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Peace Missions In The New World Order

Peace Missions In The New World Order

 

CSC 1993

 

SUBJECT AREA - National Military Strategy

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

Title: Peace Missions in the New World Order

 

Author: Major Jeffrey E. Fondaw, United States Marine Corps

 

Thesis: The U.S. currently stands poised on the brink of the "New World Order" facing

a series of entanglements, which for lack of a better term can be called "peace missions."

Without a clear conceptual basis for addressing these missions, which carefully examines

their requirements and the limitations of our capabilities, the U.S. will become vulnerable

to "global over-stretch" of our political, economic and military resources.

 

Background: Because of ambiguous terminology and the changing nature of the various

"peace missions" brought about by the end of the Cold War we do not have an adequate

understanding of the requirements and dangers of these missions. The dilemma brought

about by the "New World Order" is twofold; first, we are now free of Cold War restraints

on our use of military power while secondly, the doctrine previously so useful in governing

the use of U.S. military power is no longer valid. Compounding this dilemma, the "New

World Order" has also seen the emergence of numerous crises as a result of the end of

super power conflict. Both domestic and international pressures seem to compel U.S.

participation in missions we little understand and for which we have failed to develop an

adequate doctrine. The resulting situation leaves the U.S. vulnerable to global economic,

political and military overstretch.

 

Recommendations: To reduce our vulnerability the U.S. must approach each "peace

mission" as a unique situation, seek to understand the nature of that mission, and obtain a

clear focus on the prospective dangers of that mission.

 

OUTLINE

 

Thesis: We stand poised on the brink of this "New World Order" facing an unfamiliar

series of foreign entanglements, which for lack of a better term can be called "peace

missions." These "peace missions" are poorly understood, both for lack of a clear

definition and because their very nature has changed nature with the end of the Cold War.

Without a clear conceptual basis for addressing these missions, which carefully examines

their requirements and the limitations of our capabilities, the U.S. will become vulnerable

to "global over-stretch" of our political, economic, and military resources.

 

I. Nature of "Peace Missions"

A. Ambiguous terminology of the many "Peace Missions"

B. Changes brought about by the end of the Cold War

l. Reduced constraints on the use of U.S. military power

2. Emergence of numerous conflicts

 

II. Obsolescence of our current doctrine

A. National interests

l. Survival

2. Vital

3. Major

4. Peripheral

B. Weinberger Doctrine

C. Why our former doctrine is no longer valid in the "New World

Order"

 

III. Principles governing the future use of military forces for "Peace Missions"

A. Why should the U.S. become involved?

B. Is there a recognizable political objective?

C. What are the costs of the commitment of U.S. forces?

D. What type of force is best suited for "peace missions"?

E. What instruments of national power should be used?

F. What is the nature of the conflict?

G. Who is in charge?

 

 

Peace Missions in the New World Order

 

by Major Jeffrey E. Fondaw, USMC

 

Defense Secretary Les Aspin recently remarked that "this 'new world order' is a

 

little long on the 'new' and a little short on the 'order.' " Although meant as an amusing quip

 

this remark offers insight to the dilemma currently facing the U.S. We stand poised on the

 

brink of this "New World Order" facing an unfamiliar series of foreign entanglements,

 

which for lack of a better term can be called "peace missions." These "peace missions" are

 

poorly understood, both for lack of a clear definition and because their very nature has

 

changed nature with the end of the Cold War. Without a clear conceptual basis for

 

addressing these missions, which carefully examines their requirements and the limitations

 

of our capabilities, the U.S. will become vulnerable to "global over-stretch" of our political,

 

economic, and military resources.

 

The end of the Cold War and beginning of the "New World Order" has increased

 

dramatically the opportunity for U.S. military involvement in the whole range of "peace

 

missions." These missions, ranging from humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping, peace

 

enforcement, and into the realm of limited war, are seen as imminently more practicable

 

since the demise of the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, the concepts and definitions of these

 

various peace missions has not been adequately thought out, either from a military or a

 

diplomatic point of view, nor are they well understood by the American public.

 

Furthermore, the changing nature of these missions in light of the "New World Order" and

 

their proper correlation to our national interests has not been adequately analyzed.

 

While political pressure, both at home and abroad, continually cries out for U.S.

 

intervention in various conflicts and crises around the world, there are few existent and

 

valid doctrinal guidelines for U.S. participation in these operations. Without a doctrine

 

governing U.S. involvement we may be tempted to exercise our propensity for getting into

 

situations without satisfactory plans for when (and how) to get out.

Although no statistics are available it would not be too far-fetched to state that the

American public has an ill-defined understanding of the requirements of these "peace

missions." There is little wonder why, since the ambiguous nature and multiplicity of

terminology associated with these missions adds to this lack of understanding. Take peacekeeping for example. What is peacekeeping? How is it different from peacemaking,

peace enforcement, protected zone operations, cease fire supervision, conflict suppression,

etc.? Does peacekeeping include humanitarian assistance or protection of the delivery of

that assistance? Or are these missions something entirely different? Is our operation in

Somalia peacekeeping or simply humanitarian assistance?

The first reason for this confusion is clear, there seems to be no universally

recognized definition for the various peace missions. The U.S. military regards most

"peace missions" as one of the various forms of low intensity conflict that military forces

may be involved. The United States Army and Air Force publication on low intensity

conflict (FM 100-20/AFP 3-20) defines a peacekeeping operation as "military operations conducted with the consent of the belligerent parties to a conflict, to maintain a negotiated truce and to facilitate a diplomatic resolution." (3:1) The yet unpublished Joint Pub 3-07.3, titled JTTP for Peacekeeping Operations defines peacekeeping as "Efforts taken with the consent of the civil or military authorities of the belligerent parties in a conflict to maintain

a negotiated truce in support of diplomatic efforts to achieve and maintain peace." (4) The

UN would define a peacekeeping operation ". . .as an operation involving military personnel, but without enforcement powers, established by the United Nations to help maintain or

restore peace in areas of conflict." (11:3)

 

These three definitions, while not worded exactly the same, can be considered

 

closely akin. They all portray the essence of "peacekeeping" as requiring the consent of the

 

parties involved, without the least hint of forceful persuasion. Even this seeming

 

agreement on a definition can be misleading as noted in the book The Thin Blue Line:

 

Peacekeeping outside the United Nations has been made to mean whatever

those applying it have wished it to mean, from total suppressive action to

the use of minimum force in the control of violence. The degree of force is

really irrelevant, the operation in either case is of an enforcement nature in

which the degree of force used inevitably escalates in direct ratio to the

resistance encountered -- the greater the force the more determined the

resistance is likely to become....Whatever their character, these security

actions are inaccurately described as peacekeeping operations.(8:10)

[emphasis added]

 

Other "peace missions" are even less well defined. FM 100-20 describes

 

"peacemaking" as "a type of peacetime contingency operation intended to establish or

 

restore peace and order through the use of force" but makes no mention of "peace

 

enforcement." (3:Glossary 6) In contrast Joint Pub 3-07.3 defines peacemaking as the

 

"diplomatic process of arranging an end to disputes and solving their underlying causes." (4)

 

These two definitions would seem to have little in common. Joint Pub 3-07.3 continues,

 

however, to define "peace enforcement" as "military intervention to forcefully restore

 

peace between belligerents, who may be engaged in combat." (4) The reader may note the

 

similarities between this definition of "peace enforcement" and FM-l00's "peacemaking."

 

The second reason for the confusion surrounding the various peace missions is their

 

changing nature brought about by the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Soviet

 

Union. This change has profoundly affected our perception of these peace missions,

 

particularly that of peacekeeping. As previously defined this mission could be categorized

 

as the most benign and least aggressive of the "peace missions". The most unique trait of a

 

"peacekeeping" force is that it exists by mutual consent of the parties involved and that it is

 

entirely neutral. To maintain the peacekeeping role the peacekeeping force cannot take an

 

aggressive stance on behalf of either of the parties in conflict. Nor can a peacekeeping

 

force remain in an area if either of the parties in conflict demand their removal. Failure to

 

abide by these caveats results in a peacekeeping force no longer acting in a peacekeeping

 

role; the mission has changed to something entirely different.

 

With the arrival of the "New World Order" the term "peacekeeping" has become

 

ambiguous and no longer bounded by its former narrow boundaries. Its "practitioners

 

developed a narrow and precise definition of peacekeeping over time, but today the word is

 

misleading because it is used to describe the whole range of UN-authorized military

 

activity." (5:116) To understand why it is necessary to examine the development of this

 

mission within the UN.

 

Historically, the UN initiated the first post-World War II peacekeeping mission

 

when, in 1956, it sent the United Nations Emergency Force to take over the Suez Canal

 

area previously occupied by Anglo-French forces. (7:5) Any attempt to engage in a more

 

aggressive mission, such as enforcement, was usually thwarted by Cold War tensions. A

 

boycott of the Security Council by the Soviet Union was all that allowed the UN to

 

participate in perhaps what was its first and only attempt at peace enforcement with their

 

intervention into the Korean peninsula in 1950. In every situation since then disputes

 

within the UN have made attempts at peace enforcement futile. "Peacekeeping, therefore,

 

was an expedient of a divided Security Council that lacked the consensus for collective

 

action but could agree to use a less powerful instrument that would not impinge on the

 

superpower zero-sum game." (5:114)

Until 1989, peacekeeping by the UN had been characterized by the fact that "a

peace force could only deploy with the consent of all local parties in conflict, and

particularly of the host nation in which the force would be stationed." (5:114) With the end

of the Cold War this situation has changed. The UN has begun to expand its peacekeeping

role from its former narrow boundaries and is embarking on a whole host of what

Mackinlay and Chopra refer to as "second generation multinational operations." These

missions include Conventional Observer Missions, Traditional Peacekeeping, Preventative

Peacekeeping, Supervising a Cease-fire Between Irregular Forces, Assisting in the

Maintenance of Law and Order, Protecting the Delivery of Humanitarian Assistance, The

Guarantee of Rights of Passage, Sanctions, and Enforcement. (5:117) This change in

attitude and capability has been dramatically demonstrated by the UN actions during the

confrontation with Saddam Hussein, the recent decision to introduce military forces into

Somalia for protection of humanitarian relief deliveries, and the increasingly offensive

attitude of the UN toward Serbian aggression in Bosnia. Thus we are left with increasingly

ambiguous terminology in which traditional UN peacekeeping has now come to represent a

whole range of assorted "peace missions".

Unfortunately, the confusing terminology is the least of the problems to be

addressed by a new doctrine governing our participation in these "peace missions." Of a

far more critical nature is an examination of our former doctrine and a thorough

understanding of why it is no longer valid.

Prior to the end of the Cold War we had a well defined framework governing the

use of U.S. military force. The same Cold War restraints that hamstrung the peacekeeping

efforts of the UN also constrained unilateral or coalition efforts sponsored by the United

States. The antagonism between East and West colored almost every military action in

which the United States participated. Every disruption of the peace was viewed directly or

indirectly as the result of this conflict. Thus, our peacekeeping, peacemaking, or peace

enforcement efforts could easily be defined as an attempt to thwart the growth of

Communism. Success or failure could be measured by the success or failure of our efforts

to suppress this ideology. With this as the desired end-state, little thought need be given to

the actual problems which might have led to the unrest originally. This provided a much

clearer and neater solution than the situations which seem to confront us today.

 

The lessons of the Cold War, colored by our experiences in Korea, Vietnam, and

 

Lebanon, formed the conceptual basis for this framework. Two readily recognized

 

constituents of this framework are the concept of "national interests" and the doctrine

 

developed by former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, known as the Weinberger

 

Doctrine. These two doctrinal concepts operating within our foreign policy strategy of

 

containment of the Soviet Union, and under the constraints of the Cold War, seemed

 

sufficient until 1989.

 

During the Cold War U.S. military intervention was determined primarily by our

 

national interests, and by what was possible given the bi-polar nature of the world's political

 

environment. These national interests were normally divided into four classes: survival,

 

vital, major, and peripheral. Donald Nuechterlein in his book America Overcommitted

 

defines these interests as follows:

 

(1) Survival Interest - when there is an imminent, credible threat of

massive destruction to the homeland, where the very existence of the nation

is inperil. Survival interests require the immediate attention of the

President. (6:9)

 

(2) Vital Interest - where probable harm to the security and well-being

of the nation will result if strong measures are not taken within a short

period of time. Vital interests require urgent planning in the executive

branch. (6:9)

 

(3) Major Interests - where potential serious harm could come to the

nation if no action is taken to counter unfavorable trends abroad. These

interests require serious study. (6:10)

 

(4) Peripheral Interests - where little if any harm to the entire nation will

result if a wait and see policy is adopted. Peripheral interests require only

watchful waiting. (6:10)

The division between interests that are "major" and those that are "vital" is most

significant. "In the final analysis, a vital interest is at stake when an issue becomes so

important to a nation's well-being that its leadership will refuse to compromise beyond the

point that it considers to be tolerable."(6:11) Nuechterlein offers such examples as

President Truman's decision to defend South Korea in 1950 and President Kennedy's

confrontation with Khrushchev over missiles in Cuba in 1962. Thus, with a vital interest at

stake the use of military force is not only possible, it is probable. In comparison, "a major

interest is one that a country considers to be important but not crucial to its well-

being." (6:12) Major interests are those issues that can be negotiated with an adversary.

Negotiation and compromise, though painful, is more desirable than confrontation. With a

major interest at stake military force is not likely to become a possibility. (6:12)

Nuechterlein further elaborates:

 

In assessing the national interests of sovereign states, a crucial factor is

appreciating the difference between a vital interest and a major interest.

The policy implications of choosing between them are enormous because a

country must be prepared for an armed confrontation, if all other measures

fail when its leaders decide that the issue at stake is vital. (6:17) [emphasis

added]

The "New World Order has blurred the distinction between these interests,

increasing the likelihood that U.S. forces will be committed for less than a "vital" interest.

Such a situation has already occurred in Somalia. Prior to the end of the Cold War the

events in Somalia would probably have been considered only a "peripheral" interest with

no possibility of the commitment of U.S. forces. Indeed, with the likelihood of a

superpower confrontation as a worst case and a divided and uncooperative UN as a best

case, Somalia would most likely have remained a peripheral interest

The second and more recent concept governing the use of U.S. forces is found in

the "Weinberger Doctrine." This doctrine, first espoused by Secretary of Defense

Weinberger in 1984, lays out six maxims for the use of military force. These can be

condensed as follows:

 

(1) The United States should not commit forces overseas unless the

particular occasion is deemed vital to our national interest or that of our

allies. (14:8)

 

(2) If we decide to put combat troops into a given situation, we should

do so wholeheartedly, and with the clear intention of winning, (14:9)

 

(3) If we do decide to commit forces to combat overseas, we should

have clearly defined political and military objectives. And we should know

precisely how our forces can accomplish those clearly defined

objectives. (14:10)

 

(4) The relationship between our objectives and the forces we have

committed -- their size, composition and disposition -- must be continually

reassessed and adjusted if necessary. (14:10)

 

(5) Before the United states commits combat forces abroad, there must

be some reasonable assurance we will have the support of the American

people and their elected representatives in Congress. (14:10)

 

(6) The commitment of United States forces to combat should be a last

resort. (14:10)

By the foregoing argument it is readily apparent that the first of Weinberger's

maxims is no longer applicable. It seems we are now willing to commit U.S. troops for

"peace missions" which constitute interests of a less than vital nature. The third maxim is

also at risk due to the very nature of these "peace missions" to which our forces may now

be committed. These missions will rarely have clearly defined political and military

objectives.

The fifth maxim, rather than a restriction, may well become the driving force

behind the U.S. commitment of forces in these new and unfamiliar missions. If the case of

 

Somalia is applicable, it would seem that the opinion of both the public and our political

 

leaders, spurred on by the evening news, were the decisive issues governing commitment

 

of U.S. forces. Finally, Weinberger's sixth maxim would also seem to be invalidated by the

 

"New World Order," for how can commitment of U.S. forces be considered a "last resort"

 

if not in defense of a "vital" interest?

No longer does the specter of global superpower conflict hamper every movement

of the UN or of the United States. "The end of the cold war established new parameters

and removed many tensions that had limited the scope and application of

peacekeeping." (5:115) Unfortunately, while the end of the Cold War has removed many

restraints and made our involvement, and that of the UN, in "peace missions" easier, it has

at the same time made defining our role in those missions more difficult. To understand

how radically the nature of "peace missions" has changed we need only to examine the

report titled Changing Our Ways produced by the Carnegie Endowment for International

Peace. Peter Rodman in commenting on this report and its "new principle of international

relations" states:

 

that respect for a nations sovereignty was no longer justified if it was

violating human rights on a large scale, or in other cases of "humanitarian

crisis." The United States and the international community had not only a

right to intervene, but a duty. Thus, some of the same folks who resisted

the fight against Communist tyranny for three decades, warning against

intervention in the internal affairs of other states, now tell us we are morally

defective if we refrain. (9:20)[emphasis added]

 

Concurrently, the end of the Cold War has also removed many of the restraints

 

which had obscured or concealed conflicts deeply rooted in cultural, ethnic, and religious

 

hatred. With the result that new conflicts seem to emerge daily. Within the "New World

 

Order" it is not easy to determine who the bad guy is; indeed there may not be any "bad

 

guy." We are confronted daily with a seemingly endless variety of situations that may or

 

may not require American military involvement and cannot be clothed in our old

 

comfortable cloak of anti-communism. We have an American populace seeking quick

 

fixes to problems that appear nightly on their evening news. The evening presentations of

 

starving children, old people being bombed, "ethnic cleansing," and hordes of helpless

 

refugees cry out to our American sense of justice and compassion. Somalia, Sudan,

 

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kurdish independence, and unrest in the former Soviet Union, are

 

only some of the examples.

 

Faced with all this change the two doctrinal theories discussed above, which

 

formerly guided our application of military force, are perhaps no longer applicable, if not

 

altogether invalid in the "New World Order." This dilemma will not be solved by some

 

restrictive assortment of maxims which are all encompassing. It would be foolish to hope

 

for some simple set of rules to govern the use of military force by the world's only

 

remaining military superpower. In the first place only in a very stable political

 

environment, such as that which existed for over forty years after the Second World War,

 

would such a set of rules be relevant. In today's uncertain world, where the U.S. is often

 

envisioned as the sole actor able to exert influence in regional conflicts, no such doctrine is

 

useful. Foreign and domestic pressures would soon invalidate such a doctrine. Secondly,

 

every potential opportunity for global involvement is unique in its own respect. Attempts

 

to apply a universal code to all scenarios would be ineffective and perhaps dangerous. In

 

view of this, the list of questions which follows is meant only to act as a guide in the

 

formulation of future policy. This list is by no means exhaustive but should give any

 

politician something to think about before placing military forces on foreign soil.

 

 

1. Why should the U.S. become involved?

What interests, if any, are served by commitment of U.S. forces? Are there

survival, vital, major, or peripheral interests at stake? Although not a restricting factor

there should be a clear understanding of exactly what U.S. interest is being served by

commitment of forces. As in the case of Somalia this interest may only be humanitarian in

nature. Without an adequate understanding of our interest it will be difficult to determine

the acceptable costs.

 

 

2. Is there a recognizable political objective and military end state?

 

The political objective must be defined because it serves to frame the military

 

objectives, the costs the nation is willing to endure, and helps clarify the nature of war.

 

Clausewitz emphasized this point by stating "the political object-the original motive for the

 

war-will thus determine both the military objective to be reached and the amount of effort

 

it requires." (1:81)

 

Whether it be peacekeeping or peace enforcement or some other peace mission, we

 

must attempt to establish clear political objectives and determine a realistic military end

 

state which will accomplish those objectives. The following comment made by the House

 

of Representatives Subcommittee investigating the disaster in Beirut echos this concept:

 

There should be in the minds of policymakers a clear relationship between

objectives, the policies designed to reach those objectives, the plans

developed to implement the policies, the missions called for by those plans,

and the method used to carry out a mission. And the relationship should be

visible. (13:68)

 

Secondly, we must determine if this political objective and military end state are

 

achievable. Unfortunately, peace missions will rarely if ever have clearly discernible

 

military objectives. In Clausewitzian terms the more removed a military mission from that

 

of total war the less useful the political objective will be in determining an appropriate

 

military objective. Again, comments from the House of Representatives Subcommittee are

 

most pertinent:

 

Sustained deployment of American personnel in a situation of certain

further casualties is a grave, moral choice for policymakers: a choice in

which the Congress must ultimately share. Such a choice should be made

only if the policy objectives are visible, profoundly important and clearly

obtainable. (13 :69)[emphasis added]

 

 

3. What are the consequences and costs of our commitment of U.S. forces?

How long are we willing and able to remain militarily committed? And what costs

are we willing to bear for this commitment (both in lives and dollars)? In current doctrinal

thinking, peacekeeping, peace enforcement, and other peacetime contingencies are

considered to be Low Intensity Conflicts (LIC). Low intensity is a rather innocuous way of

saying "nasty little wars without clear military objectives which have tremendous potential

for long term commitment"

 

It would seem a given that the less definable the political objective and military end

 

state of a conflict the greater the propensity for long term involvement Dr. Sarkesian,

 

commenting on our participation in low intensity conflict, makes the following statement

 

which should be carefully considered by any political leader wishing to use military forces:

 

An American decision to engage in low intensity conflict must consider the

character of the conflict, its cost and consequences, the system's political-

military capability, and the conditions under which the United States will

(and can) withdraw. Once committed, U.S. forces are likely to become

enmeshed in a "no withdrawal without honor" situation. Continuing

commitment (and indeed incremental increases in that commitment) may be

rationalized in the name of achieving policy goals even after the conflict

has gone beyond reparability . (10:20)

 

Perhaps most importantly, are we willing to admit failure and withdraw once we

 

have exceeded our acceptable costs? American hubris and loss of political prestige must be

 

carefully considered for these are powerful instruments which have the ability to turn a

 

finite mistake of intervention into an unbounded military and diplomatic disaster.

 

Clausewitz when speaking on the subject of costs and proportionality emphasized that ends

 

and means must be proportional:

 

Since war is not an act of senseless violence but is controlled by its political

object, the value of this object must determine the sacrifices to be made for

it in magnitude and also in duration. Once the expenditure of effort

exceeds the value of the political object, the object must be renounced and

peace must follow. (1 :92)

 

We must also consider the lost opportunity costs by commitment of forces in one

 

situation vice somewhere else. Given a finite capability to project military power and a

 

finite ability to sustain this effort, is this particular situation of sufficient importance to

 

require intervention at the risk of being unable to engage in another region? U.S. resources

 

are not inexhaustible. Failure to discriminate in the use of U.S. power will either lead to

 

global over-stretch or an inability to act in a vital situation due to our over-commitment

 

elsewhere.

 

 

4. What type of force is best suited for this particular mission?

 

It is necessary to consider the type of force necessary to conduct "peace missions."

 

Particularly for ground troops these missions require an extremely different orientation

 

from conventional combat and might require specialized training. This is especially true for

 

missions nearer the peacekeeping end of the spectrum, where police skills would be more

 

valuable than combat skills. Perhaps even forces structured specifically to accomplish such

 

missions should be created; with the requisite civil affairs and nation building assets. To

 

emphasise this point we have to look no farther than our tragedy in Beirut. Paul Diehl in his

 

article "Avoiding Another Beirut Disaster: Strategies for the Deployment of U.S. Troops in

 

Peacekeeping Roles" comments on our lack of readiness, from a strict military point of

 

view, to perform peace missions:

 

American serviceman receive extensive military training, yet it is

insufficient, even counterproductive, in the conduct of peacekeeping

operations. Military instruction is predicated on offensive and defensive

tactics, with the goal of capturing or retaining a particular territorial area.

Military units are designed to affect the distribution of power in that area in

order to achieve the desired outcome. In contrast, peacekeeping has no

military mission; its primary purpose is not to engage in combat, but to

avoid and help prevent it if at all possible. Peacekeeping forces are also not

supposed to initiate military force. To the contrary, they must exercise

restraint in responding to any direct attack. Both these requirement run

counter to conventional military doctrine. (2:263)

 

 

5. What instruments of national power should be used and in what ratio?

 

This is a particularly critical question. Since the use of military force often has the

 

most visible results there is a temptation to rely too heavily on this instrument. They

 

represent an easy fix to the public impression the U.S. is doing nothing to solve a particular

 

problem. Too often military forces can become an end unto themselves rather than a part

 

of a complete diplomatic and economic solution. Unfortunately, in the long run military

 

force may not only be the less useful instrument, it may well be detrimental to the intended

 

object.

It is a fallacy to believe that the mere application of American military power, from

military advisors and armaments to actual troops on the ground, can create peace in a

country undergoing crisis. American military power cannot be used in a vacuum. The

most American military power can accomplish is to provide a short breathing spell for the

government in power to correct the problems that led up to the crisis.

One of the primary difficulties we face when seeking to aid a government

undergoing crisis is the fact that by the time we normally take notice of the seriousness of

the situation the problem has already reached a stage in which it is very hard to defeat.

 

The second difficulty we face is that intervention by the United States, or any third

 

party, often acts as a self-defeating mechanism. The very fact we have committed

 

ourselves to backing one side or other acts as a brake on the momentum that might create

 

change within that country. With a third party guaranteeing the status quo, what impetus is

 

there to correct the inadequacies which led to the crisis in the first place?

 

Third, our intervention is normally remarkable for the ignorance we display of local

 

religious, ethnic, and cultural problems which are often at the root of the problem.

 

 

6. Do we understand the nature of the conflict?

 

First and foremost the nature of the conflict must be determined. Clausewitz was

 

adamant in his statement that the policymaker and military commander must decide on the

 

nature of the conflict before embarking upon war. To Clausewitz this was the most

 

important decision to be made, for a faulty analysis of the nature of the war will make all

 

further strategy useless:

 

The first, the supreme, the most far reaching act of judgment that the

statesman and commander have to make is to establish by that test the kind

of war on which they are embarking; neither mistaking it for, nor trying to

turn it into, something that is alien to its nature. (1:88)

 

At the very least a thorough study of the historical, cultural and political

 

ramifications of the conflict should be done. This study should assist our determination of

 

the source and nature of the conflict. Does it stem from religious, ethnic, tribal, or political

 

reasons or perhaps a combination of these? Hopefully, this would help determine if there

 

is a rational hope for military involvement to improve the situation. This study would also

 

form part of the foundation for training a military force for operations within this conflict.

 

From the perspective of the United States the dangers of an inadequate

 

understanding of the nature of peace missions has been exemplified by our experience in

 

Lebanon in 1982-83. Was our participation in Lebanon peacekeeping or peacemaking or

 

something entirely different? Initially it was undoubtedly meant to be one of peacekeeping,

 

as defined within its narrow pre-Cold War boundaries. As such, the United States

 

contingent of the Multinational Force (USMF) was welcomed as a protector of the Shiite

 

population when it first arrived in September of 1982. (12:58) This changed when Muslim

 

and Druze factions interpreted USMF support of Lebanon Armed Forces (LAF) in early

 

1983 as an open threat and an abandonment of a strict peacekeeping role. (12:59) This was

 

reinforced by the use of U.S. naval gunfire in support of the LAF during the September

 

1983 fighting at Suq el-Gharb. (13:28) Thus, by September of 1983 the USMF was no

 

longer the impartial peacekeeper and had assumed a belligerent status in the eyes of the

 

LAF opposition.

While the nature of the mission changed the mission itself never did, leaving the

USMF unprotected for the threat that existed. (12:134) It should have been obvious that

the peacekeeping nature of our mission ended as soon as we took sides in the conflict. The

lack of an adequate understanding of this mission and the nature of the conflict, with all its

cultural, ethnic, and religious ramifications, led to disaster. For all its inadequacies as an

example of peacekeeping, it does provide a vivid example of what can go wrong, in this

case the deaths of over 241 U. S. military personnel.

 

 

7. Who is in charge?

 

Is this UN, U.S., or coalition effort? Is it important enough for the U.S. to bear

 

sole responsibility for this mission if no allies or UN assistance is available? Is the UN

 

willing to take the lead in the resolution of this conflict? If so, what are the conditions they

 

will impose and will these be acceptable within our own agenda? Finally, are we willing to

 

work with and under UN force structures or do we need to remain in control of the effort?

 

We have several models from which to draw conclusions of how a peace force

 

might operate. Unilaterally, under UN mandate, as a Multinational Force, as part of a

 

regional organization (such as OAS or NATO), or as part of an ad hoc UN force. Some

 

of these models can be found in our experience in Lebanon, Somalia, and the current

 

situation developing in Bosnia. None of these models offer a perfect example of how to

 

organize and control a "peace mission" for the very same reason there can be no simple

 

rules to govern our participation in them, each scenario is unique and must be examined on

 

its own merits.

 

Thus, we are faced with a dilemma. We have an increasingly uncertain world

 

where the use of U.S. military force seems ever more appealing. Peacekeeping, peace

 

enforcement, and other "peace missions" seem to offer an endless variety of opportunities

 

for the use of military force. All of these present an enticing invitation for the beneficial

 

application of U.S. power. But it is the seeming ease with which these peace missions can

 

be embarked upon in which the danger lies. The danger of becoming overwhelmed by

 

demands on the U.S. as the sole remaining superpower.

 

Compounding this danger is the fact that missions with "peace" somewhere in their

 

title seem benign and very appealing to a liberal America, especially to those without a clear

 

understanding of the inherent dangers of these missions. Just where does the responsibility

 

of the United States lie? Just as importantly, if the United States is compelled to participate

 

in these "peace missions," how can the military best prepare itself? The current inadequacy

 

of our doctrine governing the use of military force in the "New World Order" is obvious.

 

To circumvent this vulnerability the U.S. must approach each "peace mission" as a unique

 

situation, seek to understand the nature of that mission, and obtain a clear focus on the

 

prospective dangers of that mission. Failure to do so will lead to global economic, political,

 

and military over-stretch.

 

 

Bibliography

 

1. Clausewitz, Carl Von. On War. Ed. Michael Howard and Peter Paret. Princeton,

New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1976.

 

2. Diehl, Paul F. "Avoiding Another Beirut Disaster: Strategies for the Deployment of

U.S. Troops in Peacekeeping Roles." Conflict. Vol 8 1988: 261-270.

 

3. Headquarters Departments of the Army and the Air Force. Military Operations in

Low intensity Conflict. Washington, DC December 1990.

 

4. Joint Pub 3-07.3. JTTP for Peacekeeping Operations (Initial Draft). June 1991.

 

5. Mackinlay, John and Jarat Chopra. "Second Generation Multinational Operations."

The Washington Quarterly, Summer 1992:113-131.

 

6. Nuechterlein, D. E. America Overcommitted. Lexington, Kentucky: University

Press of Kentucky, 1985.

 

7. Rikhye, Indar Jit "Peacekeeping and Peacemaking." Peacekeeping Ed. Henry

Wiseman. New York: Pergamon Press, 1983.

 

8. Rikhye, Indar Jit, Michael Harbottle and Bjorn Egge. The Thin Blue Line. New

Haven: Yale UniversityPress, 1974.

 

9. Rodman, Peter W. "Intervention and Its Discontents." National Review Vol XLV,

NO. 6 March 29, 1993: 28-29.

 

10. Sarkesian Sam C. Dr. "Low Intensity Conflict: Concepts, Principles, and Policy

Guidelines." Low Intensity Conflict and Modern Technology. Ed. LtCol David J.

Dean, USAF. Maxwell Airforce Base Alabama: Air University Press, 1986.

 

11. United Nations. The Blue Helmets, A Review of United Nations Peace-Keeping.

New York: United Nations Publication 1985.

 

12. United States. DOD Commission on Beirut International Airport Terrorist Act,

October 23, 1983. Report of the DOD Commission on Beirut International Airport

Terrorist Act, October 23, 1983. Washington: GPO, 1983.

 

13. United States. Investigations Subcommittee of Committee on Armed Services,

House of Representatives. Adequacy of U.S. Marine Corps Security in Beirut.

Washington: GPO, 1983.

 

14. Weinberger, Caspar. "The uses of Military Power." Defense. January 1985: 2-11.

 



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