June 9, 2004: Headlines: COS - Peru: Development: Nation Building: One World: Peru RPCV Peter McPherson on bipartisan commission that gives priority to promoting development and nation-building

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Peru: Special Report: MSU President and Peru RPCV Peter McPherson: June 9, 2004: Headlines: COS - Peru: Development: Nation Building: One World: Peru RPCV Peter McPherson on bipartisan commission that gives priority to promoting development and nation-building

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-45-115.balt.east.verizon.net - on Saturday, June 12, 2004 - 9:30 pm: Edit Post

Peru RPCV Peter McPherson on bipartisan commission that gives priority to promoting development and nation-building

Peru RPCV Peter McPherson on  bipartisan commission that gives priority to promoting development and nation-building

Peru RPCV Peter McPherson on bipartisan commission that gives priority to promoting development and nation-building

Weak States Pose Major Threat to U.S. Security

Jim Lobe

OneWorld US

09 June 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jun 9 (OneWorld) - The United States must adopt a multi-faceted strategy in dealing with threats posed by weak or failed states that gives as much or more priority to promoting development and nation-building as the Bush administration has given to military solutions, according to a new report released by a bipartisan commission here Tuesday.

Almost three years after the Sep. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon, the United States is still falling short in its ability to deal with the challenges posed by failing states, which increasingly threaten U.S. national security, according to the commission.

In particular, Washington must do far more both to prevent countries from collapsing and to help them, hopefully in concert with other powers, to stabilize and recover, according to the 76-page report, 'On the Brink: Weak States and U.S. National Security'.

Calling the 9/11 attacks a "wake-up call" to the new realities of international threats to the U.S. and its allies, commission co-chair and former Republican Rep. John Edward Porter, noted that, "(t)errorist organisations, transnational crime networks, disease and violence flourish in these countries."

"Not only do the citizens of these nations suffer, but the world community is imperiled by this general instability and the opportunity for safe haven it provides for those who wish to destabilize other fledgling democracies and the industrialized world," he added.

The report, whose recommendations stress the importance of prevention through sound development policies, upgrading U.S. expertise in quickly stabilising and reconstructing countries; and enhancing international co-operation in peacekeeping and nation-building, was produced over nine months and signed by nearly 30 commission members.

It appeared designed to re-frame the debate over how best to carry out the "war on terrorism" in ways that encourage policy makers to stress the importance of economic development as opposed to the almost exclusively military and security approach taken by the administration of President George W Bush.

"It is news to no one that the U.S. is vulnerable", said Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development (CGD), which organized the commission.

"The flash is that the 'sleeping giant' of threats exists in the form of countries like Bolivia, Indonesia, Nigeria and Kenya -- places (which) ... for various reasons now find themselves weakened to the point where their instability threatens to derail political and economic progress and, in some cases, they have become attractive to the entities, some known others unknown, who would wish to see harm visited on the United States and other nations of the developed world."

Commission members included two former U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) administrators -- J Brian Atwood, who served under former President Bill Clinton and M Peter McPherson, who worked with President Ronald Reagan - as well as a more than a dozen former officials who worked in the National Security Council, the Pentagon, or the State Department.

"For far too long, the United States has allowed weak states -- such as Afghanistan, Haiti and Somalia -- to be on the periphery of U.S. foreign policy concerns," said Stuart Eizenstat, another commission co-chair, who served in top economic positions under Clinton and President Jimmy Carter. "As a result, we have had to ultimately engage in military intervention and costly 'nation-building' activities."

"The U.S. needs a fresh strategy that identifies weak states before they fail, organizes the U.S. government to address the challenges and opportunities these weak states pose, and utilizes on a sustained basis the entire panoply of development, diplomatic, and political tools necessary to succeed," he added.

The report said three gaps distinguish troubled or weak states from others: If a state cannot control its own territory or protect its citizens from internal or external threats, it suffers a security gap that can easily be filled by terrorists, criminal groups or insurgents.

Similarly, if a state cannot meet the basic needs of its people, it suffers from a capacity gap that leaves its people vulnerable to epidemics and other humanitarian crises.

Finally, a legitimacy gap -- where the state fails to maintain institutions that protect the basic rights of its citizens -- will likely invite violent political opposition and corruption that are both destabilizing, according to the report.

These gaps are best addressed through healthy economic, social and political development, it adds, noting that the traditional U.S. foreign-policy apparatus was created for a world in which development was not seen in and of itself as a strategic imperative for U.S. security but was instead considered largely expendable compared to the overwhelming objective of thwarting military and security threats from other states.

"The view of this commission is that U.S. leaders must commit to using their political capital and channeling the nation's institutional power so that the development challenges of weak states can be effectively managed before they produce security crises," says the report.

Its recommendations include actions in four areas.

First, it calls for promoting increased access to the U.S. market for developing-country exports, greater debt relief, and U.S. direct investment; encouraging sound development policies, including government transparency and democratic reform; and providing greater U.S. assistance to police and military forces of weak states.

Second, Washington should increase the tools it has had its disposal for helping quickly failing states recover, including special aid accounts and civilian expertise that can be made deployed immediately without going through normal bureaucratic channels; a greater commitment to building regional peacekeeping capacities for early intervention; and more "active and sustained" diplomacy on the ground in troubled regions in order to better orchestrate international and local responses to crises.

Third, U.S. government institutions for gathering information, moving analysis to key decision makers and developing comprehensive strategies for dealing with failing states need to be updated, the report said. At a minimum, the government should establish both a cabinet-level development agency and a directorate within the National Security Council to deal specifically with the problem.

Finally, the United States can no longer afford to act on an ad hoc and unilateral basis in dealing with crises but should actively enlist the help and the advice of other nations, beginning with the Group of Eight most industrialized countries, as well as major developing countries, such as the Group of 20, whose own resources and attention can be leveraged toward a common goal.

At the same time, Washington should work actively to improve the rapid-response capacities of other existing international institutions, notably the United Nations and the World Bank.

"I hope this report marks the beginning of the end of the 'dissing' of international institutions," said Senator Joseph Biden who spoke at the release. "Without allies, without friends, without the added resources (they bring), I don't believe the U.S. can succeed."

Biden, the ranking Democratic Party member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is considered a favorite to be appointed secretary of state if Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry defeats Bush in the November elections. With the Committee chairman, Sen. Richard Lugar, Biden has sponsored legislation that would address a number of the recommendations included in the report.

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Story Source: One World

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Peru; Development; Nation Building



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