral peer review circles.
 

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E.R. Campbell said:
This is one of the points that Daryl Copeland discusses in Guerrilla Diplomacy. He is convinced that traditional diplomacy - not just traditional Canadian diplomacy - is inadequate for the sort of intelligence gathering that can, usefully, warn of social and political crises. Rwanda, and the haphazard information gathering and processing by all Western nations prior to the crises that provoked the genocide, was one of his examples of the failures of traditional diplomacy.

Interestingly, Robert Kaplan also made this sort of observation in "The Ends of the Earth" (my copy is at home while I am staff on a DP3A course in Petawawa), saying in effect that Embassy staff are insulated from the real world they are working in by air conditioned limousines, fortified embassy compounds and working a social circuit of privilaged and elites from other embassies, the host nation and high priced NGO's.

Kaplan, on the other hand, was reporting based on walking through slums and taking busses, trains and the occasional transport truck through large areas of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. While finding people of Robert Kaplan's character might be difficult, our diplomacy and intelligence must be based on real world information from the ground, not the cocktail circuit. The British used to have long service officers (both military and diplomatic) who essentially went native, living and working in location for years at a time (and often marrying locals and raising families), we need to do something similar; kicking people out of the embassies and having them live on the economy in austere conditions in the places they are to report on.

Some NGO's do this, but they should be considered an auxilliary source of information at best, given their motives and goals might be different from what we see as the "national interest".
 

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Copeland agrees that
Thucydides said:
... Embassy staff are insulated from the real world they are working in by air conditioned limousines, fortified embassy compounds and working a social circuit of privilaged and elites from other embassies, the host nation and high priced NGO's ... [and they gather little useful intelligence, while] ... walking through slums and taking busses, trains and the occasional transport truck ...
is what Copeland says the effective guerrilla diplomat does and, in the process, becomes a primary source of real, useful intelligence for, e.g. W2I.

On that basis a reformed foreign service, staffed by "better' diplomats, and supported by military and NGO people, is the Early Warning/Intelligence gathering component of the "Prevention Corps" and since the CF is the Hard Power component then it doesn't seem necessary to add bureaucrats and complexity to coordinate the Soft Power bits.

The "Prevention Corps" is a bad idea.
 

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Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from today’s’ Ottawa Citizen, is an opinion piece that reflects some recognition of reality:

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/Shutting+down+killing+fields/2026752/story.html
Shutting down the killing fields

By Kate Heartfield, The Ottawa Citizen

September 24, 2009

A United Nations commander said last month that the war in Darfur is over. That doesn't mean that the crisis is over, of course: there are still three million refugees stuck in unimaginable conditions along one of the most dangerous borders on the planet.

But the time of widescale massacre does seem to be at an end. The failure to prevent or stop that massacre, the deaths of 300,000 people, belongs to history now.

All this despite at least five years of newspaper editorials and earnest efforts by many advocacy groups. Yes, it took a while for journalists to catch on, but by about 2004, they had. It's not that Canadians didn't care. They did care, and they were vocal about it.

Darfur was a relatively slow disaster -- unlike, say, Rwanda a decade before -- so there was still time, in 2004, to prevent many deaths. But governments responded to the pressure from their own constituents by doing as little about Darfur as they could. If there's one lesson we can take from the Darfur failure, it's that "awareness" isn't enough. That's a tough lesson for activists, and even for journalists, to learn.

As it turns out, it is next to useless for citizens to organize and make YouTube videos and hand out plastic bracelets and scream at their government to "do something about Darfur" -- or about any one conflict. By the time Darfur became a household word in Ottawa, the Canadian military had been diminished by years of neglect, and besides, there was Afghanistan to worry about. On the diplomacy and development side, Canada was equally weakened. And on the political side, of course, we've had dishrags for leaders of late.

When the next genocide begins, Canada won't be willing or able to do anything about it, and it won't matter how many newspaper editorials I write about it.

Unless, that is, Canada strengthens its capacity to act, and does it now, so that we'll be prepared when the next genocide does begin.

That's the conclusion of the Will to Intervene Project, developed in part by Senator Roméo Dallaire. The project got my attention because of the breadth of experience and ideology on its research steering committee: Anything that brought, among others, Tom Flanagan, Ed Broadbent, Allan Thompson, Maurice Baril, Hugh Segal, Robert Fowler and Bill Graham together had to result in something interesting, I figured.

The project released its report this week, and indeed it is interesting. The moral and even legal obligations to act against genocide, the report acknowledges, "have not carried sufficient weight to overwhelm the cold statecraft calculations that traditionally informed the national interest."

But governments have struggled to come to terms with one of the undeniable truths of our age: it is in every state's interest to stop massive movements of refugees, and piracy in shipping lanes, and terrorism. Tom Flanagan, one of the people who helped Stephen Harper become prime minister, pointed out in a recent op-ed in The Globe and Mail that both the left and the right recognize this, although they talk about it in different ways.

The Will to Intervene report makes the very practical point that it's a lot cheaper and easier to prevent genocide than to stop it: even something as small as funding independent radio stations, in a country like pre-1994 Rwanda (or Somalia or Afghanistan today) can change history.

It would be a lot easier to see genocides coming if Canada had more and better intelligence from the ground, and if its departments and agencies were better at sharing it. In 1992, Ed Broadbent visited Rwanda and returned with a warning about war crimes and genocide. He gave the information to External Affairs, but it seems not to have been shared with the Department of National Defence -- in any event, when Dallaire deployed to Rwanda in 1993, he didn't know the contents of the Broadbent report, and he had very little information about Rwanda in general.

Getting government departments to communicate better is a Sisyphean task. The Will to Intervene Project suggests a Minister of International Security, with responsibilities for defence, diplomacy and development, the idea being that a "whole of government" approach will ensure co-ordination and communication.

I remain to be convinced; there's reason to believe that the "whole of government" approach to Afghanistan has just slowed things down and made government less transparent. Much would depend on the person assigned to that cabinet position. As we've seen with officers of Parliament, a strong advocate can work wonders, but a weak one is worse than nothing.

The report also notes that we're still paying the price for the reduction of the Canadian Forces in the early 1990s.

Smart people on both sides of the political spectrum recognize that "soft power" and "hard power" aren't opposed; we need a lot more of both.

Kate Heartfield is a member of the Citizen's editorial board.[/u]
Blog: ottawacitizen.com/worldnextdoor .

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen



The “point” of W2I would have been much better made had it made a clarion call for improvements in what we have – the foreign service and, above all, our military - before in called for new ministers (essentially a US style National Security Advisor) and an poorly defined “Prevention Corps.”

I do not argue with Sen. Dallaire’s aim – no one I know wants to promote genocide or protect war criminals – but I think his tragic, personal story, which includes being betrayed by many of the organizations that paid him, leads him down the wrong path.

On the broader front, Ms. Heartfield is 100% correct when she says:

“... it is next to useless for citizens to organize and make YouTube videos and hand out plastic bracelets and scream at their government to "do something about Darfur" -- or about any one conflict. By the time Darfur became a household word in Ottawa, the Canadian military had been diminished by years of neglect, and besides, there was Afghanistan to worry about. On the diplomacy and development side, Canada was equally weakened ... When the next genocide begins, Canada won't be willing or able to do anything about it, and it won't matter how many newspaper editorials I write about it.”

That’s the reality; until our intelligence gathering, diplomatic and military capabilities have been rebuilt and expanded to reflect the dangerous state of the world and our ambitions in that more dangerous and complex world we are eunuchs. Canadians had better get used to that fact.
 

Edward Campbell

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A pair of unreconstructed Trudeau era Liberals, Pink Lloyd Axworthy and Alan Rock, weight in on how the UN might (in all likelihood might not) advance the ‘doctrine’ of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in this article, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/the-unfulfilled-promise-of-un-protection/article1709144/
The unfulfilled promise of UN protection
The R2P doctrine needs tools and decisiveness to be effective in preventing mass violence

Lloyd Axworthy and Allan Rock

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

Five years ago this week, with the horrors of Rwanda and Srebrenica still vivid in memory, the members of the United Nations vowed to take collective action, including military force if necessary, to prevent or stop mass violence within a state when the national government is unable or unwilling to do so.
The UN’s unanimous endorsement of the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) changed forever the Westphalian model of state sovereignty. For the first time, an exception was made to the UN Charter’s prohibition against international involvement in members’ domestic jurisdiction. Lawful external action may now interfere with the conduct of sovereign rulers within their own states, albeit in obvious cases when they are killing their own people en masse.

As former political practitioners who respectively played a role in the conception of R2P (through the establishment of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty) and then its adoption (by leading the Canadian advocacy and negotiation efforts at the 2005 UN World Summit in New York), we find after five years reason for both encouragement and disappointment.

On the positive side, R2P is increasingly secure as an emerging norm of international conduct. It has been reaffirmed by the UN Security Council in responding to protection issues. The Secretary-General has created in-house mechanisms to institutionalize it. Best of all, a 2009 debate in the General Assembly that might have risked a repeal turned instead into an overwhelming confirmation of its value.

On the other hand, R2P has failed to fulfill its promise in places such as Darfur and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Theoretical advances are of no comfort to defenceless civilians savaged by lawless militias or wicked regimes. Even R2P’s most ardent advocates have asked whether anything has really changed. Why didn’t this breakthrough save civilian populations whose own governments were unable or unwilling to protect them?

We suggest that there are two related issues to be addressed before R2P can move fully from paper to practice.

First, resort to R2P has been timid and halting. In Darfur, it should have been the fulcrum to leverage wider condemnation of the Khartoum regime. Early and vigorous shunning might have halted the state-sponsored violence. In the Congo, the sexual devastation of vast numbers of women by roving criminals is an atrocity needing an international response because the national government is incapable of protecting them. In such clear cases, we should lose our shyness about invoking R2P. Timely and concerted action – even well short of military intervention (the very last resort) – can save lives.

Second, the R2P “toolbox” must be filled with items needed to make the concept operational. The early-warning system agreed to in 2005 has yet to be put in place. R2P still lacks a gender dimension for the protection of women and girls, demonstrated dramatically by the systematic rape of hundreds of females in the Congo this summer and the abject failure of UN peacekeepers to protect them.

Other items of unfinished business include:

• A wider range of targeted sanctions with maximum impact on a rogue regime. More creative thought is needed to develop population-friendly, regime-punishing, pressure-producing, readily enforceable and truly effective sanctions.

• Trained mediators for early deployment to ensure that violence doesn’t spiral into mass atrocity. Kofi Annan’s intervention in Kenya is a textbook example of R2P at work, preventing the post-election violence from becoming an all-out ethnic bloodbath. Our capacity for such activist diplomacy must be built up.

• A standing rapid-response force with specialized training and equipment, so that protection is only a few hours away when the Security Council authorizes protection. The current practice of cobbling a force together from many contributing countries takes months and produces an unco-ordinated team with uneven preparation.

Above all, R2P needs a champion, a role that Canada once played. If we win election to the Security Council next month, our country should rediscover this important cause.

In 2007, Sir Martin Gilbert, a historian and Winston Churchill’s official biographer, asserted in these pages: “Since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, non-interference in the internal policies even of the most repressive governments was the golden rule of international diplomacy. The Canadian-sponsored concept of ‘responsibility to protect’ proposed the most significant adjustment to national sovereignty in 360 years.”

By advocating R2P in appropriate cases and fashioning tools to make it effective, Canada can ensure that humanity makes the most of this historic breakthrough.

Lloyd Axworthy is president of the University of Winnipeg and a former Canadian foreign minister. Allan Rock is president of the University of Ottawa and a former special adviser to the United Nations on Sri Lanka.

Axworthy and Rock are correct in saying that ”R2P has failed to fulfill its promise in places such as Darfur and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Theoretical advances are of no comfort to defenceless civilians savaged by lawless militias or wicked regimes.” R2P failed and continues to fail for the very reason Sir Martin Gilbert described it as ”the most significant adjustment to national sovereignty in 360 years.” It invites chaos. The Peace of Westphalia established an often ugly and sometimes brutal, but ultimately stable, regime for international law and relationships – R2P aims to remove the stability without offering any effective ways to combat the brutality.

The Axworthy/Rock ‘shopping list’ is heavy on diplomacy and good will and light on force. It calls for a ”standing rapid-response force with specialized training and equipment, so that protection is only a few hours away.” I wonder if either of these worthy gentlemen has any idea at all about what they are seeking. A “standing force” with that level of “reaction” (hours) would be very large – imagine how many people you need to keep, say – just for argument – a combat capable light infantry battle group on, say – again just for argument, 12 hours notice to move. My guess is that you need, at least, five fully staffed, fully equipped battle groups (indeed overstaffed and over equipped to take account of in garrison ‘casualties’ (broken equipment, soldiers with tooth aches, etc) which must be ‘rotated’ out of the rapid reaction force every six months or so. Getting five rapid reaction battle groups in the ‘rotation’ therefore requires about 15 battle groups – a fully formed light infantry division. Further, these must be sophisticated, ‘capable’ troops, supported by ‘at priority call’ heavy lift transport and tactical air support.

How many countries in the world can ‘afford’ such a force? My guess: three.

How many countries would be willing to assign such forces to UN command? My guess: zero.

My further guess is that Axworthy and Rock were put up to floating this nonsense by their Liberal fan club that still wants a Nobel Prize for Pink Lloyd.
 

Old Sweat

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These two distinguished Canadians have once again demonstrated their dubious grasp of the realities of the world. Who makes the decision to intervene in a sovereign nation? The Security Council? Its record is not good, especially when one or more of the permanent members stands to end up with egg on its face, or it is against its national interest to have an intervention occur. Even if a deal could be cobbled together, by the time it is structured, the situation will in all probability have gotten much, much worse.

Are they proposing a world super government that could act unilaterally with forces permanently assigned? That idea may have appeal inside the UN bureaucracy, but I submit it won't fly anywhere else outside of academia.

Now, if a decision could be made, as Edward noticed, there are very few nations that have the capability to mount an intervention on short notice and in the numbers required to be decisive. And if the budgetary woes are any indication, that number may shrink, or at least their physical ability to do may. So we fall back on the old standby of poorly trained troops of the correct racial mix to assure a suitable level of comfort for the part of the world that is tumbling into chaos. And that probably excludes the few powers that would have the capability to intervene in a timely and effective manner.

Methinks the Globe should have had its ad sales force work harder to fill the page, so the public would have been spared this piece of Grade 11 geopolitics.
 

OldSolduer

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If I may go off on a bit of a tangent, I would like to tilt at this particular windmill: "Honour " Killings.

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-the-crimewave-that-shames-the-world-2072201.html

The author (Robert Fisk) of a series of articles on "Honour" killings paints a very dark picture, and I'm sure that the esteemed persons on this site have noticed the upsurge of such "honour" killings here.

 

ArmyRick

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Alot of interesting read here and as well, it will take some serious muling over whats here (A truly good answer can't always be the first thought that comes to mind).

The case about useless gestures such as handing out bracelets and holding protest is a good point. Some times, it takes real will power and resolve to deal with a situation.
 

OldSolduer

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ArmyRick said:
Alot of interesting read here and as well, it will take some serious muling over whats here (A truly good answer can't always be the first thought that comes to mind).

The case about useless gestures such as handing out bracelets and holding protest is a good point. Some times, it takes real will power and resolve to deal with a situation.

My first thought when I read this is not printable.
 

Danjanou

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Journeyman said:
.....As mentioned, the CF is already a standing "Prevention Corps." So what's lacking, and what he's clearly smart enough, along with his W2I cohorts not to bring up, is the price-tag associated with the actual implementation of their pie-in-the-sky recommendations.

And that, my good idealists, is disingenuous

Especially when said "price tag" is not just a monetary one, or to put it another way refer to Infanteers posted photos above.
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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This whole plan scares me.

This is pure political gamesmanship playing with the whole planet. Lets not delude ourselves: Just look at the true final end - getting the US to embark on such venture by telling it that "if you go along to put pressure on the rest of the world, or go alone, we'll stand with you".

Sure the lack of will to intervene by major countries has, for all practical purpose, emasculated any application of the "feel good" apparent embrace of R2P by the United Nations,. However, I think that by and large emasculation is better than the suspicions and quarrels between the major powers that would arise if they even remotely perceived any such development in the US as a will on its part to become the "global cop" that the American Neocon have envisaged for the US: intervention anytime anywhere to "enforce" American views/values/security.

I do not think that the authors of this report believe that the US would ever agree to what they propose, so they see no risk in proposing this "feel good" document so they can show that "we, in Canada really believe in applying R2P". Unfortunately, existing documents like that tend to gather dust only until someone, somewhere needs "justification" to take the political action of its own choosing. So you never know what they end up creating in the end.

Just MHO.
 

Brad Sallows

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R2P is basically a "sure; go ahead - if you want to" doctrine.

The thought of the UN organizing military and civilian agencies to protect women against exploitation is laughable, until it cleans its own house.
 
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