Johanna Mendelson Forman https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/1178/all/globalization-UN/article_2246.jsp cached version 08/02/2019 18:36:59 en Beyond the middle class military coup https://www.opendemocracy.net/johanna-mendelson-forman-louis-w-goodman/beyond-middle-class-military-coup <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The situation in Egypt today rekindles the debate about middle class military coups in the 1960s and 1970s. Lessons must be learned from Latin America's experience of moving the military into the government.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Egypt today recalls Latin America of the 1960s and 1970s when the “middle class military coup” was a vehicle of political change.&nbsp;&nbsp;Jose Nun, the Argentine scholar who coined the term in 1967, argued that sectors of an embattled middle class aspiring for economic betterment could abandon democratic politics if they feared that it posed a threat to their own economic well-being.</p> <p>Latin American middle class military coups occurred in the 1960s and 1970s in countries including Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Chile.&nbsp;&nbsp;Leftist governments were overthrown, often at the high price of ending elected regimes.&nbsp;&nbsp;The result was decades of military rule. The civilian instigators often got more than they wished for–loss of civil liberties, authoritarian government, and economic mismanagement.&nbsp;&nbsp;The policies of these military governments resulted in the economic stagnation of Latin America for most of the 20th century. The militaries themselves, having failed in politics and economics, found their own institutions discredited and divided by their forays into government.&nbsp;&nbsp;United States administrations supported those regimes at the time, arguing that they provided political stability and international support during the Cold War.</p> <p>The choice in Egypt today rekindles the debate about middle class military coups.&nbsp;&nbsp;The Egyptian military, which has stepped back into politics by deposing President Morsi, is different from the Latin American armed forces which took power half a century ago. They have more to lose–they are much more connected to the Egyptian economy–but they also know that armed interventions elsewhere damaged capacity for good governance, and discredited military institutions.&nbsp;&nbsp;That is why, ten months ago the Egyptian military allowed itself to leave power in a process punctuated by throngs of protesters gathering in Tahrir Square to oust the transitional government that the armed forces had installed after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.&nbsp;&nbsp;It is also why they stated in removing the Morsi government that their “political road map” will not involve long-term military rule.</p> <p>The aspiring middle class Egyptians who have again gone to the streets are taking a huge risk.&nbsp;&nbsp;Egyptian politics are indeed complicated and institutions are not in place that will quickly produce a clear path to economic and political improvement.&nbsp;&nbsp;Ten months after their “political spring,” Egyptians are suffering.&nbsp;&nbsp;Their economy is in shambles, citizens feel vulnerable on the streets, and women have become targets of increasing indiscriminate violence.&nbsp;&nbsp;Yet they are still willing to stand up to a government they now believe is not fulfilling the promises it made when it was elected.&nbsp;&nbsp;So change must happen, but how?</p> <p>These Egyptian protests are one of a set of remarkable social movements unfolding across the globe.&nbsp;These movements all share a common agenda–giving voice to emerging and aspiring middle class citizens who find themselves stuck by political and economic institutions that are neither competent nor inclusive.&nbsp;Whether it is Turkey, Brazil, or Egypt, these protesters are seeking to reverse the failure of states to provide people with opportunity–jobs, access to education, health care, and justice.&nbsp;&nbsp;The trouble with reversing decades of bad government is that it does not happen overnight.&nbsp;&nbsp;It will take patience and creativity within Egypt and beyond.&nbsp;&nbsp;Other nations like the United States have much to gain from the success of this movement–both in terms of regional and global security and from the benefits of increased trade.</p> <p>In Latin America it took thirty years to recover from the bad decisions to move the military into the government.&nbsp;&nbsp;In this age of instant connectivity and globalized economics, people on the streets in Egypt and their allies around the world will have difficulty sustaining the patience to wait for the correction of a bad decision.&nbsp;&nbsp;The worst outcome could be an impatient Egyptian military isolating that important country from democracies around the world</p> <p>Over the last two years the US government has taken a careful approach to the events in Egypt.&nbsp;&nbsp;It is time to support as clearly as possible the emerging democratic aspirations of so many young (and old) Egyptians.&nbsp;&nbsp;Assistance programs must be reconfigured from building infrastructure and largely providing military aid to serious large scale support for education, health, and political institution building.</p> <p>In the 1990s the US government spent billions of foreign assistance dollars to help support emerging democratic institutions in Latin America and elsewhere.&nbsp;&nbsp;From election commissions, to training civilians about security, to helping organize judicial systems, the U.S. was there. European and East Asian countries were also involved with such assistance. The result is that Latin America, overall, has emerged as a region that is showing strong signs that many of its countries can strengthen their own political institutions and can prosper and grow through engagement with the global economy.</p> <p>While the United States is not the only nation which should provide assistance, it urgently needs to shape its policies to put greater stress on helping citizens gain confidence and build institutions that help fulfill hopes of more open, inclusive, and tolerant societies.&nbsp;&nbsp;At the same time, there is a need to scale down prudently the decades-long assistance provided to the region’s armed forces.&nbsp;&nbsp;The United States has the tools.&nbsp;&nbsp;It should use them wisely to demonstrate that it has learned from mistaken support for middle class military coups in Latin America forty years ago and from the successes of later support for open civilian politics there.</p> democracy & power middle east latin america Louis W Goodman Johanna Mendelson Forman Mon, 08 Jul 2013 15:12:23 +0000 Johanna Mendelson Forman and Louis W Goodman 73885 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Haiti beyond failure: ingredients of change https://www.opendemocracy.net/johanna-mendelson-forman/haiti-beyond-failure-ingredients-of-change <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> A year after the earthquake in Haiti, the tasks of reconstruction remain vast. A shadowy election and blocked political process reinforce the sense of drift. Yet a coherent international effort can still make a real difference, says Johanna Mendelson Forman. </div> </div> </div> <p>A year after the earthquake that devastated Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince on 12 January 2010 and <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8510900.stm">killed</a> as many as 300,000 people, the country remains in crisis.&nbsp;An election to select the country’s next leader has gone awry, with no clear winner and a contested vote. A cholera epidemic has <a href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hAU1yn4wO2WcE5B5Mg7i87js4hOg?docId=f98e143afc8243febc75d19846bf9b9e">raged</a> through both urban and rural Haiti, affected over 200,000 people and caused almost 4,000 deaths.&nbsp;Cholera is the ultimate disease of poverty, a testament to the lack of any sanitation system or access to potable water.</p><p>Port-au-Prince today more resembles an apocalyptic scene from Cormac McCarthy’s <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/andrew-dobson/fiction-of-climate-change">novel</a> <em>The Road</em> than any romantic-touristic image of a Caribbean isle. The Haitian-American author <a href="http://www.macfound.org/site/c.lkLXJ8MQKrH/b.5458007/k.8D4C/Edwidge_Danticat.htm">Edwige Danticat </a>eloquently evokes the image of the national palace’s “gorgeous white domes either tipped over or caved in” as “the biggest symbol of the Haitian government’s monumental loss of human and structural capital”, and - in a reference to the devastation of the Basque city in 1936 during Spain’s civil war, immortalised by Pablo Picasso’s painting - describes the earthquake of 2010 as “our Guernica”.</p><p><a href="http://go.hrw.com/atlas/norm_htm/haiti.htm">Haiti</a> is neither a typical Caribbean country (if such a thing exists) nor a place for the faint-hearted. It is a nation with a proud and strong nationalist tradition, the first to shed the shackles of slavery and become independent of a colonial power in 1804 - all of which makes its fate and reputation today even more shocking.&nbsp;It is a country that has yet to overcome its legacies of authoritarian rule and of endemic poverty.&nbsp;</p><p>Haiti was a failed state before the term ever entered the post-cold-war lexicon. As the record-setter for poverty, hunger, disease, transnational crime and corruption, it has become the western-hemisphere poster-child for all that can go wrong with development. In spite of decades of investment from the donor community, there is little to show.&nbsp;Since the 1980s, Haiti is the only country to see a long-term decline in GDP per capita.</p><p>Between 1990 and 2008, official donors disbursed $6.9 billion (of which $911 million was spent in 2008 alone after three hurricanes in quick succession).&nbsp;The United States has been the largest bilateral donor of humanitarian and development <a href="http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/02/18/how_to_fix_haitis_fixers">assistance</a> since 1990; Canada and the European Union are next.&nbsp;Yet these funds have brought little relief to Haitians, who have continued to suffer the effects of insecurity, grinding poverty and disease.</p><p>What is most striking about this anniversary is that Haiti’s situation is more akin to the nursery-rhyme <em>Humpty Dumpty</em> than to the vision expected by so many members of the international community as a result of this tragic natural disaster.&nbsp;After the death and destruction of the <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8466385.stm">earthquake</a> - whose tens of thousands of deaths included the leadership of the United Nations Mission in Haiti (<a href="http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/minustah/background.shtml">Minustah</a>), the largest single loss of staff for the UN in its history - there was a sense that this time Haiti’s reconstruction would be different.&nbsp;Today, however, the sense is that “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, none could Humpty Dumpty back together again”.</p><p>This is the story both of Haiti’s destruction, and also of the hope and efforts by so many - both the rich and famous, and the average citizen - to put Haiti back together again.&nbsp;The notion of “building back better”, in an oft-used phrase, remains an elusive goal.</p><p><strong>The response</strong></p><p>Haiti is no stranger to natural <a href="http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE6685BK20100709">disasters</a>.&nbsp;In 2009-10 Haiti was battered by strong hurricanes that devastated cities, killed hundreds of innocent victims, and (most recently) just missed a direct hit by yet another strong storm. In September 2008 not one but three hurricanes battered Haiti, each one leaving great destruction in its wake.&nbsp;These events make rebuilding all the more difficult (see “<a href="johanna-mendelson-forman/haiti%E2%80%99s-earthquake-future-after-mercy">Haiti’s earthquake: a future after mercy</a>”, 26 January 2010).</p><p>After the destruction of 2008, the Oxford economist <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/globalisation/africa/aid_evasion_raising_bottom_billion">Paul Collier</a> - author of <a href="http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Economics/Developmental/?view=usa&amp;ci=9780195311457"><em>The Bottom Billion</em></a> - was asked to consider how Haiti compared to other fragile states. He noted that Haiti was still in a better position than other countries emerging from conflict.&nbsp;His optimism was based on the following factors: resources, proximity to the US and Canada, abundant and cheap labour, a large and dedicated <a href="http://www.myhdf.org/">diaspora</a>, a UN force that enables security, and a lack of ethnic conflict. These conditions have not changed.&nbsp;What has complicated the situation is the continued deterioration of governance.</p><p>What is abundantly clear, looking back at this post-quake year, is that Haiti’s problem is not a lack of money to move forward.&nbsp;There has been an overwhelming outpouring of international goodwill, evident in the huge resources pledged to help Haiti.&nbsp;At the UN <a href="http://www.haiticonference.org/">donor’s conference</a> in New York in March 2010, pledges of $5,997 billion from twenty-two of the top donors ensured that there would be sufficient funds until 2015 to run the government and begin rebuilding infrastructure.</p><p>In addition, private charities donated more than $2 billion in the days and months following the earthquake. Through cellphones and television marathons, money poured in to so many groups that the latter - under the coordination of the <a href="http://www.iadb.org/en/countries/haiti/hope-for-haiti,1001.html">Inter-American Development Bank</a> (IDB) and the non-governmental organisation <a href="http://www.interaction.org/article/interaction-members-respond-earthquake-haiti">InterAction</a> - set up an online website to ensure transparency and accountability for these funds. (The IDB has announced that in 2010 it had disbursed $176 million since the earthquake). Even these figures do not include the in-kind contributions of professional groups -&nbsp;doctors, architects, engineers, and teachers -&nbsp;who have volunteered their time to help in the reconstruction.</p><p>Haiti has the potential to overcome some of the economic and structural issues that prevent it from rebuilding, yet it lacks a history of institutional development to ensure that such large investments can translate into real projects. Weak government, the absence of a state presence in rural areas, and the inability to provide resources to regional departments undermine the rebuilding efforts (see "<a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/johanna-mendelson-forman/haiti%E2%80%99s-earthquake-port-au-prince-report">Haiti's earthquake: a Port-au-Prince report</a>", 13 July 2010).&nbsp;</p><p>For example, it is hard to support a community or to move people from tent cities if there is no viable land-titling system, no civil registry, or a clear mechanism for verifying property-ownership. It is even harder when the current government refuses to use its power of eminent domain to take back lands in the interest of public welfare.&nbsp;It is even more frustrating to see how so many makeshift <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/johanna-mendelson-forman/haiti%E2%80%99s-earthquake-port-au-prince-report">encampments</a> (an estimate is that there are around 1,350 in Port-au-Prince) remain on city lots for lack of alternative living arrangements.</p><p>But underlying this current situation is a deeper political motive that was reinforced by the electoral calendar.&nbsp;Urban shantytowns have often been more responsive to certain political groups and thus, more likely to vote in elections.&nbsp;Would it be too cynical to suggest that many of those displaced, and also those who are living amidst the rubble, serve an important political function that Haitian politicians are less than willing to talk about?</p><p><strong>The problem</strong></p><p>Haiti is a patrimonial state where relationships matter more than merit. This situation has led to a government that is considered to lack legitimacy.&nbsp;The <a href="http://www.electionguide.org/election.php?ID=1888">elections</a> held on 28 November 2010 were contested by nineteen <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11838427">candidates</a> chosen by the electoral council (one of them clearly the favourite of President René Preval), which created an as yet unresolved crisis of confidence in the process. The polls conducted after the election showed that 85% of Haitians had no confidence in their president.</p><p>The situation at the time of writing makes the top vote-getter Mirlande Manigat, a former first lady and senator, the frontrunner; with Preval’s candidate Jude Celestin is a distant second, and musician and songwriter Michel Martelly is third.</p><p>The street violence against the electoral process underscores a belief that there was widespread fraud.&nbsp;The <a href="http://www.oas.org/en/member_states/haiti/">Organisation of American States</a> (OAS) and Caricom, the international organisation and regional group that was charged with <a href="http://www.caribbeanpressreleases.com/articles/7819/1/OAS-CARICOM-Joint-Electoral-Observation-Mission-on-Haitis-Presidential-amp-Legislative-Elections-of-28-November-2010/Page1.html">overseeing</a> the process, have been negotiating a recount.&nbsp;A second round of elections, originally scheduled for 16 January 2011, has been postponed until observers finish a ballot recount.&nbsp;</p><p>Many are doubtful that this will solve the crisis, partly on the grounds that Haiti’s history of a “winner-takes-all” approach to elections may undermine any type of solution recommended by the international observers (see Amélie Gauthier, “<a href="article/globalisation/institutions_government/haiti_empty_stomachs_stormy_politics">Haiti: empty stomachs, stormy politics</a>”, 21 April 2008). The return from exile of Haiti’s former “president-for-life”, Jean-Claude Duvalier, on 16 January 2011 is a <a href="http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/01/18/baby_doc_has_been_arrested_but_will_he_be_tried_for_all_his_crimes">complicating</a> factor in an already unsettled political situation.</p><p>A way out of this latest governance crisis is essential if there is to be any progress in recovering from this earthquake.&nbsp;The evidence of interviews with Haitians conducted in early November 2010 suggests that many were frustrated with the <a href="http://haitirewired.wired.com/profiles/blogs/relief-and-reconstruction-the">lack</a> of progress since the earthquake and tended to place much of the blame on Preval. The UN figures <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/haiti-one-year-on-from-quake-2179837.html">reveal</a> that less than 45% of the $2.1 billion pledged for Haiti’s reconstruction during 2010 at the international donor’s conference has been spent.&nbsp;There is good reason for citizen scepticism, which may yet result in some form of interim government to advance the reconstruction.</p><p>Who’s to blame?&nbsp;It is always easy to try and identify one cause or one person. It is certainly not possible to point a finger at a person or institution. Haiti’s already weak government was completely devastated by the earthquake. For example, twenty-seven of twenty-eight ministries collapsed, killing large numbers of civil servants, destroying records, and making an already challenging situation almost unworkable.</p><p>The establishment of an <a href="http://www.cirh.ht/sites/ihrc/en/Pages/default.aspx">Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission</a> (IHRC) in March 2010, headed by Haitian prime minister Jean Max Bellerive and UN special envoy and former US president, Bill Clinton, established a mechanism for resource-distribution and project-management; but it was late in getting off the ground, and had a cumbersome decision-making process.</p><p>The slow pace of reconstruction coupled with the electoral stalemate make any short-term progress very unlikely. No matter how much the private sector tries to create partnerships, no matter how much the UN and its agencies work to restore some degree of normalcy for the average Haitian, in the end it is still the broad failure of Haitian leaders that makes the current situation so troubling.</p><p>Yet an unlikely aspect of Haiti’s situation is that given the resources promised, the next president will have a huge financial base on which to implement much needed changes. This will be a first for a country whose national budget was comprised of foreign assistance and remittances from the diaspora. There will be money for roads, education, capacity-building, and for the provision of security by Haitians themselves rather than the UN.&nbsp;What it will then take to move things forward is the emergence of a leader who can restore public trust among Haiti’s beleaguered citizens.</p><p><strong>The opportunity </strong></p><p>So what does “building back better” mean today?&nbsp; It means that the international community and its Haitian counterparts must come to an understanding quickly about what is at stake after one year of delay and a real lack of visible signs of progress.&nbsp;Without some sense of legitimacy in the Haitian government, the frustrations of millions of displaced people may overflow into street violence and even greater insecurity that will scare away even the most willing investors.<br /><br />The United States in particular can hardly afford to have Haiti fail once again, for reasons that mix altruism and self-interest. Another failure would demonstrate that the US is incapable even of helping serve as a catalyst for change in a fragile state in our own region. More positively, if the Barack Obama government is true to its convictions then Haiti may become a microcosm for a new vision of development that stresses the importance of communities, and recognises that local ownership, shared responsibility, and decentralisation of programming are going to be a priority for the long term.&nbsp;Instead of letting Haiti fall back into chaos, the US can learn the core lesson of past engagement with Haiti and other fragile states: that only a long-term approach can prevent disaster.&nbsp; <br /><br />Haiti’s geographical position, benign neighbourhood and recent history of natural disaster rather than war should make it far easier for the United States to play a healing and regenerative role than in respect of Afghanistan or Iraq. Together with other democracies of the hemisphere, who have also articulated strong support for Haiti’s reconstruction, the US can work to provide the space, the investments and the opportunities finally to move Haiti towards becoming a viable and capable state (see Toni Faret &amp; Mariano Aguirre, "<a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/tone-faret-mariano-aguirre/haiti-politics-of-recovery">Haiti: the politics of recovery</a>", 28 January 2010). <br /><br />There is still time for the Barack Obama administration to <a href="http://www.voanews.com/english/news/Obama-US-Solidarity-Haiti-81499662.html">turn</a> this tragedy into an opportunity for Haiti and the wider region. The president could use his trademark <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/barack-obama-s-world">approach</a> of engagement through multilateralism to forge a new partnership with Caribbean, central and south American states that, in cooperation with Haiti’s people, makes all forms of assistance to the region’s most desperate nation a means of progress.<br /><br /></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://csis.org/">Center for Strategic and International Studies</a> (CSIS)</p><p><a href="http://www.clintonglobalinitiative.org/">Clinton Global Initiative </a></p><p><a href="http://www.enersahaiti.com/">Enersa</a></p><p><a href="http://www.cirh.ht/index.html">Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC)</a></p><p><a href="http://www.digicelfoundation.org/">Digicel Foundation</a></p><p><a href="http://www.cepr.net/index.php/relief-and-reconstruction-watch/">Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch</a></p><p><a href="http://www.earthsparkinternational.org/">EarthSpark International</a></p><p><a href="http://jatrophafoundation.org/">Jatropha Foundation</a></p><p><a href="http://www.haiticonference.org/">Haiti - International Donors Conference, 31 March 2010</a></p><p><a href="http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/LACEXT/HAITIEXTN/0,,menuPK:338184%7EpagePK:141159%7EpiPK:141110%7EtheSitePK:338165,00.html">World Bank - Haiti</a></p><p><a href="http://www.ifrc.org/what/disasters/response/haiti/index.asp">IFRC - Haiti</a></p><p><a href="http://www.lac-core.org/">Latin American and Caribbean Council on Renewable Energy (LAC-CORE)</a></p><p>Peter Hallward, <a href="http://www.versobooks.com/books/ghij/h-titles/hallward_p_haiti.shtml"><em>Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment </em></a>(Verso, 2008)</p><p><a href="http://www.haitisupport.gn.apc.org/ab_who_main.html">Haiti Support Group </a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Johanna Mendelson Forman is a <a href="http://csis.org/expert/johanna-mendelson-forman">senior associate</a> in the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)&nbsp;in Washington, DC. She served as a consultant to the United Nations mission in Haiti in 2005-06</p><p>Also by Johanna Mendelson Forman in <strong>openDemocracy:</strong>&nbsp;</p> <p>"<a href="democracy-un_iraq/article_1169.jsp">Things Kofi Annan can do now</a>" (16 April 2003)&nbsp;</p> <p>"<a href="democracy-iraq/article_1452.jsp%20">From the ashes: a multilateral mission?"</a> (21 August 2003)&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;"<a href="globalization-UN/article_1641.jsp%20">The UN in 2003: a year of living dangerously</a>" (18 December 2003)&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;"<a href="globalization-institutions_government/article_1779.jsp">The nation-building trap: Haiti after Aristide</a>" (11 March 2004)&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;"<a href="globalization-UN/article_2246.jsp">A 21st century mission? The UN high-level panel report</a>" (25 November 2004) - with D Austin Hare&nbsp;</p> <p>"<a href="globalization-UN/article_2389.jsp%20">In Larger Freedom: Kofi Annan's challenge</a>" (23 March 2005)&nbsp;</p> <p>"<a title=" words, 0 comments" href="globalization-UN/summit_2845.jsp%20">President Bush discovers the world is flat</a>" (18 September 2005</p> <p>"<a href="article/open-veins-closed-minds%20">Open veins, closed minds</a>" (7 May 2009) - with Peter DeShazo&nbsp;</p> <p>"<a href="article/the-baghdad-bomb-the-united-nations-and-america">The Baghdad bomb, the United Nations, and America</a>" (19 August 2009)</p><p>"<a href="johanna-mendelson-forman/haiti%E2%80%99s-earthquake-future-after-mercy">Haiti's earthquake: a future after mercy</a>" (26 January 2010)</p><p>"<a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/johanna-mendelson-forman/haiti%E2%80%99s-earthquake-port-au-prince-report">Haiti's earthquake: a Port-au-Prince report</a>" (13 July 2010)</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> Civil society Democracy and government International politics american power & the world democracy & power north america latin america Johanna Mendelson Forman Mon, 24 Jan 2011 14:26:31 +0000 Johanna Mendelson Forman 57690 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Haiti's earthquake: a Port-au-Prince report https://www.opendemocracy.net/johanna-mendelson-forman/haiti%E2%80%99s-earthquake-port-au-prince-report <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Six months after the catastrophe in Haiti’s capital, the realities of insecurity, displacement and poverty co-exist with opportunities and agents of reconstruction. Johanna Mendelson Forman offers a view from the ground. </div> </div> </div> <p>I visited Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, from 22-25 June 2010, to attend a meeting of the <a href="http://www.clintonglobalinitiative.org/">Clinton Global Initiative</a> Action Group (CGI). The meeting, convened by the CGI and the <a href="http://www.digicelfoundation.org/">Digicel Foundation</a>, brought together working groups for Haiti that included NGOs and foundations interested in supporting different projects in the reconstruction of Haiti. I was part of the energy group.</p><p>I have visited <a href="http://go.hrw.com/atlas/norm_htm/haiti.htm">Haiti</a> on more than forty occasions since 1994, when I was part of Usaid’s <a href="http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/cross-cutting_programs/transition_initiatives/">Office of Transition Initiatives</a>, involved in the reform of the security sector (and especially the demobilisation of the Haitian armed forces).&nbsp; Since then I have worked in Haiti on a variety of issues, including energy-security, peacekeeping, and disaster assistance.</p> <p>In 2005-06 I worked as a senior advisor of the United Nations special representative to the secretary-general (SRSG), Edmond Mulet. Most recently I have pursued the development of alternative and sustainable-energy resources through the <a href="http://jatrophafoundation.org/">Jatropha Foundation</a> and the <a href="http://www.lac-core.org/">Latin American and Caribbean Council on Renewable Energy</a>. In Washington I am a <a href="http://csis.org/expert/johanna-mendelson-forman">senior associate</a> of the Americas Program and the William E Simon chair in political economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (<a href="http://csis.org/">CSIS</a>).&nbsp; I attended the CGI meeting as a representative for the energy sector.</p> <h3><strong>The view from the ground</strong></h3> <p>I had not been in Port-au-Prince since the tragic <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8466385.stm">earthquake</a> on 12 January 2010 which left 220,000-300,000 people <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8510900.stm">dead</a> and 300,000 injured, and 1.5 million Haitians homeless. Six months after the disaster, its scope is evident all over the city - in the number of crushed buildings and the proliferation of camps of internally-displaced persons (IDPs). No section of the city is untouched by the destruction of the earthquake. Rubble abounds. People who tear down the remains of houses and buildings throw it out into the street, but the clean-up of this debris seems disorganised and slow. Many streets contain mountains of stones, and few dump-trucks are available to help clear away what had been excavated.</p> <p>The tragedy of <a href="http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/doc116?OpenForm&amp;rc=2&amp;emid=acos-635p2k&amp;secid=9">displacement</a> hits you the moment you arrive. There are camps in front of the airport, on traffic circles, and in any vacant space available.&nbsp; People <a href="http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/MCOI-87ACRM?OpenDocument">living</a> in these camps now have more durable tents, but the rains come every afternoon to make the ground soggy and unpleasant. The <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8614278.stm">camps</a> I saw all had latrines or portable toilets, but it is unclear whether these are adequate for the number of occupants in each camp. A doctor who accompanied me on one of the tours suggested that the absence of epidemics now does not mean infectious diseases are no longer a threat to Haitians: it is just that the incubation time is taking longer than expected. There would eventually be an increase in diseases unless these camps are closed and people resettled.</p> <p>In contrast to the squalor that is associated with the camps, Haiti’s street-life is vibrant. Markets exist, food-vendors abound. There are children dressed for school and attending classes again, although those in camps are not so fortunate. Both policemen and women are out and on patrol. When I questioned a hotel-owner about security she commented that the police had actually been helpful and respectful of people, a change that is needed if confidence is to be <a href="http://web.peaceops.com/archives/author/johannamendelsonforman">rebuilt</a> in the security sector.</p> <p>As the work of reconstruction finally gets underway the political discussion is now focused on the work of the <a href="http://www.cirh.ht/index.html">Interim Haiti Recovery Commission</a> (IHRC). This body, created as an eighteen-month administrative institution to support the ministries, and provide grants for projects that are needed to rebuild, is still in its early days and not fully staffed. A representative from McKinsey, the US firm helping identify talent for the commission, was seeking names and resumes of people to support the new body. It is clear, however, that the commission will need until September 2010 to get fully staffed and moving. There are capable people working to advance the process, but it is still moving slowly.</p> <p>The United Nations is also present. The UN’s special representative of the secretary-general (SRSG), <a href="http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2010/sga1228.doc.htm">Edmond Mulet</a>, is doing an excellent job in helping the process, and is well-regarded by Haitian leaders. The work of the SRSG is now focused on helping to move the political process forward toward elections scheduled for 28 November 2010, with the UN and the Organisation of American States (OAS) providing the important <a href="http://www.oas.org/en/news/haiti_earthquake_relief/haiti_earthquake_relief.asp">support</a> needed to hold them.&nbsp;</p> <p>That an election can happen is clear. But the opportunity to hold a simultaneous referendum that would have addressed some of the more vexing constitutional issues (such as the question of whether dual-citizenship Haitians would be allowed to run for national office) has been lost. A referendum could also have addressed the synchronisation of elections so that Haiti could avoid holding yet more elections for the senate and assembly. It is important, however, that the presidential and legislative elections advance; and that process is moving, albeit slowly, forward.</p> <h3><strong>Agents and opportunities </strong></h3> <p>Haiti, like any post-disaster <a href="http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE6685BK20100709">environment</a>, is filled with contractors and entrepreneurs eager to make a dollar in the wake of the earthquake. There are many organisations - for-profit and not-for-profit - on the ground, and seeking <a href="http://www.haitireconstructionfund.org/hrf/">contacts</a> with Haiti’s government to make proposals and identify new opportunities (especially in areas outlined in the government’s reconstruction-paper delivered at the United Nations-sponsored <a href="http://www.haiticonference.org/">international donors’ conference</a> on 31 March 2010).</p> <p>The top priorities are infrastructure and capacity-building (in the capital, cities around the country, and the ministries themselves). There will ultimately be funding for a multitude of projects, but no money is flowing yet - so everyone is trying to see what the IHRC <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/07/10/v-fullstory/1725088/bill-clinton-on-haiti-my-job-is.html">does</a>, and how everyone can get a piece of the action. Some groups want to help import heavy equipment to continue clearing rubble, an ongoing and major activity. At present, rubble is being dumped in the ocean rather than recycled to use as roadfill that could help in the construction of the new roads so desperately needed in Haiti.</p> <p>Every sector is eager to work: water engineers, social engineers, international business groups who see Haiti as a platform for reconstruction. But investment risks are still high as long as Haiti’s basic governance structures - its legal institutions, its commercial codes, and its ability to support <a href="http://www.microfinancegateway.org/p/site/m/template.rc/1.26.12644/">financial</a> needs - are not in place.</p> <p>Haitian business leaders also see this time as a moment to develop their interests, to help serve as interlocutors for international companies, and to expand. Those who import food, or own warehouses or ports, are in a privileged position to gain from this tragedy. They also recognise that they have a responsibility to their nation - an important shift in attitude that underscores the changing dynamic of the private sector in Haiti over the last two decades.&nbsp;&nbsp; The passage of United States legislation that supports the textile-assembly area (the <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704423504575212663488826000.html">Haiti Economic Lift Program</a> [Help]) will provide a much-needed post-earthquake <a href="http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/04/30/am-us-program-lifts-haitis-textile-duties/">boost</a> to that sector. But it is not enough to ensure greater sustainable economic development in the long run.</p> <p>Haiti’s relations with the <a href="../../../../../../../../article/the-dominican-republic-a-time-of-ghosts">Dominican Republic</a> are good, but the window to use the earthquake as an opportunity to improve the overall relationship is waning. In the first few post-earthquake months the Haiti-Dominican relationship was at a new high; the latter’s <a href="http://www.la-republique-dominicaine.org/Dominican-Republic-Leonel-Fernandez-President-of-the-Republic.html">President Leonel Fernández</a> contributed to the relief effort, hosted donor meetings, and served as the natural launch-point for rebuilding. But as time has passed, older business rivalries have re-emerged. It is important that Haiti-Dominican relationships are sustained,&nbsp; especially in key areas such as responses to natural disasters, climate change and shared environmental challenges, the development of alternative fuels and the use of renewable-energy systems. There is ample opportunity for collaboration, but the timing must come soon to take advantage of current goodwill (see “<a href="../../../../../../../../johanna-mendelson-forman/haiti%E2%80%99s-earthquake-future-after-mercy">Haiti’s earthquake: a future after mercy</a>”, 26 January 2010).</p> <p>The Haitian government in fact has the biggest opportunity since the return to democratic governance in 1994, when a large multinational force was involved in the country. The government, however, is still quite <a href="http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2010/0706/1224274102723.html">fragile</a>. It needs (and is getting) outside support, but it lacks the capacity to do the things that are urgently needed - moving IDPs, improving education, reforming financial institutions.</p> <p>The familiar time-lag between donations and disbursement is <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/wyclef-jean-minus-the-smell-nothing-has-changed-in-six-months-2025103.html">clear</a> in Haiti.&nbsp;&nbsp; There is no shortage of pledges. But the NGOs are the main source of liquid assets that can be used at this time. The extent to which donor-coordination is working is evident in the camps, but is less clear in relation to providing support to the displaced and those living outside of Port-au-Prince. Haitians need&nbsp; to see progress soon - in the availability of even temporary jobs and housing, and a sense that their country is moving beyond a humanitarian crisis to a transitional rebuilding phase.</p> <p>What struck me most, in meeting some of the groups who will benefit from the work of the CGI, was the enthusiastic intention among young entrepreneurs to make Haiti better. For example, the motto of a group making solar-lampposts and phone-chargers, <a href="http://www.enersahaiti.com/">Enersa</a>, is “no village is too remote”. These young men and women are building and installing solar-panels in Haiti, making them theft-proof, and helping communities with security by providing light and a source of electricity so students can study after dark.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Similarly, a group of young filmmakers and media specialists are providing big-screen movie-shows <a href="http://www.greenff.org/news-a-events/2010/91-report-on-cinema-under-the-stars-in-cite-soleil">under the stars</a> - <em>Sinema anba Zetwal</em> - to people living in camps around the country. Such cultural events include a measure of community-building and cultural solidarity, even in spite of miserable physical conditions.&nbsp; There are also groups making modified charcoal cooking-stoves from scrap metal that allow charcoal to burn with 50%-plus more efficiency. These stoves are intended to be part of a new renewable-energy chain of stores to be launched by <a href="http://www.earthsparkinternational.org/">EarthSpark</a>, an NGO focusing on sustainable-energy solutions for Haiti.</p> <h3><strong>Risks and challenges</strong></h3> <p>Six months after the earthquake, Port-au-Prince is still the scene of a major disaster. Three areas must be addressed immediately:</p> <p>* safe temporary-housing sites that also provide other services, including job-creation programmes</p> <p>* security, including the protection of women and children in the IDP settlements</p> <p>* the capacity of Haitian government ministries to create policies that will promote real solutions to such essential needs as electricity, the rule of law and transparent elections, thus also reducing the risk for investors.</p> <p>On the surface life has resumed to normal, but the city is also a place where people are still frightened to be in their own homes lest another tremor occur.&nbsp; Many homes where the displaced lived were rental-units. The misery of those who have neither a home to return to or the prospect of any new structure in the near term cannot be exaggerated. There is still inadequate informal-sector employment and few other work opportunities. Many children are not in school because the buildings were destroyed.</p> <p>The overall message is an urgent need for more <a href="http://www.as-coa.org/articles/2508/Six_Months_Later:_Roadblocks_to_Haitis_Reconstruction/">tangible</a> signs of progress in Port-au-Prince. Progress must come in the form of basic needs - adequate shelter and food, but also attempts to employ more individuals in short-term projects (eg clearing the streets, or training and education, such as literacy lessons for people living in the camps).&nbsp;</p> <p>If street-security is good, the security in the tent-city camps is deteriorating. The reasons are manifold; among them are said to be the presence of those who <a href="http://www.caribbeanpressreleases.com/articles/7095/1/Haiti-UN-peacekeepers-help-to-arrest-30-criminals-on-the-run-since-quake/Page1.html">escaped</a> prison in January and of drug- and human-traffickers, and the return of gangs. In this there is a greater risk of insecurity for those living in the camps, and corresponding great importance in providing security and work in their former neighbourhoods.&nbsp;</p> <p>Haiti will need strong leadership from its own citizens and from the international community to emerge from this crisis.&nbsp; This includes focusing on funded groups able to implement a coordinated vision of reconstruction that targets short-term needs - housing, schools, job-creation, and loans for small businesses - all of which ensure life can go on. Meanwhile, the <a href="http://www.electionguide.org/country.php?ID=94">elections</a> are scheduled for November 2010 are already a focus of activity, with candidates making pledges and jockeying for positions in their respective parties (see Amélie Gauthier, “<a href="../../../../../../../../article/globalisation/institutions_government/haiti_empty_stomachs_stormy_politics">Haiti: empty stomachs, stormy politics</a>”, 21 April 2008).</p> <p>As I walked around Port-au-Prince I was struck by the enormity of the <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/us_and_canada/10596902.stm">task</a> at hand, but also the potential to do things that would help make life better for so many people. But it was also clear that there were no quick fixes. There is an important lesson here about the timing of programmes. Haitians need policies to make progress - in economic <a href="http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/LACEXT/HAITIEXTN/0,,menuPK:338184%7EpagePK:141159%7EpiPK:141110%7EtheSitePK:338165,00.html">development</a>, rules and regulations for investment, resources to help mitigate risk - while <em>also</em> working at a micro-development level that brings clear signs to those who have suffered the most that this is <em>not</em> “business as usual”. Whether this can happen is still uncertain. But if Haitians are to benefit from the promises made to them about a new beginning, the pressure on governments, international donors and NGOs must continue. This is the time to raise voices and redouble efforts, to match encouragement and dialogue with action, and - most of all - to create tangible results which Haitians own and can build on.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://csis.org/">Center for Strategic and International Studies</a> (CSIS)</p><p><a href="http://www.clintonglobalinitiative.org/">Clinton Global Initiative </a></p><p><a href="http://www.enersahaiti.com/">Enersa</a></p><p><a href="http://www.cirh.ht/index.html">Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC)</a></p><p><a href="http://www.digicelfoundation.org/">Digicel Foundation</a></p><p><a href="http://www.earthsparkinternational.org/">EarthSpark International</a></p><p><a href="http://jatrophafoundation.org/">Jatropha Foundation</a></p><p><a href="http://www.haiticonference.org/">Haiti - International Donors Conference, 31 March 2010</a></p><p><a href="http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/LACEXT/HAITIEXTN/0,,menuPK:338184%7EpagePK:141159%7EpiPK:141110%7EtheSitePK:338165,00.html">World Bank - Haiti</a></p><p><a href="http://www.ifrc.org/what/disasters/response/haiti/index.asp">IFRC - Haiti</a></p><p><a href="http://www.lac-core.org/">Latin American and Caribbean Council on Renewable Energy (LAC-CORE)</a></p><p>Peter Hallward, <a href="http://www.versobooks.com/books/ghij/h-titles/hallward_p_haiti.shtml"><em>Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment </em></a>(Verso, 2008)</p><p><a href="http://www.haitisupport.gn.apc.org/ab_who_main.html">Haiti Support Group </a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Johanna Mendelson Forman is a <a href="http://csis.org/expert/johanna-mendelson-forman">senior associate</a> in the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)&nbsp;in Washington, DC. She served as a consultant to the United Nations mission in Haiti in 2005-06</p><p>Also by Johanna Mendelson Forman in <strong>openDemocracy:</strong>&nbsp;</p> <p>"<a href="../../democracy-un_iraq/article_1169.jsp">Things Kofi Annan can do now</a>" (16 April 2003)&nbsp;</p> <p>"<a href="../../democracy-iraq/article_1452.jsp%20">From the ashes: a multilateral mission?"</a> (21 August 2003)&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;"<a href="../../globalization-UN/article_1641.jsp%20">The UN in 2003: a year of living dangerously</a>" (18 December 2003)&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;"<a href="../../globalization-institutions_government/article_1779.jsp">The nation-building trap: Haiti after Aristide</a>" (11 March 2004)&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;"<a href="../../globalization-UN/article_2246.jsp">A 21st century mission? The UN high-level panel report</a>" (25 November 2004) - with D Austin Hare&nbsp;</p> <p>"<a href="../../globalization-UN/article_2389.jsp%20">In Larger Freedom: Kofi Annan's challenge</a>" (23 March 2005)&nbsp;</p> <p>"<a title=" words, 0 comments" href="../../globalization-UN/summit_2845.jsp%20">President Bush discovers the world is flat</a>" (18 September 2005</p> <p>"<a href="../../article/open-veins-closed-minds%20">Open veins, closed minds</a>" (7 May 2009) - with Peter DeShazo&nbsp;</p> <p>"<a href="../../article/the-baghdad-bomb-the-united-nations-and-america">The Baghdad bomb, the United Nations, and America</a>" (19 August 2009)</p><p>"<a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/johanna-mendelson-forman/haiti%E2%80%99s-earthquake-future-after-mercy">Haiti's earthquake: a future after mercy</a>" (26 January 2010)</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/globalization-institutions_government/article_1779.jsp">The nation-building trap: Haiti after Aristide</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/globalization-institutions_government/haiti_3240.jsp">What election hopes for Haiti?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/article/globalisation/institutions_government/haiti_empty_stomachs_stormy_politics">Haiti: empty stomachs, stormy politics </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/haiti-unravelling-the-knot">Haiti: unravelling the knot</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democracy-protest/haiti_3298.jsp">Haiti: living on the edge</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/ben-ramalingam/haitis-catastrophe-lessons-from-previous-earthquakes">Haiti&#039;s catastrophe: lessons from previous earthquakes</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/tone-faret-mariano-aguirre/haiti-politics-of-recovery">Haiti: the politics of recovery</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/johanna-mendelson-forman/haiti%E2%80%99s-earthquake-future-after-mercy">Haiti’s earthquake: a future after mercy</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Haiti </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> Haiti Civil society Democracy and government International politics institutions & government Globalisation democracy & power latin america Johanna Mendelson Forman Tue, 13 Jul 2010 21:37:41 +0000 Johanna Mendelson Forman 55110 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Johanna Mendelson Forman https://www.opendemocracy.net/author-profile/johanna-mendelson-forman <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Johanna Mendelson Forman </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-au-firstname"> <div class="field-label">First name(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Johanna Mendelson </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-au-surname"> <div class="field-label">Surname:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Forman </div> </div> </div> <p>Johanna Mendelson Forman is a <a href="http://csis.org/expert/johanna-mendelson-forman">senior associate</a> in the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)&nbsp;in Washington, DC</p><div class="field field-au-shortbio"> <div class="field-label">One-Line Biography:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Johanna Mendelson Forman is a &lt;a href=http://csis.org/expert/johanna-mendelson-forman&gt;senior associate&lt;/a&gt; in the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC </div> </div> </div> Johanna Mendelson Forman Fri, 26 Mar 2010 13:12:26 +0000 Johanna Mendelson Forman 51053 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Haiti’s earthquake: a future after mercy https://www.opendemocracy.net/johanna-mendelson-forman/haiti%E2%80%99s-earthquake-future-after-mercy <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The existing levels of human insecurity in Haiti make the country’s post-disaster recovery even more difficult. All the more important that the world gets the response right and makes a sustained commitment, says Johanna Mendelson Forman. </div> </div> </div> <P>In the thirty seconds that it took for an earthquake of 7.0 on the Richter scale to devastate Port au Prince on 12 January 2010, the fate of this small Caribbean nation of 10 million people became the rest of the world’s concern.&nbsp;The estimated death-toll of more than 200,000, with injuries to perhaps double that number, give point to the journalist Nicholas Kristof’s <A href="http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/13/today-were-all-haitians/">remark</a> that “today, we are all Haitians”.</p> <P>The graphic satellite images and news broadcasts that followed have conveyed the vast scale of destruction, the desperation of an already poor people on the edge of survival – and thus the degree of sustained effort that will be <A href="http://www.ifrc.org/what/disasters/response/haiti/index.asp">needed</a> in the weeks and months ahead.</p> <P>The sudden loss of 2% of any population (and damage to very many more) is overwhelming, but Haiti’s experience is worsened by the fact that most of those killed were in and around the nation’s <A href="http://go.hrw.com/atlas/norm_htm/haiti.htm">capita</a>l, Port-au-Prince. A city built to accommodate 50,000 inhabitants, its population had reached almost 3 million as a result of urban in-migration - a factor that itself underscores the lack of opportunity in the rest of country, where poor infrastructure, deforestation, and extreme <A href="http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/LACEXT/HAITIEXTN/0,,menuPK:338184%7EpagePK:141159%7EpiPK:141110%7EtheSitePK:338165,00.html">poverty</a> have made even subsistence living virtually impossible.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <P>Even more daunting is that 75% of Haiti’s population <A href="http://ddp-ext.worldbank.org/ext/ddpreports/ViewSharedReport?&amp;CF=1&amp;REPORT_ID=1336&amp;REQUEST_TYPE=VIEWADVANCED&amp;HF=N/IDGProfile.asp">lives</a> on less than $2 a day, and 56% (4.5 million people) on less than $1 per day. Any recovery from disaster is difficult, but for Haiti it will require a complete <A href="http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=33581&amp;Cr=haiti&amp;Cr1=">rethinking</a> of how to do development. If the mantra before the earthquake hit was to help Haitians go “from misery to poverty”, it is hard to find the words that will characterise this attempt to build a new nation. The former United States president Bill Clinton, now the United Nations special envoy to Haiti, <A href="http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1953379_1953494_1953521,00.html">argued</a> that the task now is to “build back better.”&nbsp; But in these desperate circumstances, what will “better” consist of?</p> <P><STRONG>A state of failure</strong></p> <P>Haiti has endured many natural tragedies. In June 1770, an earthquake levelled Port-au-Prince; in May 1842, the northern city of Cap Hatien was destroyed, and 10,000 people killed; in 2008, a triple <A href="http://www.unicef.org/emerg/haiti_48724.html">assault</a> of hurricanes tore apart the city of Gonaive. Haiti’s citizens have experienced the full spectrum of disasters in a nation already suffering from weak infrastructure, a lack of administrative <A href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/16/world/americas/16preval.html">capacity</a>, and extreme corruption at all levels of government. Haiti was in this sense a “failed state” long before the <A href="http://www.fundforpeace.org/web/index.php?option=com_content&amp;task=view&amp;id=391&amp;Itemid=549">term</a> became part of the political language of the post-cold-war era.</p> <P>Haiti’s independence from France in 1804 marked a high point in western as well as national history as the only successful slave revolt ever mounted in the Americas. The revolt inflicted grave financial harm to France’s empire, causing it to lose two-thirds of its world trade and culminating in Napoleon Bonaparte’s <A href="http://www.nps.gov/archive/jeff/lewisclark2/circa1804/heritage/LouisianaPurchase/LouisianaPurchase.htm">sale</a> of Louisiana to the United States for the sum of $15 million. The <A href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/centralamericaandthecaribbean/haiti/7074099/West-urged-to-write-off-Haitis-1bn-debt.html">treatment</a> of Haiti and its people in this era is representative of a longer history marked by the international community’s consistent prejudice against and exclusion of Haiti; the various foreign-inspired attempts to mould Haiti into a cohesive state have <A href="http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/isabel-hilton-dont-blame-the-haitians-for-doubting-us-promises-1870940.html">neglected</a> to address the political, social and economic problems that are at the root of its near-failure in the first place.</p> <P>In a country where institutions did not provide justice, education, or health benefits to the majority, Haitian leaders were never able to lay the foundation for democratic rule. The various attempts at participatory elections only led to a reinforcement of corruption and the entrenchment of repressive security forces that confined political power to a <A href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/haitis-elite-offers-an-unlikely-source-of-hope-1876412.html">wealthy</a> elite.</p> <P>In 1990, a United States-led multinational force was deployed to help monitor Haiti’s first democratic elections, which were won by Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his <EM>Lavalas</em> movement. In 2004, Haiti was on the verge of state failure after the government succumbed to mob violence that forced President Aristide’s departure from office.</p> <P>Both the interventions and the disasters have continued. The United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (<A href="http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/minustah/background.shtml">Minustah</a>) remained in the country even after the democratic elections of February 2006 that brought a new president, <A href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/country_profiles/1202772.stm#leaders">René<STRONG> </strong>Préval</a>, to office; and a series of hurricanes in 2008 inflicted great damage. Yet the year before the earthquake of January 2010 also brought a degree of optimism. The UN mandate for Minustah was <A href="http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2009/sc9766.doc.htm">renewed</a> in October 2009, amid recognition that - despite problems - the 9,000 UN peacekeepers and civilian police were helping to lay the foundation of public security. Indeed, the earthquake has also had a severe impact on the UN in Haiti: the destruction of its headquarters and the largest <A href="http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/minustah/memoriam.shtml">loss</a> of life in any mission in its history (around sixty-one personnel killed, including thirty-one senior officials) means that the UN will also have to replenish its own field-staff if it is going to continue its valuable role in Haiti’s future.</p> <P>It was in this more secure and stable environment that attracted over 400 potential investors to attend a conference in October 2009 led by Bill Clinton to examine the potential for a public-private partnership approach to develop Haiti. René<STRONG> </strong>Préval’s government had scheduled legislative <A href="http://www.electionguide.org/country.php?ID=94">elections</a> for February 2010. Many considered that Haitian politics had moved from a more inchoate set of political alliances to a growing movement toward the political centre. The business community in particular sensed that this was a pivotal moment in Haiti’s history where a commitment to better governance and a new flow of capital could Haiti toward a brighter future. The economist <A href="../../../../../../../../authors/paul_collier">Paul Collier</a>, who had been recruited by the UN to assess the potential for Haiti’s development, even suggested that Haiti possessed <A href="http://www.focal.ca/publications/focalpoint/fp0309/?article=article3&amp;lang=e">assets</a> - its geographic location in a region where the size of the US market was a definite plus in attracting more businesses to invest - that gave it the chance of a brighter future.</p> <P><STRONG>After tragedy, recovery</strong></p> <P>Haiti has become the scene of a tremendous humanitarian operation that is attempting to cope with formidable infrastructure challenges that have made coordination of assistance after this disaster one of the most complex in the recent history of humanitarianism.</p> <P>The United Nations and the United States, with the help of the <A href="http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5168839,00.html">European Union</a>, Canada, Brazil, the Organisation of American States (OAS), and scores of other countries have sent disaster assistance; over 24,000 US soldiers have been deployed to deliver aid and provide logistical support; UN peacekeepers are also helping to move food and water and to provide shelter; a great variety of NGOs – Haitian and international, those already on the ground and those arriving with doctors, nurses and engineers – are providing comfort and <A href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/aid-for-haiti-investigation-the-truth-1877356.html">alleviating</a> suffering to the best they can.</p> <P>At a policy level, the international community is seeking to formulate a coherent agenda for Haiti. A conference for the larger donor community was <A href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/26/world/americas/26haiti.html">convened</a> in Montreal on 25 January 2010 - following a pre-meeting in the Dominican Republic - to coordinate efforts and plan longer-term assistance, attended by representatives of twenty nation-states, the UN, and the World Bank. The Montreal <A href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100125/pl_afp/haitiquakeaidcanadasummit4thlead_20100125160509">gathering</a> agreed to hold a major conference on Haiti’s future at the United Nations in New York in March 2010.</p> <P>But as the awesome scope of the disaster and of Haitians’ human-security needs are established in the wake of the nightmare of 12 January, it is crucial that the mobilisation of mercy is sustained and a dynamic of longer-term recovery encouraged.</p> <P>The cost of Haiti’s rebuilding is being urgently discussed. At the Dominican Republic meeting, a $10-billion, five-year assistance-programme was <A href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/26/world/americas/26haiti.html">proposed</a>; the Montreal conference heard comparable sums being suggested. But while money will surely flow into Haiti, there is the danger that the US and other actors will be faced with newer emergencies that distract donors from Haiti and leave the country and its reconstruction incomplete. This is the risk of any externally driven nation-building, and it also points to the new direction that is needed if Haiti is to recover and rebuild. For the process of recovery will have to be driven by Haitians themselves: by its elected government (despite its own losses of infrastructure and its weak state), by its impoverished but resilient and creative people, and by the more than 1 million Haitians of the <A href="http://www.humanrights-geneva.info/Haitian-diaspora-wants-a-say-in,7230">diaspora</a> (who <A href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4bd06664-06b9-11df-b426-00144feabdc0.html">contribute</a> an astounding 40%-plus to Haiti’s GDP).&nbsp;</p> <P>There is some encouragement here that the <A href="../../../../../../../../article/the-dominican-republic-a-time-of-ghosts">Dominican Republic</a> may prove to be both one of the greatest proponents of the rebuilding of its Hispaniola neighbour and one of the largest beneficiaries. The Dominican Republic’s president, <A href="http://rulers.org/indexf1.html#fernar">Leonel Fernández</a>, understands how important Haiti’s reconstruction is to his <A href="http://go.hrw.com/atlas/norm_htm/dominrep.htm">country’s</a> own future; and the republic’s other political and business leaders see the potential enormous influx of funds for post-earthquake recovery as a potential source of investment and growth.&nbsp; Much of the sourcing of materials, supplies and technical assistance for Haiti in coming months will come from the Dominican Republic. This alone could be a major economic stimulus; more importantly, it could lead to the political, social, and economic reconciliation between Haiti and the Dominican Republic that has long <A href="http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=40138">eluded</a> these countries. There are great challenges and great opportunities here.</p> <P>The belief that something positive may emerge from Haiti’s suffering is also supported by the Barack Obama administration’s rapid response and mobilisation of humanitarian <A href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/haitiearthquake_embed">assistance</a> – evident in the immediate commitment of $100 million in aid, the rapid dispatch of secretary of state <A href="http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/01/16/haiti.earthquake/index.html">Hillary Clinton</a> to Haiti, and the logistical <A href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100113/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_us_haiti_earthquake">support</a> of US military assets. There is a sharp contrast here with the response of the George W Bush administration to hurricane Katrina in 2005, when the <A href="../../../../../../../../globalization-climate_change_debate/gulf_disaster_2808.jsp">failure</a> to relieve the plight of New Orleans’s poor and deprived citizens received global attention.</p> <P>The reaction of this United States administration to the Haiti disaster reinforces its overall commitment to a multilateralist approach. In relation to international relations and to humanitarian assistance alike, such an approach is central to any effective global policy of engagement in the 21st century.</p> <P><BR /><BR /></p> <P>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <P>Johanna Mendelson Forman is a <A href="http://csis.org/expert/johanna-mendelson-forman">senior associate</a> in the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)&nbsp;in Washington, DC.&nbsp; She served as a consultant to the UN mission in Haiti in 2005-06</p> <P>Also by Johanna Mendelson Forman in <STRONG>openDemocracy:</strong>&nbsp;</p> <P>"<A href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-un_iraq/article_1169.jsp">Things Kofi Annan can do now</a>" (16 April 2003)&nbsp;</p> <P>"<A href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-iraq/article_1452.jsp%20">From the ashes: a multilateral mission?"</a> (21 August 2003)&nbsp;</p> <P>&nbsp;"<A href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization-UN/article_1641.jsp%20">The UN in 2003: a year of living dangerously</a>" (18 December 2003)&nbsp;</p> <P>&nbsp;"<A href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization-institutions_government/article_1779.jsp">The nation-building trap: Haiti after Aristide</a>" (11 March 2004)&nbsp;</p> <P>&nbsp;"<A href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization-UN/article_2246.jsp">A 21st century mission? The UN high-level panel report</a>" (25 November 2004)</p> <P>&nbsp; – with D Austin Hare&nbsp;</p> <P>"<A href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization-UN/article_2389.jsp%20">In Larger Freedom: Kofi Annan's challenge</a>" (23 March 2005)&nbsp;</p> <P>&nbsp;"<A title=" words, 0 comments" href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization-UN/summit_2845.jsp%20">President Bush discovers the world is flat</a>" (18 September 2005</p> <P>"<A href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/open-veins-closed-minds%20">Open veins, closed minds</a>" (7 May 2009) – with Peter DeShazo&nbsp;</p> <P>"<A href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/the-baghdad-bomb-the-united-nations-and-america">The Baghdad bomb, the United Nations, and America</a>" (19 August 2009)</p> <P>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/globalization-institutions_government/article_1779.jsp">The nation-building trap: Haiti after Aristide</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/globalization-institutions_government/haiti_3240.jsp">What election hopes for Haiti?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/article/globalisation/institutions_government/haiti_empty_stomachs_stormy_politics">Haiti: empty stomachs, stormy politics </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/haiti-unravelling-the-knot">Haiti: unravelling the knot</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Haiti </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> Haiti Democracy and government International politics institutions & government american power & the world democracy & power latin america Johanna Mendelson Forman Tue, 26 Jan 2010 02:07:22 +0000 Johanna Mendelson Forman 49966 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The Baghdad bomb, the United Nations, and America https://www.opendemocracy.net/article/the-baghdad-bomb-the-united-nations-and-america <p> The sixth anniversary since a bomb of August silenced the United Nations voice in Baghdad is a moment for commemoration of and tribute to the twenty-two people who lost their lives, and the approximately 150 who were wounded. It is also more: for the horrific truck-bomb <a href="http://secint50.un.org/av/photo/subjects/unhqbombing.htm">attack</a> of 19 August 2003 on the Canal Hotel which served as the UN headquarters in Iraq is now a key moment in history. </p> <p> <span class="pullquote_new">Johanna Mendelson Forman is a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC, in both the Americas Program and the William E Simon Chair of Political Economy. Among her publications is <a href="http://www.csis.org/component/option,com_csis_pubs/task,view/id,5232/type,1/%20"><em>Investing in a New Unilateralism: A Smart Power Approach to the United Nations</em></a> (CSIS, January 2009)<br /> <br /> Also by Johanna Mendelson Forman in <strong>openDemocracy</strong>:<br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/node/1169">Things Kofi Annan can do now</a>&quot; (17 April 2003)<br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/node/1379">We cannot afford to fail</a>&quot; (23 July 2003) - with colleagues from the Iraq Reconstruction Assessment Mission<br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/node/1452">From the ashes: a multilateral mission?&quot;</a> (22 August 2003)<br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/node/1641">The UN in 2003: a year of living dangerously</a>&quot; (18 December 2003)<br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/globalization-institutions_government/article_1779.jsp">The nation-building trap: Haiti after Aristide</a>&quot; (11 March 2004)<br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/globalization-UN/article_2246.jsp">A 21st century mission? The UN high-level panel report</a>&quot; (25 November 2004) - with D Austin Hare<br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/globalization-UN/article_2389.jsp">In Larger Freedom: Kofi Annan&#39;s challenge</a>&quot; (23 March 2005)<br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/globalization-UN/summit_2845.jsp">President Bush discovers the world is flat</a>&quot; (19 September 2005)<br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/article/open-veins-closed-minds">Open veins, closed minds </a>&quot; (7 May 2009) - with Peter DeShazo</span> Inside the United Nations headquarters, the event is considered the organisation&#39;s equivalent of 11 September 2001. For the UN, the terrorist bombing - four months after the United States-led military coalition had after a three-week campaign toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein - marked a turning-point in its ability to work as an agent of collective security in a changing world. It led to a re-examination of the UN&#39;s role, embodied in the then secretary-general Kofi Annan&#39;s document <em><a href="http://www.un.org/largerfreedom/">In Larger Freedom</a></em>; this ultimately resulted in a new manifesto for the <a href="http://www.un.org/reform/index.shtml">institution</a>, presented in the general assembly&#39;s sixtieth-anniversary summit on 14-16 September 2005.  It also contributed to a new awareness of the vulnerability of humanitarian workers in conflict-zones, symbolised by the inauguration on 19 August 2009 of a <a href="http://ochaonline.un.org/News/WorldHumanitarianDay/tabid/5677/language/en-US/Default.aspx">World Humanitarian Day</a>. </p> <p> <strong>The Iraqi vortex</strong>   </p> <p> The Baghdad attack robbed the United Nations of fifteen fine and potential-rich servants, as well as taking the lives of others tragically caught by it; they include two NGO representatives, a diplomat, a translator, a contract worker, and the human-rights lawyer <a href="/author/Arthur_C_Helton.jsp">Arthur C Helton</a> (also a co-writer of an <strong>openDemocracy</strong> column into <a href="http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/refworld/rwmain">refugee</a> and <a href="http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004CE90B/%28httpSectionHomepages%29/$first?OpenDocument&amp;count=1000">displacement</a> issues with his close colleague <a href="/author/Gil_Loescher.jsp">Gil Loescher</a>, who was badly wounded in the blast). </p> <p> Also among those who died was one of the greatest humanitarian civil servants, <a href="http://www.sergiovdmfoundation.org/en/sergio_biography.html">Sergio Vieira de Mello</a>, who was courageously leading the UN effort in Iraq. His death represented the loss of a vital interlocutor between the US-led coalition and the international community at a critical <a href="http://www.unwire.org/unwire/20020723/27842_story.asp">moment</a> in relationships between the US, the UN, and the rest of the world.  Indeed, his very international <a href="/democracy-un_iraq/article_1449.jsp">stature</a> - including his role in helping to oversee the independence of East Timor from Indonesian rule, explicitly cited by al-Qaida as part of the twisted logic that justified his murder - had arguably made the UN in Iraq an even more visible and vulnerable target for terrorists.  </p> <p> In his brief period in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello had pleaded for greater understanding of the Iraqi street and its voices amid the chaos of post-war administration. These were ignored, and the silencing of this voice of reason marked the beginning of a bitter insurgency and civil war that raged in Iraq until 2005-06. It took a long time before much-needed shifts in Washington&#39;s military policy and thinking filtered through to better policy on the ground; even after six years, the security situation remains <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8208976.stm">unsettled</a> and the establishment of working relationships with Iraqi leaders have proved tough. How much of a difference Sergio Vieira de Mello would have made here is one of the many unanswered questions of this violent period (see Samantha Powell, <em><a href="http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780143114857,00.html?sym=REV">Chasing the Flame: One Man&#39;s Fight to Save the World</a></em> [Penguin, 2008]). </p> <p> The destruction of the Canal Hotel also marked the nadir of multilateralism, and an awful symbol of how the George W Bush administration&#39;s foreign-policy &quot;exceptionalism&quot; had <a href="/node/2081">destroyed</a> the promise of international cooperation. The leading officials of the administration in effect relegated the UN to the trash-heap of global institutions, opting instead for an approach to international relations that in the end served no interest but to wreak more death and <a href="/conflict/fallujah_2691.jsp">destruction</a> on the &quot;liberated&quot; citizens of Iraq. This posture had started to shift by the time the Bush administration neared its end in 2008-09, but the damage wrought by the events in Iraq was enduring.   </p> <p> The American military forces in Iraq - amounting to 130,000 troops - have as of 30 June 2009 officially <a href="http://www.rferl.org/content/US_Combat_Troops_To_Withdraw_From_Iraq_Cities/1765764.html">withdrawn</a> from major urban centres, as part of the process scheduled to lead to a final exit of troops by December 2011. The situation on the ground is now the responsibility of the Iraqi government&#39;s security forces, which have assumed the role of a state-security sector. There are signs of progress, including the existence of an <a href="http://www.mena-electionguide.org/electiondates.aspx/6/Iraq">elected</a> government (and the prospect of another round of parliamentary elections in <a href="http://www.electionguide.org/country.php?ID=104">January 2010</a>); progress in advancing the sovereignty of the Iraqi state, and in <a href="/article/iraq-acts-on-corruption">judicial</a> and other institutions; the development of the Iraqi economy; and greater participation of its citizens in governance.  </p> <p> But violent attacks <a href="http://www.rferl.org/content/Facing_Wave_Of_Violence_Iraqi_Shiite_Factions_Show_Restraint__For_Now/1799247.html">continue</a>, as in Baghdad <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/20/world/middleeast/20iraq.html?hp">itself</a> on the 19 August anniversary; the potential for further outbreaks persists (in <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/kurdish-faultline-threatens-to-spark-new-war-1769954.html">contested</a> cities such as Kirkuk, and elsewhere); and many Iraqis who fled abroad during the nightmare years are reluctant to return. It has been a longer and much more painful road than might have been travelled if wiser policies had been followed. </p> <p> <strong>Out of the rubble</strong> </p> <p> The perspective of six years also highlights the importance of the improved relationship between the United States and the United Nations that are the result of the election of <a href="/.../barack-obama-hope-fear-and-advice">Barack Obama</a> in November 2008. The new US president has outlined &quot;a new era of engagement&quot; in US foreign policy of which multilateralism is a cornerstone. It is a change that has profound implications for the UN, and is worth considering on this anniversary.    </p> <p> Some remarks by the US&#39;s permanent representative to the UN, <a href="http://www.usunnewyork.usmission.gov/ambassadors/current/srice.html">Susan Rice</a>, are in this respect a revealing <a href="http://www.usunnewyork.usmission.gov/press_releases/20090812_163.html">indicator</a> of the future direction of US diplomacy: </p> <p> &quot;When the United States joins others to confront these challenges, it&#39;s not charity. It&#39;s not even barter. In today&#39;s world, more than ever, America&#39;s interests and our values converge. What is good for others is often good for us. When we manifest our commitment to tackling the threats that menace so many other nations; when we invest in protecting the lives of others; and when we recognise that national security is no longer a zero-sum game, then we increase other countries&#39; will to cooperate on the issues most vital to us...We build will by pursuing pragmatic, principled policies and explain them with intelligence and candour. And in the broadest sense, we build will when others can see their future as aligned with ours...All of this helps explain why so many of America&#39;s security interests come together today at the United Nations.&quot; </p> <p> The UN general assembly will convene for its sixty-fourth <a href="http://www.un.org/ga/64/agenda/agenda.shtml">session</a> on 15 September 2009. President Obama&#39;s address will be an opportunity to reaffirm both the US&#39;s renewed support for multilateralism and the continued vitality of the ideals of <a href="/globalization-UN/article_2519.jsp">1945</a>: commitment to a strong international legal order, and to the universality of UN membership as the key source of legitimacy of the whole organisation&#39;s decision-making power. These commitments are both right in themselves and in America&#39;s own best interests, a combination that reflects secretary of state Hillary Clinton&#39;s <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2009a/01/115196.htm">emphasis</a> on the need for the US to pursue a &quot;smart power&quot; approach. </p> <p> Indeed, US and UN interests are set to <a href="http://www.un.org/ga/64/agenda/agenda.shtml">align</a> in the 2009-12 period on a host of issues: among them threats to peace and security, <a href="http://americasclimatechoices.org/">climate change</a>, global health concerns and managing humanitarian operations. That alignment will be reinforced if the US takes a leadership role in promoting reform of the UN where it is most needed, including in improving the secretariat and its agencies. </p> <p> A principled and effective multilateral policy by the Barack Obama administration is crucial to United States&#39;s rebuilding of its reputation in the community of nations, at a time of great fluidity and complexity in international relations. A strong US-UN <a href="http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2008/0924_united_nations_feinstein.aspx">relationship</a> will be a vital part of this effort. As both institutions seek to match the needs of this challenging new era, the best of the tragically brief first <a href="http://www.uniraq.org/default.asp">UN mission</a> in Iraq - the willingness to listen and as well as the need to be heard, the emphasis on cooperation, the instinct to engage - can be an inspiration. </p> <table border="0" cellspacing="5" cellpadding="5" width="500" height="200" bgcolor="#e3f2f9"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p> Also in <strong>openDemocracy</strong> on the Baghdad bomb of 19 August 2003 and its aftermath: </p> <p> Caspar Henderson &amp; David Hayes, &quot;<a href="/people/article_1445.jsp">Arthur Helton: a tribute</a>&quot; (21 August 2003) </p> <p> Guy S Goodwin-Gill, &quot;<a href="/democracy-un_iraq/article_1450.jsp">Arthur Helton: agent for the dispossessed</a>&quot; (22 August 2003) </p> <p> Sergio Vieira de Mello, &quot;<a href="/democracy-un_iraq/article_1449.jsp">A world of dignity</a>&quot; (24 August 2003) </p> <p> Anita Sharma, &quot;<a href="/democracy-un_iraq/article_1488.jsp">The UN Baghdad bombing: one month on</a>&quot; (17 September 2003) </p> <p> Gil Loescher, <a href="/conflict/article_1624.jsp">&#39;&quot;I was not going to die in the rubble&#39;</a>&quot; (4 December 2003) </p> <p> Gil Loescher, &quot;<a href="/conflict/article_2050.jsp">Living after tragedy: the UN Baghdad bomb, one year on</a>&quot;  (19 August 2004) </p> <p> Arthur C Helton &amp; Gil Loescher&#39;s fourteen openDemocracy columns can be found <a href="/author/Arthur_C_Helton.jsp">here</a> </p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p> &#160; </p> <table border="0" cellspacing="5" cellpadding="5" width="500" height="200" bgcolor="#e3f2f9"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p> Also in <strong>openDemocracy</strong> on the United Nations after Iraq: </p> <p> Patricia Lewis, &quot;<a href="/democracy-iraqwarquestions/article_1043.jsp">The UN and Iraq: time to get serious</a>&quot; (14 March 2003) </p> <p> Frank Vibert, &quot;<a href="/democracy-UN/article_1069.jsp">The new cosmopolitanism</a>&quot; (20 March 2003) </p> <p> Edward Mortimer, &quot;<a href="/globalization-UN/article_1117.jsp">Is the UN obsolete? A response to Frank Vibert</a>&quot; (2 April 2003) </p> <p> Phyllis Bennis, &quot;<a href="/globalization-UN/article_2274.jsp">Reform or die: the United Nations as second superpower</a>&quot; (16 December 2004) </p> <p> Kofi Annan, &quot;<a href="/globalization-UN/article_1956.jsp">America, the United Nations, and the world: a triple challenge</a>&quot; (17 June 2004) </p> <p> Dan Plesch, &quot;<a href="/globalization-UN/article_2519.jsp">The hidden history of the United Nations</a>&quot; (18 May 2005) </p> <p> Shashi Tharoor, &quot;<a href="/globalization-UN/renewal_2835.jsp">A United Nations for a fairer, safer world</a>&quot; (14 September 2005) </p> <p> Tony Millett, &quot;<a href="/globalization-UN/UN_3053.jsp">The UN&#39;s real history: a response to Dan Plesch</a>&quot; (22 November 2005) </p> <p> Fred Halliday, &quot;<a href="/globalization/un_3180.jsp">The United Nations vs the United States</a>&quot; (13 January 2006) </p> <p> David Mepham, &quot;<a href="/globalization-institutions_government/UN_leader_3860.jsp">The next United Nations leader: a time for transparency</a>&quot; (30 August 2006) </p> <p> Mariano Aguirre, &quot;<a href="/globalization-institutions_government/un_paradox_4073.jsp">Power and paradox in the United Nations</a>&quot; (7 November 2006) </p> <p> Carne Ross, &quot;<a href="/globalization-institutions_government/security_ross_4382.jsp">Music in the Security Council</a>&quot; (26 February 2007) </p> <p> Carne Ross, &quot;<a href="/article/united-nations-in-trouble-time-for-another-san-francisco">United Nations in trouble: time for another San Francisco</a>&quot; (12 November 2008) </p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p> &#160; </p> Conflict conflicts democracy & power the un & the iraq war american power & the world iraq: the human cost Johanna Mendelson Forman Creative Commons normal email Thu, 20 Aug 2009 15:55:50 +0000 Johanna Mendelson Forman 48510 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Open veins, closed minds https://www.opendemocracy.net/article/open-veins-closed-minds <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> 72 544x376 </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> Normal 0 21 false false false </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if !mso]> <object classid="clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D" id=ieooui> </object> <style> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </style> <![endif]--><style> </style><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Normale Tabelle"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> <p class="pullquote_new"> Peter DeShazo is <a href="http://www.csis.org/component/option,com_csis_experts/task,view/id,157/">director</a> of the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (<a href="http://www.csis.org/index.php">CSIS</a>) </p> <p> It is rare that a book makes headlines at an intergovernmental meeting - far less that it is propelled to the top of the bestseller lists as a result. The fact that the highest-profile politicians in the Americas - the presidents of Venezuela and the United States respectively - were <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-chavez-book21-2009apr21,0,1329265.story">involved</a> may have had something to do with it. In any event, Hugo Chávez&#39;s gift to Barack Obama of Eduardo Galeano&#39;s work <a href="http://openveins.fromthesquare.org/"><em>Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pi</em><em>l</em><em>lage of a Continent</em></a> at the <a href="/article/the-americas-and-washington-end-of-an-era">Summit of the Americas</a> in Trinidad &amp; Tobago on 17-19 April 2009 has done more than inject a dose of adrenaline into the Uruguayan author&#39;s classic anti-<em>yanqui</em> essay of 1971. It also raises the question of whether the book, and the intellectual outlook that it represents, offer a convincing or realistic guide to what Latin America needs and how its relationship with the United States should develop. </p> <p> <span class="pullquote_new">Johanna Mendelson Forman is <a href="http://www.csis.org/component/option,com_csis_experts/task,view/id,433/">senior associate</a> with the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (<a href="http://www.csis.org/index.php">CSIS</a>). Among her publications is <a href="http://www.csis.org/component/option,com_csis_pubs/task,view/id,5232/type,1/"><em>Investing in a New Unilateralism: A Smart Power Approach to the United Nations</em></a>(CSIS, January 2009) <br /> <br /> Also by Johanna Mendelson Forman in openDemocracy:<br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/globalization-institutions_government/article_1779.jsp">From the ashes: a multilateral mission?</a>&quot; (22 August 2003) <br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/globalization-UN/article_1641.jsp">The UN in 2003: a year of living dangerously</a>&quot; (18 December 2003)  <br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/globalization-institutions_government/article_1779.jsp">The nation-building trap: Haiti after Aristide</a>&quot; (11 March 2004) <br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/globalization-UN/article_2246.jsp">A 21st century mission? The UN high-level panel report</a>&quot; (25 November 2004) - with D Austin Hare <br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/globalization-UN/article_2389.jsp">In Larger Freedom: Kofi Annan&#39;s challenge</a>&quot; (23 March 2005) <br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/globalization-UN/summit_2845.jsp">President Bush discovers the world is flat</a>&quot; (19 September 2005) </span> </p> <p> <a href="/article/hugo-chavez-and-venezuela-a-leader-s-destiny">Hugo Chávez</a> is fond of the flamboyant and media-friendly gesture, but it may still puzzle new generations why he chose <em>this</em> book and not (say) a Venezuelan novel or a good biography of <a href="http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=0300110626">Simón Bolívar</a> to give to his US counterpart.  </p> <p> The answer lies in the way that the Venezuelan leader&#39;s own current political outlook here finds its <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/apr/20/hugo-chavez-barack-obama">symbol</a> in a polemical variant of &quot;dependency theory&quot; - the enormously influential school of thought that explained Latin America&#39;s <a href="http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780511159213&amp;ss=fro">economic</a> problems in terms of &quot;uneven development&quot; and (in its more radical versions) the systematic exploiting of the continent by capitalism and &quot;imperialism&quot;. In the cold-war era, the political implication often drawn was the need for a communist revolution <em>a la cubana</em> across Latin America as a whole. </p> <p> As graduate students back in the 1970s, we too were weaned on &quot;dependency theory&quot; and other such formulas for resolving &quot;underdevelopment&quot;. In that context it was easier, say, to attribute <a href="http://www.cambridge.org/uk/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521107570">economic collapse</a> and hyper-inflation in <a href="http://www.salvador-allende.cl/index.htm">Salvador Allende&#39;s</a> Chile to <em>gringo</em> machinations than to disastrous policy-making by the Chilean government itself. It was simpler too (as well as more romantic) to call for more <a href="http://www.groveatlantic.com/grove/bin/wc.dll?groveproc%7Egenauth%7E1149%7E1890%7EDESC">Ché Guevara</a>-style leaders to topple the bourgeois order than to take on the tedious work of constructing better societies in the Americas through democratic change, sustained economic growth, institutional reform, improved education, and well-calibrated social spending.  </p> <p> <strong>A generation&#39;s lesson</strong> </p> <p> These three decades have taught many lessons. A rereading of <a href="http://www.monthlyreview.org/books/openveinslatinamerica.php"><em>Open Veins...</em></a><em>.</em> in light of the subsequent experience of Latin America suggests two in particular. </p> <p> The first is the value of democracy, consolidated since the later 1980s in every country of the region save <a href="/article/raul-castro-and-cuba-reading-the-changes">Cuba</a>. Military dictatorships that dotted the landscape in the 1970s and 1980s are long gone, with meagre chance of return - in part because of vastly improved civil-military relations in the Americas. Alongside this development, the Marxist schemas that prescribed inevitable authoritarian control by the state and revolution as the only way ahead have been confounded. Instead, there has been great progress (in respect for human rights, for example) made by peaceful means and through the advance of civil society. </p> <p> True, there are wide variations and continuing problems. The institutions of democracy are fragile in many countries of the region, with legislative and judicial branches in several cases powerless in the face of a dominant executive. But this is still a far cry from the dictatorships of the era when Eduardo Galeano&#39;s book was published, when military intervention was used to crush dissent and manage social and economic problems. </p> <p> The second lesson is the power of good-quality macroeconomic policy in promoting development and reducing poverty. Chile, where the centre-left coalition that defeated <a href="/article/the-arrest-of-augusto-pinochet-ten-years-on">Augusto Pinochet</a> in the 1988 plebiscite has <a href="/article/chile-the-politics-of-patriarchy">held</a> power continuously since then, is the best example in the region. Many former supporters of Allende who were at the core of the coalition embraced market-friendly approaches whose effect has been to cut poverty by more than half and propel Chile closer to <a href="http://www.oecd.org/about/0,3347,en_33873108_39418658_1_1_1_1_1,00.html">OECD status</a>. The macroeconomic policies of the &quot;<a href="http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Economics/Developmental/?view=usa&amp;ci=9780199534098">Washington consensus</a>&quot; are now much maligned, but in many countries of the region (including the largest economies) they helped contribute to high-growth, low-debt and low-inflation outcomes that brought real benefits to the region&#39;s people.   </p> <p> <strong>A closer look </strong> </p> <p> The fact that Chávez and his friends in the <a href="http://www.alternativabolivariana.org/"><em>Alternativa Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América</em></a> (Alba) take the Galeano formula seriously is a sad commentary on the backward thinking of leaders who seek enemies to cover up domestic failures of governance and accountability, at a time when serious economic and social policy-making is needed to overcome the region&#39;s glaring <a href="/article/the-killing-fields-of-inequality">inequality</a>. It would be better for these Latin American governments to look to east Asia, where major investments in education, technology, research and development and infrastructure have transformed societies in the region.  </p> <p> Chavez&#39;s gift of <em>Open Veins </em>to Obama<em> </em>may have <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8007472.stm">catapulted</a> the book to bestseller status; but the act reveals a political mindset that in past years had begun to fade around the Americas. The instinct to blame the <em>gringos</em> for domestic shortcomings had largely evolved into a tool of last resort -  and not a very effective one. That Hugo Chávez, <a href="/article/evo-morales-and-bolivia-the-next-campaign">Evo Morales</a> of <a href="/article/bolivia-new-constitution-new-definition">Bolivia</a>, and <a href="/democracy-protest/ortega_4070.jsp">Daniel Ortega</a> of <a href="/article/nicaragua-a-scene-of-heartbreak">Nicaragua</a> have taken it up again says more about their own closed minds than about the United States and its role in Latin America. In the end, &quot;anti-imperialism&quot; won&#39;t produce the natural gas that Bolivia needs for its development nor will a rerun of dependency theory bring clean elections and sustained economic growth to Nicaragua.  </p> <p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> 72 544x376 </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> Normal 0 21 false false false </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><style> </style><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Normale Tabelle"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]-->Barack Obama should reciprocate the summit gift by providing copies of his own book, <a href="http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl/9780307237699.html"><em>The Audacity of Hope</em></a>, to Chávez and his Alba partners. The US president wrote there: &quot;Let me suggest at least one area where we can act unilaterally to improve our standing in the world - by perfecting our own democracy and leading by example.&quot; If relations between the United States and Latin America are going to improve, the Alba leaders need to take a fresh look at the United States, its democracy and its society.  </p> <p> ------------------------------------- </p> <p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> 72 544x376 </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> Normal 0 21 false false false </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><style> </style><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Normale Tabelle"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> </p> <p> Among recent articles in <strong>openDemocracy</strong> on Latin American politics: </p> <ul> <li>Celia Szusterman, &quot;<a href="/article/argentina-celebrating-democracy">Argentina: celebrating democracy</a>&quot; (19 December 2008) </li> <li>Sergio Aguayo Quezada, &quot;<a href="/article/mexico-a-state-of-failure">Mexico: a state of failure</a>&quot; (17 February 2009) </li> <li>Adam Isacson, &quot;<a href="/article/colombias-imperilled-democracy">Colombia&#39;s imperilled democracy</a>&quot; (6 March 2009) </li> <li>Victor Valle, &quot;<a href="/article/el-salvador-s-long-march">El Salvador&#39;s long march</a>&quot; (20 March 2009) </li> <li>Juan Gabriel Tokatlian, &quot;<a href="/article/barack-obamas-drug-policy-time-for-change">Barack Obama&#39;s drug policy: time for change</a>&quot; (15 April 2009) </li> <li>Ivan Briscoe, &quot;<a href="/article/the-americas-and-washington-end-of-an-era">The Americas and Washington: moving on</a>&quot; (17 April 2009) </li> <li>Antoni Kapcia, &quot;<a href="/article/raul-castro-and-cuba-reading-the-changes">Raúl Castro and Cuba: reading the changes</a>&quot; (22 April 2009) </li> <li>Guy Hedgecoe, &quot;<a href="/article/rafael-correa-an-ecuadorian-journey">Rafael Correa: an Ecuadorian journey</a>&quot; (29 April 2009)</li> <li>Enrique Krauze, &quot;<a href="/article/hugo-chavez-and-venezuela-a-leader-s-destiny">Hugo Chávez and Venezuela: a leader&#39;s destiny</a>&quot; (1 May 2009) </li> </ul> democracy & power american power & the world latin america Johanna Mendelson Forman Peter DeShazo Creative Commons normal email Fri, 08 May 2009 13:12:15 +0000 Johanna Mendelson Forman and Peter DeShazo 47885 at https://www.opendemocracy.net President Bush discovers the world is flat https://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization-UN/summit_2845.jsp <p>President George W Bush&#146;s speech on the opening day of the 2005 United Nations World Summit, 14 September 2005, revealed that he had made a startling discovery: the world really is <a href=http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/worldisflat.htm target=_blank>flat</a>. </p> <p>In a <a href=http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/09/20050914.html target=_blank>speech</a> focusing on poverty reduction, development, and security, the president devoted almost a third of his text to the link between poverty alleviation, trade, and debt reduction; he even uttered three words that some had previously thought unspeakable in conservative foreign-policy circles: &#147;We are committed to the Millennium Development Goals...&#148; <div><div class="pull_quote_article"><p><b><a href=http://www.unfoundation.org/about/staff/forman.asp target=_blank>Johanna Mendelson Forman</a> is director of peace, security and human rights policy at the UN Foundation, and a senior associate of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Among her earlier articles on openDemocracy are: </b></p> <p>&#147;Things Kofi Annan can do now&#148; (<a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1169">April 2003</a>) </p><p> &#147;From the ashes: a multilateral mission?&#148; (<a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1452">August 2003</a>) </p><p>(with D Austin Hare) &#147;A 21st-century mission? The UN High-Level Panel report&#148; (<a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=2246">November 2004</a>) </p> <p> &#147;<em>In Larger Freedom</em>: Kofi Annan&#146;s challenge&#148; (<a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=2389">March 2005</a>)</p> <p>If you find this material valuable please consider supporting <b>openDemocracy</b> by sending us a <a href="/registration2/donate.jsp">donation</a> so that we can continue our work and keep it free for all</p> </div><p>Bush, moreover, connected the pursuit of these goals to international cooperation. Globalisation, the engine of development and poverty reduction, can be achieved if we work in partnership with others: </p> <blockquote> &#147;We must tear down the walls that separate the developed and developing worlds. We need to give the citizens of the poorest nations the same ability to access the world economy that wealthy nations have, so they can offer their goods and talents on the world market alongside everyone else.&#148;</blockquote> <p>The president&#146;s <a href=http://www.isn.ethz.ch/news/sw/details.cfm?id=12839 target=_blank>conversion</a> to development as a remedy for global poverty owes more to his recognition of the linkage between failing states and terrorism than to the more progressive elements of his Republican Party roots. Such a connection was clearly made in the United States&#146;s new National Security Strategy promulgated in 2002; it continues to be the guiding force behind the increasing levels of bilateral development assistance in a post-9/11 world. Nonetheless, Bush&#146;s rededication to development at the <a href=http://www.un.org/summit2005/ target=_blank>world summit</a> marked an important rapprochement with an institution where, since the war in Iraq, the US has been at loggerheads with the basic principles of multilateralism in general and the United Nations in particular. </p> <p>George W Bush&#146;s very presence at the UN had been in doubt in the weeks before the institution&#146;s sixtieth anniversary. During pre-summit discussions, US policy-makers were firm in their rejection of any American requirement to contribute 0.7% of its GDP annually to foreign assistance to meet the Millennium Development Goals (<a href=http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/ target=_blank>MDG</a>) of reducing global poverty by 2015. The new US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, even suggested that the term &#147;Millennium Development Goals&#148; be excised from the summit&#146;s final document. </p> <p>The approach backfired: the controversy arising from Bolton&#146;s late intervention had the effect of making the MDGs a household word, and the international and US press had a field day with Bolton&#146;s audacious attempt to insult the developing world by removing such a key term. </p> <p>A detail helped secure the US&#146;s reversal of its pressure to delete reference to the Millennium Development Goals: it was recalled that President Bush&#146;s support for the US&#146;s own <a href=http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/march02/bush_3-22.html target=_blank>Millennium Challenge Account</a> during the Monterey Conference on Development in March 2002 meant that he had already <a href=http://www.interaction.org/development/enabling.html target=_blank>committed</a> his administration to a &#147;new compact for development defined by greater accountability for rich and poor nations, alike&#148;. </p> <p>A cynic might argue that the dispute over John Bolton&#146;s attempt to <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=2813">derail</a> negotiations of the summit outcome document made Bush&#146;s appearance at the UN essential. After it, the argument runs, the only way for Bush&#146;s combative &#147;<a href=http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/08/images/20050801_p080105pm-0119jpg-515h.html target=_blank>recess appointment</a>&#148; to maintain credibility would be to produce his boss at the UN.</p> <p>But a more careful analysis demonstrates that the Bush administration &#150; Bolton or no Bolton &#150; does see some benefit in working with others when it comes to fighting terrorism, seeking trade agreements, or preventing the spread of infectious diseases. In this light, it is highly significant that Bush&#146;s speech contained a strong affirmation of the importance of the UN to certain US policy priorities &#150; including the promotion of freedom and democracy, the fight against global terrorism, debt eradication, and reform of the reprobate human rights commission.</p> <p>George W Bush recalled Franklin D Roosevelt&#146;s <a href=http://usinfo.state.gov/is/Archive/2005/Sep/06-534246.html target=_blank>1945 appeal</a> to multilateral problem-solving, saying that &#147;the structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man or one party or one nation. Peace is the responsibility of every nation and every generation.&#148; The conclusion could hardly be more affirmative: &#147;at the start of a new century, the world needs the United Nations to live up to its ideals and fulfill its mission.&#148;</p> <p><b>A US learning-curve? </b></p> <p>Despite these fresh noises, it is still unclear whether Bush&#146;s visit to the UN will prove a turning-point. John Bolton, after all, did succeed in removing many of the important recommendations for UN reform, overturning months of deliberation among member-states (and reversing earlier work by the United States itself). </p> <p>Three examples must suffice. </p> <p>First, the final document makes no mention of controlling nuclear proliferation, a gap that Secretary-General Kofi Annan <a href=http://us.rediff.com/news/2005/sep/14pmun2.htm?q=tp&file=.htm target=_blank>called</a> &#147;a real disgrace&#148;. </p> <p>Second, the US failed to get a much-needed commitment from other member-states to reform the arcane bureaucratic morass in the secretariat, which would have enabled it to address some of the oversight needs and personnel reforms required after the oil-for-food scandal that has consumed the UN&#146;s leadership for more than a year. </p> <p>Third, and ironically, the US gave only lukewarm support to one of the more crucial needs of the UN if it is to be truly representative of the global community in the 21st century: <a href=http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/112712011524.htm target=_blank>expansion</a> of the Security Council to include existing or emerging economic powerhouses (Japan, India, Brazil, Germany) and to ensure that the European Union, Latin America, and Africa have access to the centre of international legal rulemaking. </p> <p>It is too early to declare this world summit a failure. Getting principles about a <a href=http://www.globalsolutions.org/programs/intl_instit/UN_ref/peacebuilding_commission.html target=_blank>Peacebuilding Commission</a> and a reformed <a href=http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/HRW/5d6d033d92f62e0db1eece5bb1706123.htm target=_blank>Human Rights Council</a> on the table are achievements in and of themselves; so is the recognition of a &#147;responsibility to protect&#148; to prevent genocide. But what remains to be demonstrated is whether the US has the will to assert leadership in making the UN a more effective tool of international policy; will it support, through resources and diplomacy, the changes needed to match the rhetoric displayed in public statements like the president&#146;s own summit speech? </p> <p>If the Bush administration is going to answer this question, a primary <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1452">lesson from Iraq</a> should be at the forefront of its thinking (at a moment when the president&#146;s approval ratings are falling over <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=2839">Iraq</a> as well as hurricane <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=2808">Katrina</a>). This is that trying to assemble a &#147;coalition of the willing&#148; outside the recognised structures of international law may be difficult in future confrontations that are bound to challenge an already overtaxed US foreign and military policy. </p></div><div><div class="pull_quote_article"><p><b>openDemocracy writers <a href="/globalization-UN/debate.jsp">debate</a> &#147;A democratic United Nations?&#148; :</b></p> <p><a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=2813">Dan Plesch</a>, &#147;The United Nations in Bush&#146;s firing-line&#148; </p> <p><a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=2336">Ian Williams</a>, &#147;It&#146;s the nations, stupid!&#148; </p> <p><a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=2841">Julie Mertus</a>, &#147;The United Nations reform drive: a response to Ian Williams&#148; </p> </div><p>Now more than ever, the US must turn to the UN if it is to fulfill its counter-terrorism agenda by peaceful means. It is not too early to prevent violence and unilateral solutions in relation to deepening tension with <a href=http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=2005-09-18T072941Z_01_HO826559_RTRUKOC_0_UK-NUCLEAR-IRAN-IAEA.xml target=_blank>Iran</a> or a North Korea where recent diplomatic <a href=http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/PEK20882.htm target=_blank>progress</a> is always vulnerable to sudden refreezing &#150; but doing so will require serious diplomatic skills, not just words. </p> <p>Whether John Bolton is up to this job is still untested. He may have a hard time getting what the United States really wants in an institution not known for its speed and which works only by consensus. 2006 will determine whether the UN can celebrate its sixty-first birthday, or whether a different set of proposals altogether &#150; replacing it with a &#147;<a href=http://www.state.gov/g/drl/c10790.htm target=_blank>community of democratic states</a>&#148; &#150; will gain traction on the global agenda. </p> </div></p> Globalisation a democratic united nations? Johanna Mendelson Forman Creative Commons normal Sun, 18 Sep 2005 23:00:00 +0000 Johanna Mendelson Forman 2845 at https://www.opendemocracy.net In Larger Freedom: Kofi Annan's challenge https://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization-vision_reflections/article_2389.jsp <div class="pull_quote_article"> <div class="pull_quote"> <p> <strong>Also in <strong>openDemocracy</strong> on UN reform for the 21st century:</strong> </p> <p> <strong>Johanna Mendelson Forman, “Things Kofi Annan can do now” (<a href="/debates/article-3-113-1169.jsp" target="_blank"> April 2003 </a>)</strong> </p> <p> <strong><strong> <p> <strong>Simona Milio &amp; Francesco Grillo, “The mother of all questions: how to reform global governance” (<a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1197">May 2003</a>)</strong> </p> <p> <strong>Kofi Annan, “America, the United Nations, and the world: a triple challenge” (<a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1956">June 2004</a>) </strong> </p> <p> <strong>Paul Kingsnorth (with responses from Frances Stewart, James Putzel, and Johanna Mendelson Forman), “How to save the world: poverty, security, and nation–building” <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1971">June 2004</a>) </strong> </p> <p> <strong>Phyllis Bennis, “Reform or die: the United Nations as second superpower” (<a href="/debates/article-6-27-2274.jsp" target="_blank"> November 2004 </a></strong> </p> <p> <strong>If you find our work on this issue valuable, please consider <a href="/SUPPORT9.html" target="_blank"> supporting</a> <strong>openDemocracy</strong> - and joining the debate in our <a href="/debates/debate-6-27.jsp" target="_blank"> forums</a></strong> </p> </strong></strong> </p> </div> <p> The report of United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, <em>In Larger Freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all</em>, eloquently catalogues the global challenges of the international community in the 21st century. This ambitious document both builds on the work of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change that <a href="http://www.un.org/secureworld/" target="_blank">reported</a> its findings on threats to collective security in November 2004, and crystallises the discussion of the UN’s need to reconfigure in order to address a world where nation-states are either unprepared or incapable of meeting new, transnational threats. </p> <p> Media stories after the report’s <a href="http://www.un.org/largerfreedom/contents.htm" target="_blank">release</a> on 21 March 2005 have paid far too much attention to recommendations about expanding the <a href="http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/analysis/view/138628/1/.html" target="_blank"> Security Council’s </a>permanent membership. But there are many other more immediate issues that the UN must consider if it is to remain true to its founding ideals - the expansion of freedom and the protection of human rights - and relevant to the issues that will dominate its next sixty years. <a href="http://www.earthinstitute.columbia.edu/endofpoverty/oda.html" target="_blank">Poverty</a>, conflict, infectious diseases, environmental degradation and weapons proliferation – all contribute to human insecurity in 2005, and all represent threats that have emerged since the charter framers created the UN in 1945. </p> <p> The global character of these new issues, and the way they combine security, rights and development concerns, explain why the UN has reached a point where it must reinvent itself for the future. Whether the concern is fighting terrorism, managing an HIV/Aids crisis, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), or environmental threats, the scale of the problems makes it impossible for nation-states to cope on their own. The UN is the only forum where the international community can come together to discuss and agree action at the level and with the authority required. In this respect, the report’s presentation to the New York summit in September, designed to measure progress towards achieving the <a href="http://www.undp.org/mdg/" target="_blank"> Millennium Development Goals</a>, will be a crucial test. </p> <p> The report’s central message is that security and development are deeply linked: without one, the other is imperiled. Why emphasise this now? Because increasing rhetoric about the need for a “security first” approach since the 1990s has not been matched in reality. A decade of civil wars and emergencies, alongside the mixed experience of <a href="http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0862135.html" target="_blank"> UN peacekeeping operations </a> (in Rwanda, Somalia, Cambodia, East Timor, <a href="/debates/article-6-28-1779.jsp" target="_blank"> Haiti </a> and Congo, for example) have made the international community aware that armed interventions alone are inadequate to restore security, the economy or justice to post-war, post-dictatorship or simply “failed” states. </p> <p> As a result, the international community has come to understand that seeking to ensure security without engaging with a wider human development agenda will fail. Iraq is the most visible recent model where security faltered and thus development was postponed; it also shows that the “developmentalisation” of security, using armies instead of civilian experts to rebuild states – and without the central involvement of the United Nations – ultimately results in failure. </p> <p> If this is the argument of <a href="http://www.un.org/News/ossg/sg/pages/sg_biography.html" target="_blank"> Kofi Annan’s</a> report, what are its politics? Some observers have seen its focus on threats to global security that reflect United States policy priorities – counter-terrorism, infectious diseases, the spread of WMD, and corruption – as pandering to the interests of the lone superpower. Moreover, the replacement of the <a href="http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/2/chr.htm" target="_blank"> Commission on Human Rights</a> by a smaller body elected by two-thirds of the general assembly will certainly make some Washington bureaucrats smile. But again, media comment can ignore deeper realities – in this case, that the report’s recommendations can only be implemented if the UN’s member-states muster the requisite will. Here, the politics of the report may be more <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A53457-2005Mar21.html" target="_blank"> challenging</a> to current United States policy than it might appear. </p> <p> There are several imponderables: whether the report can help ultimately forge a new <a href="http://www.unfoundation.org/media_center/press/2005/pr_032105.asp" target="_blank"> relationship</a> with the US, whether its proposed reforms will actually be implemented by the 191 member-states, and whether a fight over the composition of an expanded Security Council will block the process. But what the report has already achieved is to elevate Kofi Annan above the fray of US <a href="http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20050110&amp;s=williams" target="_blank"> partisan politics </a> by sounding an alarm to the world’s nation-states about urgent global crises that demand a coordinated response in which the UN plays a critical role. </p> <p> The logic is plain. A world where the United States remains isolated from the international community is a world that will also suffer from a lack of capacity to resolve the most acute challenges we face. Kofi Annan’s presentation of <em>In Larger Freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all</em> to the world may be a gift not only to the survival of the United Nations, but also to the future of international law and human rights. </p> </div> Globalisation a democratic united nations? institutions & government visions & reflections Johanna Mendelson Forman Original Copyright Wed, 23 Mar 2005 00:00:00 +0000 Johanna Mendelson Forman 2389 at https://www.opendemocracy.net A 21st century mission? The UN high-level panel report https://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization-vision_reflections/article_2246.jsp <p> The United Nations has reached a crisis of mission. Created from the vision of second world war leadership, the grand bargain of 1945 provided a forum that all governments could participate in even if not as equal partners. The notion of collective security embodied at the core of the UN charter not only served as an important deterrent to nuclear destruction in the cold war, but also laid the foundation to address the threats that emerged after the world lost its bipolar superpower system. <div><div class="pull_quote_article">Also in openDemocracy on the UN&#146;s search for a new global role: <p><ul> <li> Simona Milio & Francesco Grillo, &#147;The mother of all questions: how to reform global governance&#148; (<a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1197">May 2003</a>) </li> <li> Kofi Annan, &#147;America, the United Nations, and the world: a triple challenge&#148; (<a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1956">June 2004</a>) </li> <li> Paul Kingsnorth (with responses from Frances Stewart, James Putzel, and Johanna Mendelson Forman), &#147;How to save the world: poverty, security, and nation&#150;building&#148; <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1971">June 2004</a>) </li> <p></p></ul> If you find our work on this issue unique and valuable, please<a href= http://www.opendemocracy.net/SUPPORT9.html target=_blank> subscribe</a> for just &pound;25 / $40 / €40. You&#146;ll gain access to easy&#150;to&#150;read PDFs of this and other articles.</p></div><p> The events of 11 September 2001 created a new international reality coloured by terrorism, and the flexing of United States muscle in response. The UN immediately stepped up to the challenge of 9/11 through <a href=http://www.un.org/Docs/sc/ target=_blank>Security Council</a> resolutions committing the UN to fight terrorism and support a legal framework that would facilitate the capture or neutralisation of the perpetrators of such acts. And the UN supported the war in Afghanistan to go after the Taliban and its agents who had harboured and trained terrorists. </p><p> But when rumours of war against Saddam Hussein&#146;s regime in Iraq emerged, a key difference emerged: the UN sought <em>process</em> (the continuation of inspections to find weapons of mass destruction) &#150; while the US wanted <em>action</em> (a war to prevent a possible nuclear holocaust). </p><p> The result was a confrontation of wills between the US and members of the Security Council in February 2003 when that body refused to support a collective action against Iraq. The war that followed, conducted without the blessing of UN action, but by a &#147;coalition of the willing&#148;, led to what the UN secretary&#150;general Kofi Annan ultimately described as a &#147;<a href=http://www.un-globalsecurity.org target=_blank>fork in the road</a>.&#148; </p><p> It was this point of decision that created the circumstances for the appointment of a High&#150;Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change &#150; a <a href=http://www.un-globalsecurity.org/panel.asp#1 target=_blank>commission</a> of sixteen eminent persons that would assess the global threats of the new millennium and propose bold recommendations for action that international institutions might take to effectively respond to those threats. </p><p> In addition to the fallout over Iraq, two other factors influenced <a href=http://www.un.org/News/ossg/sg/index.shtml target=_blank>Kofi Annan</a>&#146;s creation of this panel: his concern for the welfare of people in the developing world whose survival is menaced by disease, environmental degradation, and extreme poverty as well as by war; and the need to set an ambitious agenda for conferences that will mark the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations in 2005. </p><p> <strong>What&#146;s on the agenda, and what&#146;s not</strong> </p><p> The high&#150;level panel (HLP) has <a href=http://www.globalpolicy.org/reform/initiatives/panels/high/0513odi.htm target=_blank>identified</a> six categories of global threats (see box). These will be addressed, reportedly without prioritisation, in the panel&#146;s final report, due to appear on 2 December 2oo4. This panel seeks to issue strong policy recommendations that build on the knowledge base of commissions past and provide operational utility. </p></div><div><div class="pull_quote_article">The <a href=http://www.un-globalsecurity.org/1 target=_blank>UN High&#150;Level Panel</a> on Threats, Challenges and Change has identified six kinds of global threats that need concerted action by the international community. These are: <ul> <li> poverty, infectious disease, and environmental factors </li> <li> conflict within states </li> <li> conflict between states </li> <li> terrorism</li> <li> organised crime </li> <li> proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and arms proliferation generally</li> </ul> <p> The panel issues its final report on 2 December 2004. </p></div><p> In order to maximise the United Nations&#146; capacity to respond to these various threats, the panel&#146;s report is expected to propose various institutional and procedural reforms. Among the stumbling&#150;blocks the panel is considering are: the limited role and effectiveness of the general assembly; the cumbrous nature of its economic organs; and, most controversially, the lack of representativeness that many states perceive in the Security Council. </p><p> Debates about expanding the council to accommodate more permanent members are nearly as old as the institution itself. The most vocal current <a href=http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/www/en/aussenpolitik/vn/vereinte_nationen/d_im_sicherheitsrat/vier_html target=_blank>contenders</a> for a permanent seat are Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan. It is not clear what specific recommendations the panel will issue, nor whether augmenting the number of permanent seats on the council would necessarily entail a commensurate extension of the coveted veto. What is clear is that the <a href=http://www.un.org/Docs/sc/unsc_members.html target=_blank>permanent five</a> (&#147;P5&#148; &#150; Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States) have not shown an inkling of support for any such measure &#150; and their support is required for the amendment of the UN charter that this would entail. </p><p> The scope of panel deliberations is not limited just to the UN apparatus and its possible reform. It also reaches to international financial institutions and regional organisations, such as Nato, the European Union, and the African Union. The panel is charged to determine what further contributions these might make to sustaining international peace and security, particularly in the areas of failed states and global economic threats. </p><p> <strong>When to intervene, and how</strong> </p><p> One of the most controversial issues before the HLP, and one that promises to be a focus of the report, is the question of when a state can legitimately use force against another. </p><p> Sharp public divisions over this issue &#150; how, when, in what form and under whose authorisation one state may take arms against another &#150; have endured since the US government first announced its intention to invade Iraq and depose its leader. In the context of what now appears to be a shared transatlantic <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=2237">interest</a> in reconciliation, this debate may soon resume. </p><p> There is also severe dispute over the legitimacy of humanitarian intervention; that is, whether states can intervene in the affairs of other states who fail to ensure the security of their own citizens. People who answer yes to this question argue that when a state&#146;s citizens suffer serious harm without the state&#146;s own attempt to redress this &#150; as a result of civil conflict, state&#150;sponsored repression, or state failure &#150; the state&#146;s interest in preserving its sovereignty is outweighed by an international &#147;<a href=http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/iciss-ciise/report-en.asp target=_blank>responsibility to protect </a>&#148; its citizens. </p><p> States&#146; failure to intervene in <a href=http://www.amahoro.nl/linda/bookctm.htm target=_blank>Rwanda</a> during the 1994 genocide that killed around 800,000 people in four months proved so devastating that it created a new groundswell of support within the international community for humanitarian intervention. By contrast, the intervention launched by the international community in <a href=http://yalepress.yale.edu/YupBooks/viewbook.asp?isbn=0300097255 target=_blank>Kosovo</a> in 1999 provoked many observers within the same circles to question its legitimacy &#150; on the grounds that intervention had not been conducted under Nato leadership rather than UN authority, that the interveners had fallen prey to the sectarian interests of secessionists, or that the abuses had not reached the level required to provide &#147;just cause&#148; for intervention. </p><p> The US diplomatic campaign to convince allies of the need to intervene in Iraq, which culminated in US secretary of state Colin Powell&#146;s <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1002">presentation</a> to the Security Council in February 2003 concerning Iraq&#146;s supposed nuclear arsenal, only magnified concerns about the use of pretexts to launch interventions without UN sanction. Those who would reserve to the United Nations exclusive authority to approve armed interventions contend that the UN lends legitimacy and transparency by virtue of the inevitable bargaining that takes place in order for consensus to be reached. However, those who take this position also concede that the UN is not itself capable of conducting such missions. </p><p> The question over intervention also raises the issue of post&#150;conflict peacebuilding? The HLP might recommend a more coherent way to mobilise the UN&#146;s capacity to help rebuild war&#150;torn societies in a way that moves beyond reconstruction to address support for the political development that so often is essential to ensure progress in promoting a more stable and secure environment. Resolving internal conflicts and implementing post&#150;conflict settlements will require a comprehensive approach to peacebuilding that draws together the more than fifteen UN agencies engaged in these fields. </p><p> <strong>Terrorism, poverty and&#133; democracy</strong> </p><p> The panel report will also address <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1865">terrorism</a>, and in economic and political as well as tactical terms. There is a clear lack in this field of comprehensive understanding of &#147;root causes&#148;: that is, the social and historical frameworks within which terrorists operate and the impetuses for &#147;terrorist ideologies&#148;. </p><p> The attacks of 19 August 2003 on the UN headquarters in Baghdad, and of 11 March 2004 on commuter trains in <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1808">Madrid</a>, emphasised the willingness of terrorists to strike in pursuit of defined political objectives, not just (as on 9/11) against potent symbols of the prevailing international order. Consequently, the international community has become more alert to the proliferating terrorist networks witnessed in nearly every corner of the globe, conducting joint efforts to track, foil, and capture their operatives. </p><p> Among the primary security concerns of many nations is the potential for terrorists or rogue states to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction. While the United Nations has not traditionally been a central player in the area of nuclear&#150;arms control, it has played a significant role in preventing nuclear&#150;arms proliferation. The current challenge for the UN is to build on progress made with the establishment of international arms&#150;control mechanisms such as the <a href=http://www.fas.org/nuke/control/npt/ target=_blank>Nuclear Non&#150; Proliferation Treaty</a> and the <a href=http://www.fas.org/nuke/control/ctbt/ target=_blank>Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty</a>, and organisations such as the <a href=http://www.iaea.org/About/index.html target=_blank>International Atomic Energy Agency</a>, to articulate stronger standards and develop more credible enforcement mechanisms. </p><p> Again, such hard&#150;security issues that appear to demand a collective response to threats equally raise the role of conflict prevention as an essential ingredient in promoting <a href=http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=32593&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html target=_blank>development</a> and alleviating poverty. Many people around the world perceive an unjust social and economic order imposed on them by forces that are, at best, indifferent to their development needs. Hence, the high&#150;level panel may propose a new &#147;bargain&#148; involving an exchange of commitments between the global north (which urgently requires cooperation from the south on counter&#150;terrorism) and the global south (which needs increased support from the north on development objectives). </p></div><div><div class="pull_quote_article">On openDemocracy, Johanna Mendelson Forman tracks the critical situation facing the United Nations between 9/11, Iraq, and the next global political order: <ul> <li> &#147;Things Kofi Annan can do now&#148; (<a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1169">April 2003</a>) </li> <li> &#147;From the ashes: a multilateral mission?&#148; (<a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1452">August 2003</a>) </li> <li> &#147;The UN in 2003: a year of living dangerously&#148; (<a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1641">December 2003</a>) </li> <li> &#147;The nation&#150;building trap: Haiti after Aristide&#148; (<a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1779">March 2004</a>)</li> </ul> <p> To access these and other articles, please <a href= http://www.opendemocracy.net/SUPPORT9.html target=_blank>subscribe</a> to <strong>openDemocracy</strong> </p></div><p> Developing states seek to obtain affirmation from industrialised states that economics and security are mutually dependent, and accordingly, to negotiate policies that encourage investments in their economies. Such investments, they argue, would bolster employment, reduce conflict, and improve state capacity to respond to health and environmental crises. Likewise, developing&#150;world democracies point out that reinforcing good governance has been a key element in resolving some of the world&#146;s fiercest conflicts. Democratic governance will be of scant value and of uncertain sustainability, however, if economic conditions continue to deteriorate at the rapid rate witnessed in many corners of the world &#150; particularly in <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=2230">Africa</a>, but also in <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=2059">Latin America</a> and <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1840">south Asia</a>. </p><p> Can the panel evoke a new &#147;grand bargain&#148; for the 21st century that will ensure that north and south together reinforce the security demands of the rich while addressing the development deficits of the poor? Can a group of sixteen eminent leaders speak for the consensus of nations at a time when there is only one superpower whose direction appears to veer more toward unilateral approaches to global solutions than to multilateralism? </p><p> The answers will become clear on and after 2 December. What is already <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1956">evident</a> is that as the United Nations approaches its sixtieth year, the political timeliness of this report, the interest it has already generated, and the enormity of the issues it addresses, all suggest that the high&#150;level panel&#146;s effort will be widely discussed as a potential roadmap for action to repair a fractured world. </p><p> <em>The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not represent the programme or policy of the UN Foundation.</em> </p><p> </p></div></p> Globalisation a democratic united nations? visions & reflections D Austin Hare Johanna Mendelson Forman Original Copyright Thu, 25 Nov 2004 00:00:00 +0000 D Austin Hare and Johanna Mendelson Forman 2246 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The nation-building trap: Haiti after Aristide https://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization-institutions_government/article_1779.jsp <p> The <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3543355.stm" target="_blank">departure</a> from Haiti of its president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, marks the opening of a new chapter in the history of that unlucky country. It is also the end of an era of nation-building that demonstrates that the United States, and the international community in general, are unwilling to demonstrate full commitment in a place where winning the peace might have been possible. </p> <div class="pull_quote_article"> <div class="pull_quote"> This article was written in cooperation with <strong>Rick Barton</strong>, co-director of the post-conflict reconstruction project at the Center for Strategic &amp; International Studies in Washington D.C. </div> <p> The crucial period in their failure was after 1994, when Aristide was restored to the presidency by force of US arms after a three-year exile. Then, the fitful largesse of the international donor community meant that Haiti’s greatest resource – its own citizens – were not given a chance to reclaim their own country. </p> <p> The international community did supply peacekeepers under the United Nations rubric, but it did not build a social safety-net for the majority of Haitians who were illiterate or untouched by the benefits of modern life: clean water, decent housing and adequate medical care. The incomplete efforts to build new judicial and governing institutions – the small, inadequate police force being the most representative example – contributed to the events of February-March 2004, when gangs of thugs, supported by opposition leaders, occupied provincial cities then marched on the capital, <a href="http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/americas/haiti.gif" target="_blank">Port au Prince</a>. </p> </div> <div class="pull_quote_article"> <div class="pull_quote"> For a “Rough guide to Haiti” please click <a href="#one">here</a> </div> <p> In this light, Haiti must be seen in the broader perspective of a more recent doctrine, “humanitarian intervention”. This enjoins the international community with a “duty to protect” citizens of a state who face imminent danger to life and liberty. Even though in 1994 US-led international peacekeepers were permitted to enter Haiti, the “duty to protect” Haitians in the real sense of that term was <a href="http://www.brook.edu/dybdocroot/fp/projects/intervention.htm" target="_blank">not fulfilled</a>. </p> <p> <strong>From hope to hell</strong> </p> <p> Ten years ago, a group of us went to <a href="http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/cross-cutting_programs/transition_initiatives/country/haiti/index.html" target="_blank">Haiti</a> to help rebuild a society torn apart by political unrest and violence. As part of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) first efforts to address the transitions of the post-cold war era, we formed the core of the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) – a small office inside <a href="http://www.usaid.gov/faqs.html" target="_blank">USAID</a> dedicated to the political development of post-conflict countries. Unlike other types of development work in Haiti, OTI sought to address the most immediate issues that could make or break the restoration of <a href="http://www.haiti.org/aristide-bio.htm" target="_blank">President Aristide</a>. </p> <p> We had two main concerns. The first was security. We were dedicated to the demobilisation and reintegration of the Haitian army, bringing closure to an institution whose repressive power had dominated Haiti’s <a href="http://www.haiti.org/keydate.htm" target="_blank">history</a>. Within six months, the demobilisation programme was underway, with vocational training and support for former soldiers a key factor in the stabilisation of the country. </p> <p> The second concern was with the local communities where 75% of Haiti’s 8 million people lived. We undertook a community development programme where small grants, given to any party willing to work on a project that would benefit the community, could help to jump-start economic life. Our ability to move quickly, to disperse funding, and to work with other agencies, including the American military, made it possible to create some tangible results quickly. </p> <p> Our community development programmes dispersed resources to community projects: school repairs, water works, replacing small bridges, reforestation. With these came the seeds of local governance as our staff helped Haitians convene meetings to decide on community priorities. These ad hoc councils eventually laid the foundation of community organisations chosen by election. By injecting not only money, but also hope, we felt we were making an important difference to the lives of so many Haitians all around the country. </p> <p> In two years, we made forty trips to Haiti. The OTI approach, a non-traditional development programme, was considered a success as more communities became involved, and as the former army was transformed into a corps of able-bodied young men who now had a trade or some skills to use. It was uplifting to be part of something that was improving the daily lives of Haitians. </p> <p> But the programme was short-lived. After two years, no additional funds were allocated to “reconstruction”. Communities were left without further resources to continue with the local projects. The “institution-building” programmes that replaced them did not value citizen participation. </p> <p> Our last visit to Haiti was in 1996. We visited the community of St. Marc, observed the wonderful work that so many local citizens had completed – mainly because of the infusion of small amounts of resources – and wondered what would now happen to all these efforts. Our pleasure was mixed with apprehension: two years was certainly insufficient time to build a strong foundation for local governance or economic stability. </p> <p> The fears we had that day have been confirmed by subsequent events in Haiti; indeed, St Marc itself was one of the centres of violence in the recent <a href="http://www.msf.org/countries/page.cfm?articleid=78AD19C8-E3EA-4C62-A5643CFB03838B5F" target="_blank">political tumult</a>. From the vantage-point of a decade later, a two-year time frame for post-conflict reconstruction seems ridiculously short. But this issue can only be addressed if development agencies and the UN were to meet the costs of long-term “nation-building” and reinforce the moral and financial commitment to complete the job started in 1994. </p> <p> US policy routinely seeks to uphold democratically elected governments rather than allowing them to be overthrown by rebels or dissidents. The case of Haiti may represent a situation where a visceral dislike of a political leader may ultimately have hastened his <a href="http://www.csis.org/isp/pcr/040303_bartonchat.pdf" target="_blank">departure</a>. Even in 1994, President Aristide was a lightning rod for partisan bickering among US political leaders. The use of 25,000 soldiers to reinstall him to his elected office was not followed by long-term willingness to secure his position against challenge. </p> <p> Thus, after Washington had spent the last three years cultivating only one side of the political spectrum, no middle ground for negotiation with the opposition was available in these recent critical weeks. Even more tragic is the probability that <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/crossing_continents/americas/1057930.stm" target="_blank">Haitians</a> may no longer be persuaded that it is long-term political compromises and patient institution-building that are necessary to alleviate their poverty – not quick-fix rescue efforts. </p> <p> <strong>The nation-building toolkit</strong> </p> <p> In the last decade, the perceived need to act in the face of imminent danger to the citizens of a state has resulted in a new form of international action: “humanitarian intervention”. It was first expounded in <a href="http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20021101faessay9995/gareth-evans-mohamed-sahnoun/the-responsibility-to-protect.html" target="_blank">2002</a> in the work of Australia’s former foreign minister, Gareth Evans, and a former UN special advisor, Mohamed Sahnoun. </p> <p> This doctrine interprets the UN charter as allowing intervention when a state is unwilling or unable to protect its citizens from harm. This “duty to protect” has in practice three elements: that UN member-states intervene to prevent further death and destruction; that further conflict is prevented via security measures and peaceful conflict resolution; and that the international community is involved in <a href="http://www.csis.org/isp/pcr/index.htm" target="_blank">reconstruction</a>. </p> <p> In short, nation-building is the other side of the intervention coin. If countries intervene militarily to prevent death and destruction, hopefully with the blessing of the UN, then they must also invest <a href="http://www.countrywatch.com/cw_wire.asp?vCOUNTRY=73&amp;UID=1033930" target="_blank">resources</a> to repair ailing states over the long term. </p> <p> How does the experience of Haiti measure up to these criteria? The country received the immediate benefits of protection in 1994 through the presence of peacekeepers and a UN mission; but the rebuilding component made Haiti a victim of “donor fatigue” as well as of the problems inherent in a weak, fragile state that had often struggled to sustain its core institutions and maintain <a href="http://www.latinamericabureau.org/?lid=1910" target="_blank">public order</a>. </p> <p> The abandonment of Haiti reflects a wider problem within the international community. The world’s nation-building capacity, expressed via individual donor countries or the collective will of the UN, is quite limited. Long-term rebuilding is more than either an operational or a financial option – it embodies the evolving doctrine enjoining action beyond the boundaries of state sovereignty in the interests of saving lives. But the core mandate of this doctrine, “the duty to protect”, cannot be fulfilled without a new consensus that explicitly includes the responsibility to rebuild. The experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan are clearly of vital <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1145">relevance</a> here. </p> <p> Rebuilding states is a multilateral game. But the resources or the political commitment to something as long-term as nation-building remain elusive. Without a new consensus about how these are allocated, we will continue to see quick-fix interventions that may have the unintended consequence of weakening further rather than strengthening the capacity of a country to rebuild. </p> <p> A UN-based transitional authority system has been suggested, which could perform a dual role for states like Haiti: protection by international peacekeeping and <a href="http://www.effectivepeacekeeping.org/" target="_blank">security forces</a>, alongside administrative support by the international community. This might include common resource pools overseen by the World Bank, and specific programmes to alleviate the worst forms of human insecurity. All this could be quickly inaugurated by a Security Council decision to intervene as a humanitarian act. </p> <p> There is still time to consider this option in Haiti. The country could be the first beneficiary of this new intervention package. But until robust intervention is followed by equally robust nation-building efforts, the “duty to protect” will remain unfinished business – and the political future of Haiti will remain as unsettled as that of Afghanistan or Iraq. </p> <p> <table border="0" cellpadding="10" width="550" bgcolor="#99cccd"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p> <a name="#one" title="#one"></a> <strong>A Rough Guide to Haiti</strong> <br /> <em>by Caspar Henderson</em> </p> <p> The world’s first black-led republic, <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/country_profiles/1202857.stm">Haiti</a> was the first Caribbean state to achieve independence, in 1804. The last two decades have seen a downward spiral of poverty, environmental degradation, violence and instability, which have left it the <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1153735,00.html" target="_blank">poorest country</a> in the Americas. </p> <p> After decades of brutal dictatorship under the <a href="http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field%28DOCID+ht0025%29" target="_blank">Duvalier family</a>, there were hopes of a brighter future after the election of a radical former priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in 1990. In 1991, he was ousted in an army coup, but economic sanctions and a US-led military intervention forced a return to constitutional government in 1994. </p> <p> This intervention restored Aristide to power, and after an interval of five years, he was again elected president in 2000. His second administration became increasingly controversial, with allegations of corruption, electoral irregularities and extra-judicial killings. The country’s infrastructure collapsed. Drug trafficking corrupted both the judicial system and the police force. </p> <p> Haiti’s main exports – coffee, mangoes and other agricultural products – have steadily declined in value on world markets. Subsidies and trade barriers by rich countries have worsened Haiti’s position. New sectors such as clothing manufacture have not proven to benefit the economy as a whole. </p> <p> The economy shrank by an average of 0.2% per year during the 1980s and 0.4% a year during the 1990s. </p> <p> There are about 8.3 million people in <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3522155.stm" target="_blank">Haiti</a>. Life expectancy is 49 years. GDP per capita is US$480. Half the population is undernourished, half is illiterate. Over 40% of Haitians are under 14 years old. The incidence of HIV/Aids is the highest in the Americas, at 4.5% of the population. </p> <p> <a href="http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ha.html" target="_blank">Haiti</a> has remained highly dependent on foreign aid from the World Bank, the European Union and the United States, but in 2000 the US cut off assistance, charging that 70% of it was being stolen by corrupt officials. </p> <p> Haiti’s most serious social problem is probably the huge wealth gap between the impoverished, Creole-speaking black majority and French-speaking mulattos. 1% of the population own more than half the wealth. </p> <p> &nbsp; </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </p> <p> &nbsp; </p> </div> latin america Johanna Mendelson Forman Original Copyright Thu, 11 Mar 2004 00:00:00 +0000 Johanna Mendelson Forman 1779 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The UN in 2003: a year of living dangerously https://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-institutions_government/article_1641.jsp <p> 2003 has been the worst year in the history of the United Nations. </p><p> The long, bitter argument between multilateralists and unilateralists at the Security Council, which began in autumn 2002 over weapons of mass destruction in Iraq carried over into spring 2003. Then it became clear that the post-1945 consensus amongst the major democracies had broken. </p><p> Without a Security Council mandate, the United States led a &#147;coalition of the willing&#148; (ultimately composed of 31 other states) to confront the forces of Saddam Hussein. The three-week war in Iraq in March-April 2003 resulted in the overthrow of a heinous dictator, finally captured eight months later. </p><p> It took six weeks from the end of the first stage of the war for the occupation to receive some form of UN recognition, with the passage of Security Council resolution 1483 on 22 May. This affirmed that the UN should play a vital role in Iraq in the aftermath of Saddam&#146;s overthrow. But the US promptly ignored it, and proceeded to attempt to rebuild the Iraqi state alone. Its lack of confidence in the capacity of the UN&#146;s mission to help Iraqis move from authoritarianism to self-government is revealed in the fact that the UN effort has granted only a humanitarian title (United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (<a href=http://www.hiciraq.org/mediacentre/UNOCHI/index_txt.asp target=_blank>UNOCHI</a>), not a political one. </p><p> This undercut the historical legitimacy of the UN in Iraq. But the US-led coalition failed to fill the political vacuum that opened up after the fighting stopped. A UN role could have been a great help, both in terms of its world standing and the considerable experience of its staff and leading personnel. It was refused. Today the armed insurgency in Iraq in part reflects the incapacity of the coalition to turn its legal role as an occupation authority into a legitimate authority. </p><p> <b>A return to fundamentals</b> </p><p> The UN secretary-general&#146;s special representative in Iraq, <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1449">Sergio Vieira de Mello</a> did his best to try and turn the UN into an instrument of accommodation between the occupying powers and world opinion. He sought to maximise what little leverage the UN had to the advantage of those Iraqis who wanted a neutral interlocutor. Had this worked he could then have helped negotiate and protect the new political space that the downfall of Saddam had <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1379">opened</a>, to ensure it became a democratic one. </p><p> But only two months after de Mello arrived in Baghdad, a massive truck bomb destroyed UN headquarters on 19 August. Sergio Vieira de Mello, along with 22 other &#147;internationals&#148; and Iraqis <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1624">perished</a>. The attack brought into question the entire future of the UN as an autonomous political and humanitarian entity. </p><p> If the failure to get UN approval for an invasion of Iraq was a prelude to a major assault on the post-1945 international system, the Baghdad bombing was an even more devastating blow. The physical destruction of the UN headquarters by terrorists who viewed the international organisation as a collaborator with the occupation may lead to the destruction of the UN&#146;s capacity to carry out any mandate based on neutrality and peace-building. It may compromise the core values that the UN represents in a hostile environment like Iraq, and further undermine its potential effectiveness. <div><div class="pull_quote_article">Polls continue to show that the UN remains the international institution which Iraqis most favour and regard as legitimate.</div><p> Yet polls continue to show that the UN, despite the resisters, remains the international institution which Iraqis most favour and regard as legitimate. The blue flag, the humanitarian workers, and the brave stance of those who remain in Iraq are symbols of decency and respect &#150; qualities that often seem absent in the <a href=http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=3917307 target=_blank>occupying forces</a>. </p><p> But how can such an institution &#150; scarred by personal disaster, and lacking a proper mandate to perform its work (despite the granting of authority in September under <a href=http://www.un.org/aboutun/charter/chapter7.htm target=_blank>Chapter 7</a> of the UN charter) &#150; function effectively? Especially when the headquarters for its mission is now in anther country, Cyprus. </p><p> The question is not just about this particular crisis, grave as it is. It is about fundamentals. Iraq has brought the UN as an institution to a crossroads. It must overcome both the shock caused by a great power which views unilateralism as a right that does not require respect for traditional rules of international behavior, and the violence used against it in Iraq. It must now rethink its core security mandate in a world wracked with terrorism, transnational crime, and internal wars bred from failing states. </p><p> <b>Wanted: a fusion of clarity and imagination </b> </p><p> In October 2003 the UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, appointed a <a href=http://www.wagingpeace.org/articles/2003/11/04_un_annan-panel.htm target=_blank>High Level Panel</a> to analyse how the UN can now support its mandate for collective security. Can such distinguished persons engage in the truly imaginative rethinking needed to recommend ways to repair the institution? </p><p> The UN is still able to perform its relief and development mission around the globe. But its security mission is hobbled by several factors &#150; from inadequate resources to enforce and maintain peace, to a weakened Security Council whose cold war configuration is no longer suited to a world where the east-west rivalry of the last century has been overtaken by wider problems of governance and development. </p></div><div><div class="pull_quote_article">The challenge for the special panel will be to recommend whether and how to rebuild a multilateral institution in a world dominated by a polarising &#147;war on terrorism&#148;.</div><p> The UN should have a vital role to play in the new <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1117">international security order</a>. But it is in urgent need of clear definition &#150; one that can only benefit from frank discussion among all interested parties. The concise mandate and appropriate timing of the review now underway offers slender but real hope that the UN will recover its voice and its confidence in 2004. </p><p> The challenge for the special panel will be to recommend whether and how to rebuild a <a href="/articles/View.jsp?id=1452">multilateral institution</a> in a world dominated by a polarising &#147;war on terrorism&#148;. </p><p> </p></div></p> democracy & power Globalisation The Americas a democratic united nations? institutions & government american power & the world Johanna Mendelson Forman Original Copyright Thu, 18 Dec 2003 00:00:00 +0000 Johanna Mendelson Forman 1641 at https://www.opendemocracy.net From the ashes: a multilateral mission? https://www.opendemocracy.net/conflict/article_1452.jsp <p>In the rubble and ashes that was once the Canal Hotel, the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, lie the victims of a terrorist attack that has touched 191 nations sharing a common bond: membership in the largest multilateral organisation of our time. The glue that binds all of us, the UN Charter, is a declaration of international principles of self-governance, freedom and respect for individual rights. </p><p>Working under dire conditions of extreme heat, lack of water, and unnerving insecurity, the <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3166857.stm" target=_blank>daily mission</a> of the civil servants was clear: to support the Iraqi people in realising their freedom, in spite of the immense problems faced in a post-war situation for which most UN members felt the planning had been inadequate. No 250-kilogram truck bomb can destroy the values and ideals that guided those international civil servants who perished that day. </p><p><b>The meaning of an atrocity</b> </p><p>Like other notorious dates, Tuesday 19 August will become a record of the sad reality that even the neutrality of the United Nations may be insufficient to protect its staff and its mission from the anarchy of terrorism. This end of neutrality has been a feature of the post-cold war experience, making vulnerable precisely the institutions that were created to draw a line between innocent civilians in a conflict and the armies that perpetrated the wars. Exploding the UN edifice and killing its international staff reaffirms that civil wars are not about military gain, or territorial expansion, but about victimising innocent people who aspire to a life of security, justice and well-being. </p><p>What stands out, however, in this singular event is the context of the UN presence in Iraq. Unlike other post-conflict environments of the last decade, the UN was never permitted full partnership in the reconstruction efforts designed by the United States-led coalition. The <a href="http://www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/scres/2003/res1483.pdf" target=_blank>Security Council&#146;s post-war resolution</a> assigned broad yet vague tasks to the UN in Iraq. Its most specific pronouncement was the willingness to support a Special Representative of the Secretary General to become part of the UN architecture in Iraq. </p><p>It was precisely through this SRSG, <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/debates/article-2-95-1449.jsp" target=_blank>Sergio Vieira de Mello</a>, that the world community offered its best hope of having a skilled, talented, and relentless advocate serve as a mediator with the coalition in the difficult efforts of the UN to serve its &#147;vital role&#148; in the post-war period. Through Mr. de Mello&#146;s efforts the UN was able to establish a presence and authority in the process of rebuilding, and most importantly, to serve as a source of legitimacy for the creation of the unelected <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3062037.stm" target=_blank>governing council</a> that was appointed in July. </p><p>In spite of the US wish to exclude the UN from the rebuilding of Iraq, it was precisely through the UN that Iraqis demanded legitimacy for their newly-formed council. By immediately seeking a UN Security Council Resolution to recognise the governing council after its creation, and by actively lobbying the UN Security Council toward that end, only days before this devastating bombing, the Security Council acted by passing yet another resolution that provided an incremental approach to placing the UN in Iraq on a par with the Coalition. </p><p>On 14 August the UN established a formal mission in Iraq. The formal mission represented the acknowledgement by the Coalition that the US could not remain the sole authority in governing and directing the transition of power to Iraqi control. It was surely the <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/2146395.stm" target=_blank>work</a> of Sergio Vieira de Mello and his staff, and the dedication of people like Rick Hooper, of the secretariat, that moved this agenda forward. Hooper, like his colleague de Mello, perished in Tuesday&#146;s bombing. </p><p><b>The lesson of a tragedy</b> </p><p>Only a month ago I sat in Mr. de Mello&#146;s offices, and <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/debates/article-2-95-1379.jsp" target=_blank>talked</a> with his staff and assistants about the UN role, progress to date, and what the next steps would be. In some ways the lack of security on the outside of the building was matched with a certain fortress mentality on the inside. UN staff recognised the dangers they faced in Iraq. They understood that they were highly vulnerable, but preferred to tough it out in the dangerous back streets of Baghdad. </p><p>For them, the mere presence of the UN outpost, far from the jersey barriers of the security zone around the palace of the Coalition was almost an act of defiance. The UN mission in Baghdad was trying to be with the Iraqi people, rather than act in isolation above them. Sometimes, this type of hubris can also be its undoing. At the end of the day, the attack was not against the UN per se, but against all foreign agents. It was an act most likely born out of the thoughts of a tiny minority of Iraqis and other neighbours, who cannot countenance an Iraq that embarks on its future with an embrace of the west. </p><p>Where do we go from here? After we say our farewells to such good friends as Sergio Vieira de Mello, Rick Hooper, <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/debates/article-2-94-1445.jsp" target=_blank>Arthur Helton</a>, <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3165875.stm" target=_blank>Fiona Watson</a>, Nadia Younis, and others who perished in this cowardly act, we must recognise the lesson we have learned from other post-conflict operations. Rebuilding a broken society cannot be done alone, under-resourced and understaffed. Only the UN can <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/debates/article-6-28-1117.jsp" target=_blank>provide a legitimacy</a> that helps prevent the rancour and divisiveness that unilateral occupation represents. </p><p>While we <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/debates/article-2-94-1424.jsp" target=_blank>cannot afford to fail</a> in bringing to the Iraqi people a future of their own, neither can we fail to recognise that without the support from friends and allies and without the work of multilateral organisations, the security needed to ensure a proper rebuilding effort will be inadequate to fulfil the dreams of the Iraqi people for freedom and justice.</p> Conflict conflicts democracy & power The Americas iraq: understanding the handover the un & the iraq war iraq: the human cost Johanna Mendelson Forman Original Copyright Thu, 21 Aug 2003 23:00:00 +0000 Johanna Mendelson Forman 1452 at https://www.opendemocracy.net We cannot afford to fail https://www.opendemocracy.net/conflict-iraqi_war/article_1379.jsp <p> Ambassador L. Paul Bremer is in Washington at a critical moment in the US-led reconstruction efforts in Iraq. Anxiety is growing among the Iraqis as well as among coalition military and civilian officials our team spoke with over eleven days earlier this month. Almost all are disoriented by the enormity of the changes that have come after decades of oppression and the challenges ahead, and eager for tangible signs of progress. Amid continuing attacks on coalition soldiers and international civilians, the unreliability of basic services, and the assassination of Iraqi friends, the United States must remain steadfast and agile. </p><p> In our <a href=http://foreign.senate.gov/hearings/hrg030723p.html target=_blank>testimony</a> before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 23 July , we focus on seven priority areas for the coalition. </p><p> <i><b>Establishing public safety</b></i> </p><p> The coalition military presence is large, but the forces are insufficient to meet the current tasks of reconstruction and fighting an insurgency. Focus on troop levels alone will not provide the answer. Security will be assured only through the right configuration of composite forces &#150; US, coalition, and Iraqi armed forces and police. The coalition should reassess force structure, and it must recalibrate its expectations of how quickly Iraqis can be expected to address the serious security problems they face. To protect against spoilers that could continue to threaten the peace, a demobilisation and reintegration programme must begin immediately for former members of the armed forces and for militias. </p><p> <i><b>Expanding Iraqi ownership</b></i> </p><p> The Iraqi peoples&#146; responsibility for their own future must be firmly established at the national, provincial, and local levels. The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) has successfully established municipal councils in an estimated 75% of Iraq; these bodies must be given the capacity and resources to respond to local demands, and they must be linked with the new Iraqi Governing Council. The coalition must strike the right balance between increasing Iraqis&#146; participation in their country&#146;s governance and overburdening this new body with too many controversial issues early on. </p><p> <b><i>Putting people to work and providing basic services</i></b> </p><p> The immediate needs on the economic front are providing employment opportunities to keep people off the streets and refurbishing basic services. The US government must do whatever is needed to restart power and water, even if that means sending stockpiles of generators to address short-term requirements. A series of work initiatives are needed &#150; with a particular emphasis on young, urban populations &#150; and should include restarting salvageable Iraqi state-owned enterprises. Now is not the time to put more people out of work. </p><p> <b><i>Decentralising the Coalition Provisional Authority</i></b> </p><p> The reconstruction of Iraq is too large to be handled from the centre. The CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) must be given adequate resources to devolve responsibilities to eighteen provincial offices with strong local administrators, anchored in the communities, and capable of putting programmes into practice immediately. </p><p> <b><i>Advancing change in the Iraqi mindset</i></b> </p><p> After thirty years of oppression and distrust, the CPA needs an intense communications and marketing campaign to help facilitate a profound change in the Iraqi national frame of mind. This must start with a much clearer understanding of Iraqis&#146; attitudes and aspirations. From that base, the coalition must be clear about its goals and intentions, recognising the need for constant, quality information. </p><p> <b><i>Mobilising a new reconstruction coalition</i></b> </p><p> Relying on the war coalition to produce the peace will not be sufficient. The United States, working with the G7, the World Bank and the United Nations, should oversee a donor coordination process that goes beyond the states that formed the fighting coalition. The CPA should reach out broadly to other countries &#150; and to the United Nations &#150; to take advantage of unique capacities and civilian expertise that will be critical going forward. </p><p> <b><i>Increasing funding and flexibility </i></b> </p><p> The daunting challenges in Iraq require giving the CPA adequate resources and complete flexibility to spend money. &#145;Business as usual&#146; approaches to questions of resources are inappropriate to the tasks at hand. </p><p> With inadequate resources to start with, past or future obligations should not encumber any potential reconstruction revenues, particularly when projections for medium-term oil production are modest. The United States should push Iraq&#146;s creditors to forgive Iraq&#146;s outstanding debt burden and avoid calls to encumber future oil revenues to generate immediate income. </p><p> Ambassador Bremer prominently displays a sign that says &#147;success has a thousand fathers&#148; on his desk. Yet the prospects for a US success in Iraq are challenged by the enormity of the task we face in rebuilding a nation largely alone. </p><p> The window for making this reconstruction effort take hold is closing fast. The next year will determine whether this undertaking will be a victory for the coalition and for the Iraqi people. We cannot afford to let it become the proverbial orphaned failure. </p><p> <i>The authors constituted the Iraq Reconstruction Assessment Mission, a team of experts in post-conflict reconstruction who traveled in Iraq from 26 June to 7 July 2003 on commission from the US Pentagon.</i> </p><p> For further information see <a href=http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/0/AB4DBAC657FFA217C1256D670039773C?OpenDocument target=_blank>Iraq&#146;s Post-Conflict Reconstruction</a> </p><p> </p> Conflict conflicts middle east The Americas geopolitics of iraqi war Rick Barton Johanna Mendelson Forman Bathsheba Crocker John Hamre Robert Orr Original Copyright Tue, 22 Jul 2003 23:00:00 +0000 Bathsheba Crocker, Johanna Mendelson Forman, John Hamre, Rick Barton and Robert Orr 1379 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Things Kofi Annan can do now https://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-un_iraq/article_1169.jsp <p> The American-led coalition has said that the United Nations should play a &#145;vital role&#146; in the future of Iraq. What this will mean in practice remains to be seen, and will depend on a process of negotiation in the coming weeks. </p><p> But the UN is not a passive player in this debate. In the short term, United Nations Organisations are constrained as to what they can do by the terms of <a href=http://www.casi.org.uk/info/scriraq.html target=_blank>earlier</a> UN Security Council Resolutions. The World Bank, which is also part of the UN &#145;family&#146;, cannot make funds available for reconstruction until the sanctions regime imposed on Iraq under Resolution 661 is lifted. </p><p> Nevertheless, there are at least five initiatives that Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, could take more or less immediately &#150; both to help alleviate Iraq&#146;s immense humanitarian problems, and to re-establish the UN as an essential actor. </p><p> <ol> <li>UN volunteers can be used by other governments in support of reconstruction, a precedent used in Rwanda and Haiti as an immediate civilian rapid response team. <p> <li><a href=http://www.un.org/Depts/unmovic/ target=_blank>Unmovic</a>, the UN inspection team for weapons of mass destruction, could certify any weapons found by coalition forces, thus providing greater legitimacy to any announcements that such weapons have been found. <p> <li>The Secretary General can appoint a <a href=http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2001/bio3397.doc.htm target=_blank>special advisor</a> to represent him as a liaison with the American-led coalition to coordinate UN activities in post-conflict Iraq. A recent precedent was the appointment of <a href=http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/qanda/articles/eav110101.shtml target=_blank>Lakhdar Brahimi</a> as UN Special Representative to Afghanistan in October 2001, on the eve of the change of regime in the country. <p> <li>The Secretary General can request a donor conference to support the reconstruction efforts in Iraq. Such a move would have to guarantee that resources go to the UN, but a special appeal was launched on 28 March for the post-war period, so this would only reinforce the request. <p> <li>The Secretary General may use his good offices to bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which he deems important to international peace and security. (Appointees of the Secretary General have been sent to the Middle East, using <a href=http://www.un.org/aboutun/charter/chapt15.htm target=_blank>Article 99</a> of the Charter.) <p> </p></li></p></li></p></li></p></li></p></li></ol> The Secretary General is indeed acting swiftly on a number of fronts. On 16 April, <a href=http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=6774&Cr=iraq&Cr1=annan target=_blank>Kofi Annan joined European Union leaders</a> at a summit in Athens to hold private talks with British, German, French and other leaders to map out the next steps for the UN. On the same day, the United Nations requested a fresh report from its chief weapons inspector Hans Blix as it considers sending teams back to Iraq. </p><p> The US is now requesting that the sanctions imposed on Iraq by the Security Council be ended. But, in the absence of any Iraqi interim authority, lifting the sanctions will transfer the resources derived from the Oil-for-Food programme from the UN to the US and its allies. Such an act would essential relieve the UN of any potential leverage it has to play a central role, although it will allow it to be a player in the game through support of recovery and relief efforts. </p><p> The next few weeks will revive the drama we saw before the war over whether the UN remains a diplomatic player on the world stage, a moderating force between a the US as singular world power and Europe, or whether it will be side-lined in activities which it does best: humanitarian and development assistance. </p><p> More than a dozen UN agencies were active in Iraq between the end of the 1991 Gulf war and the start of hostilities in its 2003 sequel. These agencies have accumulated enormous expertise during this period. It is hard to see how any US-led reconstruction effort can be successful or sustainable without them, both because of their technical resources and the political legitimacy they can bring. </p><p> <hr color=gray size=1 width=100px /> </p><p> Appendix: UN Agencies working in Iraq 1991-2003 </p><p> <i>Food and Agriculture Organisation &#150; <a href=http://www.fao.org/english/newsroom/news/2003/15663-en.html target=_blank>FAO</a></i><br /> The FAO is tasked with promoting collective and individual state efforts to raise the levels of nutrition and standards of living of peoples through securing improvements in the efficiency of the production and distribution of food and agricultural products, as well as bettering the conditions of rural populations. </p><p> <i>International Telecommunications Union &#150; <a href=http://www.un.org/Depts/oip/background/latest/wu010508.html target=_blank>ITU</a></i><br /> The ITU is an intergovernmental body, which brings together governments and industry to coordinate the establishment and operation of global telecommunication networks and services. The ITU consists of Member States and Sector Members representing public and private companies and organisations with an interest in telecommunications. </p><p> <i>Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs &#150; <a href=http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/vLCE/Iraq?OpenDocument&StartKey=Iraq&Expandview target=_blank>OCHA</a></i><br /> OCHA is the office tasked with the coordination and oversight of all UN agency operations in a country or region. </p><p> <i>United Nations Center for Human Settlements &#150; <a href=http://www.unhabitat.org/mediacentre/documents/backgrounder10.doc target=_blank>UNCHS</a></i><br /> UNCHS, also known as HABITAT, is charged with coordinating human settlement activities within the UN system. UNCHS is also responsible for facilitating the global exchange of information on shelter and sustainable human settlement development and assisting countries with policy and technical advice in solving their human settlement problems. </p><p> <i>United Nations Development Program &#150; <a href=http://www.undp.org/dpa/journalists/postconflictiraq.html target=_blank>UNDP</a></i> <br /> UNDP administers and coordinates most of the technical assistance through the UN system. The UNDP works to help countries in their efforts to achieve sustainable human development by assisting them to build their capacity to carry out development programs in poverty eradication, employment creation and sustainable livelihoods, the empowerment of women and the protection and regeneration of the environment. </p><p> <i>United Nations Development Fund for Women &#150; <a href=http://www.unifem.undp.org/newsroom/press/pr_030321_iraq.html target=_blank>UNIFEM</a></i><br /> Unifem provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programs and strategies that promote women&#146;s human rights, political participation and economic security. </p><p> <i>United Nations Environment Program &#150; <a href=http://www.grida.no/ target=_blank>UNEP</a></i><br /> Unep acts to provide leadership and encourage partnerships in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and people to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. </p><p> <i>United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation &#150; <a href=http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php@URL_ID=11178&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html target=_blank>UNESCO</a></i><br /> Unesco was established to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science and human culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law, and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms. </p><p> <i>United Nations Office of the Iraq Program &#150; <a href=http://www.un.org/Depts/oip/ target=_blank >Oil for Food Programme</a></i><br /> The Office of the Iraq Programme administers the program as an operation separate and distinct from all other United Nations activities within the context of the sanctions regime, which fall within the purview of Unmovic, IAEA and the United Nations Compensation Commission. The <a href=http://www.un.org/Depts/oip/background/scrsindex.html target=_blank>programme</a>, established in 1991, is funded exclusively with proceeds from Iraqi oil exports, authorised by the Security Council. In the initial stages of the programme, Iraq was permitted to sell $2 billion worth of oil every six months, with two-thirds of that amount to be used to meet Iraq&#146;s humanitarian needs. In 1998, the limit on the level of Iraqi oil exports under the program was raised to $5.26 billion every six months, again with two-thirds of the oil proceeds to be earmarked to meet the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people. In December 1999, the ceiling on Iraqi oil exports under the programme was completely removed by the Security Council. </p><p> <i>United Nations Population Fund &#150; <a href=http://www.unfpa.org/news/news.cfm?ID=277 target=_blank>UNFPA</a></i><br /> UNFPA provides assistance to developing countries, countries with economies in transition and other countries at their request, to help them address reproductive health and population issues, and would raise awareness of these issues in all countries. </p><p> <i>United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees &#150; <a href=http://www.unhcr.ch/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/iraq target=_blank>UNHCR</a></i><br /> The Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees is mandated to provide international protection to refugees, seek durable solutions to their plights, and furnish them with material assistance. </p><p> <i>United Nations Children&#146;s Fund &#150; <a href=http://www.unicef.org/newsline/2003/03pr24iraq.htm target=_blank>UNICEF</a></i><br /> Unicef provides emergency assistance to children in war-ravaged countries, as well as it provides for the long-term needs of children and mothers in developing countries. Unicef also serves as an advocate for the protection of children&#146;s rights. </p><p> <i>United Nations Office for Project Services &#150; <a href=http://www.mineaction.org/misc/dynamic_overview.cfm?did=17 target=_blank>UNOPS</a></i><br /> UNOPS provides management and other support services for projects and programs undertaken by UN organisations and member states. Services include project management, implementation and execution of UN components, project supervision, and financial management services. </p><p> <i>World Food Program &#150; <a href=http://www.wfp.org/country_brief/indexcountry.asp?country=368 target=_blank>WFP</a></i><br /> The WFP provides food aid primarily to low-income, food-deficit countries, to assist in the implementation of economic and social development projects, and to meet the relief needs of victims of natural and other disasters. </p><p> <i>World Health Organisation &#150; <a href=http://www.who.int/country/irq/en/ target=_blank>WHO</a></i><br /> The paramount objective of the WHO is to provide for the attainment by all peoples for the highest possible level of health. The WHO undertakes preventative and reactive missions to secure their objective in nearly every member state, over the past 55 years. </p><p> </p> democracy & power the un & the iraq war Johanna Mendelson Forman Original Copyright Wed, 16 Apr 2003 23:00:00 +0000 Johanna Mendelson Forman 1169 at https://www.opendemocracy.net