Peace Missions In The New World Order

CSC 1993

SUBJECT AREA - National Military Strategy


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the use of U.S. military power is no longer valid.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.


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


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: