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Symposium on the Future of Conflict Prevention, Session III [Rush Transcript; Federal News Service]

Speakers: Stewart M. Patrick, Research Fellow, Center for Global Policy Development, Nancy E. Soderberg, Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Unversity of North Florida, and Donald K. Steinberg, Vice president for Multilateral Affairs, International Crisis Group
Presider: Paul B. Stares, General John W. Vessey Senior Fellow for Conflict Prevention, and Director, Center for Preventative Action, Council on Foreign Relations
December 10, 2007
Council on Foreign Relations

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PAUL B. STARES:  Welcome back.  We're on the last lap of today's symposium.  And I want to thank you all again for hanging in there.  We've had a very rich discussion so far.

Now, the last session, the purpose was to -- almost to look backwards, to assess what we have learned over the last 10 years in terms of conflict prevention.  This session now is designed to look forward and to look to the challenges ahead and how we might best address them.

And we have a terrific panel for you.  One of the things I really like about my new job is that I not only get to invite really smart people to talk at these events; I get to invite very old friends who happily agree to participate.  So I'm appreciative of that.

I'm going to dispense with lengthy introductions.  You all have the background bios in front of you.  We're going to start with Stewart Patrick, who's a research fellow at the Center for Global Development, and then turn to Nancy Soderberg, distinguished visiting scholar at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, and then end up with Don Steinberg, vice president for Multilateral Affairs at the International Crisis Group, although I'm not sure for how long, but I understand you're going to be moving to Brussels in the near future.  Maybe I shouldn't be saying that.

DONALD K. STEINBERG:  You can say it.  (Laughs.)

STARES:  (Laughs.)  Okay -- still with the ICG.

But I want to build on the conversation we had earlier this afternoon and try to sort of look ahead.  And one of the recurring challenges that we seem to be facing or seem to be only intensifying is the issue of weak, failing, fragile states; there are a lot of formulations.

And I want to ask you, Stewart, since you have probably studied this more than most people I know, have done a considerable amount of research and writing on this topic, but I want to get a sense from you about how you perceive this challenge.  How big of a challenge is it?  How is it likely to evolve in the coming years?  What are the best ways of addressing this challenge, based on what we've known in the past about how to deal with this and what we need to learn from the past?

I'm particularly looking at institutional responses to this challenge, because that seems to be a common theme with a lot of what people were saying this morning.  So there's a lot of nested questions there, but that gives you a lot to play with, to start with.

STEWART M. PATRICK:  No, I appreciate that.  Thank you very much.  It's a great pleasure to be here, especially with -- I'm the only, besides Paul, I guess the only non-ambassador on the dais.  And I actually used to work for one of these ambassadors -- (inaudible) -- Don Steinberg, who will correct anything that I say.

It's also great to be able to participate in the launching of the second decade of CPA.  And I know that Paul is going to do a fantastic job with this, and it's just really nice to be involved with it.

Paul's asked about the question of weak and failing states.  And it's not -- I guess the argument that I would make is that the overlap between the problem of weak and failing states or states at risk is one that is increasingly implicated in the conflict prevention agenda.

You know, we've known for a long time that weak and failing states are often implicated in falling into violent conflict.  They end up being the location of the vast majority of peacekeeping operations around the world.  We also know that weak and failing states are the real challenge and dilemma when it comes to development cooperation.

Paul Collier has written a very famous book -- it's been getting wide circulation recently -- about the bottom billion.  But, you know, historically we've seen the weak and failing states, by and large, I think, particularly in the 1990s, as really more of a humanitarian problem.  And in recent years, it has become evident that weak and failing states are implicated in many of the major transnational security threats that we face.

And Bruce Jentleson made some comments in that in the previous session that began to get at some of that.  And I might continue along that vein and then talk a little bit about what needs to be done and whether or not we're actually very well-equipped to do it.

You know, 9/11 was really quite a watershed event in a lot of ways, and one of them was that in generating the strategic salience or an appreciation of the strategic salience of weak and failing states -- and this is embodied, obviously, in the very famous formulation of the 2002 National Security Strategy where President Bush said, "We're now more threatened by weak and failing states than we are by conquering ones."  And I think, for the past five, five-and-a-half years, the Bush administration has been sort of groping with how do you actually turn that insight into some sort of policy agenda.

But this isn't only an American policy agenda.  I think it's important to realize that.  If you look back at the 2005 high-level event at the United Nations and the document that both preceded that and then came out of that in terms of U.N. reform, there was really an emphasis placed on how do we strengthen the capacities of the sovereign states as the bedrock institution of international society?

And the rationale for that was that in an age of global threats, that basically the weak and failing state is the weak link in the chain of global collective security.  And there's a number of different areas where that's the case, and some of them have been mentioned already.

But when you think about terrorism, for instance, you know, al Qaeda was obviously operating from the second-poorest country in the world.  It's hard to say.  Some people say, "Well, you know, the Taliban was in control, so that it was state-sponsored terrorism."  But in many ways it was as much a terrorist-sponsored state, given the relatively weak capacity of the Taliban to do a lot of things.

And if you look around the world, where U.S. and other international actors are interested, they're places like the trans-Sahel in Africa, East Africa as well, where the U.S. has something called a combined joint task force for the Horn of Africa.

There are a lot of, quote-unquote, "ungoverned spaces" that the CIA and the Department of Defense are increasingly exercised about.  And these are areas that either lack the will and/or -- in countries that either lack the will or capacity to actually bring effective sovereignty to different areas, and which could, in theory, be havens for transnational terrorists.

Similarly, if you look at the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, I mean, if you look at the A.Q. Kahn network, it's hard to really imagine that network existing with sort of clearer lines of control within the Pakistani government and greater controls over the export of highly sensitive technologies.  And the entire network was based also on the lack of institutional controls in many other countries as well.

Transnational crime is another issue where this has become huge.  If you look at the major producers of heroin, cocaine, most narcotics, also the major sources of trafficking and people, et cetera, you start to find -- you see that weak and failing states are a major area where this is going on, either as transit points or as destination points.  Haiti, which has emerged as a huge transit source for cocaine from South America, both to Europe and to the United States, is another example.

Energy insecurity.  You know, we're going to be importing a quarter of our oil from the Gulf of Guinea, basically, the countries from Nigeria in West Africa all the way down to Angola.  We're going to be, by some estimates, importing about a quarter of our oil from that region of the world by 2015.

And so there are a lot of sort of strategic implications that we have in making sure that we get our policies right in helping to bolster institutions that work and helping to reform institutions that don't work.

Now, in terms of whether or not we're actually set up to do this and what the challenge is, I think that the evident answer, at least so far, is not at all.  There's been an enormous amount of rhetoric, both in the United States and in the international community, about this issue.  But when it comes to practical steps, there really remains a lot to be desired.

You know, since, obviously, in the wake of Iraq, there's been a lot of work -- and also Afghanistan -- a lot of work to try to improve U.S. and international capabilities to deal with post-conflict reconstruction.  Bill Nash did just yeoman's work in steering the task force in the wake of war that the CPA was quite involved in.

I think -- I mean, if I were to advise Paul, I'd say one thing that maybe you could do for CPA going forward is to look at what we can do on the upstream side of things.  What can we do to try to get -- to encourage a U.S. government response -- and a broader international response, of course, since we're not the only actor in -- external actor, in these countries, often not the biggest actor in many of these countries -- to try to get more of a coordinated, integrated, what you would call in a British system "a whole of government" approach to dealing with weak and failing states? 

And, you know, there are several things that I think the United States needs to do and the new administration, of whatever political flavor, has to do.  And I'll just go through a few of them.  The first thing is to make a strategic commitment to prevention.  I think David Hamburg said it quite well, you know "Where's the - where's the phone," you know, "where's the, where's the address for this?" quoting Barney Rubin, I guess.  It's a bit like, you know, Kissinger saying, you know, "Who do I call if I want to speak to Europe?," who do I call if I want to speak to somebody doing conflict prevention. 

And you talk to the people at the State Department, and they say, "We do this every day.  That's our job," right, "that we do conflict prevention."  But anybody who's worked within that bureaucracy or any bureaucracy knows the tyranny of the inbox.  I mean, you're basically overwhelmed; you don't have any time horizon.  The only time you ever put together an integrated strategy that deals - that integrates the State Department and USAID's capabilities, much less the entire U.S. government, is when you get a tasking from the deputies or principals.  You know, they're basically the Cabinet secretaries at the NSC level or their deputies. 

So that's the first thing we need to do.  There are a number of things that we need to do also about improving our capacity for preventive diplomacy.  It would be good, for instance, if in each of the regional bureaus of the State Department, just as a beginning, you actually had three people who are actually responsible for that as their day job, as opposed to something that they do on the side.

We also need to change a little bit of the foreign assistance approach that we have.  Our foreign - especially development assistance.  You know, I work at the Center for Global Development.  And people who work in the development community are often - often want to have, you know, all of foreign aid, or at least development aid, sort of, you know, sort of, cloistered, or ringed fence, so that it doesn't have to do with anything to do with national security considerations of how many - you know, there's dirty political considerations. 

I think that there is a growing recognition that, you know, that the development community needs to adapt in the way that it sees -- you know, that security and good governance are integral aspects to the long-term viability of particular states.  By the same token, you know, you're starting to get the, particularly amongst the - within the Department of Defense, you're starting to get a huge emphasis -- and you see this with the creation of the Africa Command, AFRICOM, the new combatant command for Africa, DOD is going in in a big way into Africa -- and they're really involved in, you know, "we don't want to let" - it's a bit like whack-a-mole you know, they're worried about these ungoverned spaces popping up all over the continent. 

And so the answer, of course, is just to train-up security forces in those countries because, as we know, that provides good governance.  But, I mean, we know from experience that it has to be a whole gamut approach here.  We need to - we need to be investing in, you know, civilian accountability, true security-sector reform, et cetera. 

So the other plea, besides changing the way we do development, that I would say we have to do, is we also have to change - we have to bring all of these different instruments to bear in a coherent fashion, because right now, when you look at our relationships with particular countries, we tend to have a trade relationship, a diplomatic relationship, maybe a law enforcement relationship, a mil-mil relationship.  We don't necessarily have an integrated approach, that's trying to - trying to get at the roots of this problem. 

And part of that, just - and I'll close here, is - I'll let other people deal with the multilateral piece which I think is very important -- but I do want to close with - just to pick up on this point that Tony Holmes (sp) and others raised in the last session, which is capacity, you know.  I used to work at the State Department, not for as long as many of the folks here but, you know, there was always this question in the back of my mind was, well, let's see, we need to build up State Department capacity to get wingtips on the ground. 

And, you know, one of the problems, of course, is that, you know, you want boots on the ground, you want the military forces, you want wingtips on the ground, but then you think, well, do they have the skillsets - I mean, in addition to the NGO's Birkenstocks, do the wingtips have the skillsets that we actually need to do these sorts of - or assist these sorts of state-building exercises, if that's what we're going to get involved in. 

And the answer is right now the institutional culture is not there yet.  Conceivably it could become there, especially if you merge it with a - or, not merge it, but ramp-up USAID as well.  But, in addition, you're going to need to devote resources to building up civilian capabilities that are really deployable in an expeditionary sense. 

And there's very good example of how we haven't invested in that, is in the State of the Union Address that President Bush delivered last January.  He sort of had a throwaway line in there, "and we should think about creating a civilian reserve corps" to allow the American people, you know, sort of like a turbocharged Peace Corps, in a sense, that allow people who have relevant skills to serve in the field in often very dangerous environments. 

But characteristically, the administration didn't put any money in the budget.  Well, odd to have this in the State of the Union address without a budget line for it.  But we're so skewed towards the military side of the fence, even without Afghanistan and Iraq, that we just need to relook at our priorities and see whether or not our spending priorities are matching up with what we actually need in the field.  I'm giving you a lot, but anyway. 

STARES:  Okay.  Thanks, Stewart. 

Let me - before turning to Donald Steinberg - your remarks, and actually the remarks earlier by Bruce Jentleson, about characterizing priorities for preventive action in terms of A, B & C.  And there are a lot of potential candidates in the C category that are, you know, usually defined as the weak and failing states.  And those alone represent huge demand on our resources and attention capacity. 

How do we pick and choose about where we're going to put our effort?  Because I think some choices have to be made, given this is an enormous menu of potential cases.  And can you say something about what we can - what, sort of, the early warning indicators lead us to - in a certain direction, and which ones, you know - where do with put our - 

PATRICK:  Right.  You know, I think that's - I mean, it's really important because you need to have some triage, you need to have - you don't have a strategy unless you have some way of actually setting priorities. 

There are a couple things I would say.  First of all, in terms of "is this going to require more resources?" I mean, they're all - the resources are limited, but is this going to require more resources?  The one answer I would give you is that we are already, in a sense, engaged in these countries on a number of different tracks, at a certain resource level.  So part of it is just simply being a little bit more coherent in how we're actually budgeting those resources in the service of a more integrated, coherent approach to these countries.  There are - there have been efforts to do this but I think they've been pretty desultory so far.  Even with the -- new U.S. foreign aid reform, I don't - I don't think that it really is a - it still is largely a bookkeeping exercise. 

In terms of how you set priorities, you know, you have to have a reasonably sophisticated, you know, watchlist system in which - and to some degree these things exist, but you have a watch list for political instability.  And that could -- you know, you have the National Intelligence Council basically run a periodically-updated list of which countries are in which sort of danger zone. 

Now this isn't that different from -- anybody who's been a consumer of intelligence will know that, you know, you routinely get these strategic watchlists that come - over the (trans ?) and it has, you know -- it's like the, you know, "Newsweek conventional wisdom watch," you know, arrow up, arrow down, arrow sideways.  You know, and largely it goes into the circular file because you're like, you know, "whoop-de-do, things aren't looking that great in Iraq," and you just throw it away because it doesn't provide you with anything that's sort of more interesting than that. 

I think that this needs to be combined with some sort of a - whether it's the intelligence community or somebody takes it and modifies it, you need to have something more detailed in terms of where are the actual points of the leverage within this country that - it's not just sort of where it is and what its trajectory, but what are the points of leverage of U.S. engagement within these countries?  But more importantly, in terms of choosing which one, you are going to have to make a distinction.  You're going - you know, there has to be some sort of a consequences matrix, or some sort of a consequences identification, so that, you know, that it strikes policymaker's head that actually we're getting an increasing source of fossil fuel in this - in this particular area, that actually there's a spillover implication for a peace process we're trying to deal with right next door. 

So there are - there are just, you know, it's going to have to require a, you know, a policy and political lens to conduct some triage, to decided where we're going actually spend extra resources.  But I don't want to give you the impression that the - that the course that I'm recommending is for everywhere, all at once.  I don't think that makes sense. 

STARES:  Okay.  Why don't we move along to Don.

And one of the - sadly one of the recurring challenges that we face is the threat of genocide and mass atrocities.  And despite all the rhetoric and proclamations of "enough," and "never again," we can still continue to face this challenge.  And the good news, I guess, is that we are at least setting some normative markers in terms of the statements out of the General Assembly on the responsibility to protect. 

But there is still, I think we would agree, a big gap between the rhetoric of the responsibility to protect, and the actual reality of carrying it out.  And I want you to, sort of, walk us through those challenges and how we can close that gap.

I also want to touch on what was brought up by Fen Hampson earlier -- and I know you missed it, unfortunately, but he was saying that, yes, that's fine that we have committed ourselves to protect vulnerable populations in conflict, particularly those being deliberately targeted, but we also have to think more upstream, to your point, Stewart.  So walk us through these issues.  How can we address both those concerns? 

STEINBERG:  Well, I come to these issues largely from the perspective of Rwanda.  I served as Bill Clinton's adviser for Africa at the time of the Rwandan genocide.  And I will always regret the fact that I bought into the common wisdom that American people would not support the engagement of American forces abroad in another small African country so soon after Somalia and the Blackhawk Down incident.

But it's also true that we could have done so much more.  We could have jammed radio Mille Collines radio station that was broadcasting the hate language; we could have sent armored personnel carriers to help Romeo Dallaire's forces; we could have organized an African force to go in and to try to prevent and stop the genocide; and, at a minimum, we could have called a spade a spade and said that this was, indeed, genocide. 

But whenever some of us within the National Security staff would talk about these issues, we were always fighting against the presupposition that you could not do these activities in sovereign states.  That somehow this government in Rwanda that was exercising the kinds of atrocities that we were seeing, still had the right to protect their own error ways.  And, therefore, our lawyers would literally tell us, no, you cannot jam radio Mille Collines because you'd be violating international law. 

If there is one silver lining to Rwanda - and I would add Somalia and Srebrenitsa on top of that, it's that we challenge that assumption that sovereignty is, in effect, a license to kill one's own population.  And over the course of the 1990s there were substantial movements in this regard.  And we tend to forget this, but the international community did respond effectively in Macedonia to stop the possible deterioration there; NATO went into Kosovo; the British supported forces in Sierra Leone; the French in Cote d'Ivoire; the Australians in East Timor; the South Africans into Burundi.

We also developed African peacekeeping forces able to go in at an early stage before the worst atrocities had headed-off.  We had the Brahimi Report that substantially improved peacekeeping, and we expanded peacekeeping as a function itself.  And, frankly, my own organization, the International Crisis Group, came on the scene and started, along with a variety of other NGOs, to provide input into government policies at that point. 

This all came to a culmination, I believe, in 2000 with the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty.  And basically, what that did, as you know, is turn sovereignty on its head.  It said sovereignty is not a "right" of government, it involves "responsibilities" of government - i.e., if you're going to express your right as a sovereign state, you have to assume certain responsibilities.

And, indeed, within five years the United Nations, in the World Summit Outcome Document, in September of 2005, endorsed Paragraphs 138 and 139, which again, essentially said responsibilities of government, as opposed to rights of government.  And this language was approved by the General Assembly; it was approved by the Security Council. 

And again, to summarize what it says, it says that if a host government - host governments have the responsibility to protect their citizens from four specific crimes:  crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide and ethnic cleansing.  The international community has the responsibility to help those governments take action against those crimes, but to the extent that that government is unable or unwilling to do so, the international community then bears the responsibility to step in.  And it also said this from a military standpoint, it said the international community stands ready to intervene, under Chapter 7, to do this. 

Again, the language had to be circumscribed because you had to buy everyone into it, so it just covered those four crimes.  It does not refer to general, sort of, human rights violations; or a government failing to take care of its population on a health standard; refusal to provide good governance, et cetera.  And the responsibility - and this goes to your point, Paul, was not just viewed as reaction, it was viewed as the international community helping societies avoid falling into this trap.  And so the key effort was to empower societies to avoid this pattern. 

That said, there was a recognition that that, in most cases, or in many cases, would not be successful and, therefore, you have the responsibility to use diplomacy, and sanctions, and humanitarian assistance, naming and shaming, and, in the ultimate case, military intervention. 

Now all this sounds great until Darfur came along.  And I was part of the team working for Secretary Powell that analyzed what was really going on there, and made a recommendation to him that we would call it genocide.  And I was delighted in the summer of 2004 when he did so.  And we all thought that that meant that we would see a substantial change on the ground.  And yet what we really saw was the U.S. administration, as well as the rest of the world, try to solve Darfur through half measures and quick fixes. 

The U.N. decided they didn't want to send international forces in, and so we subcontracted to the African Union, knowing that they didn't have the capability to stop the killings; knowing that we had promised to provide financial support, and intelligence, and command-and-control, and we were not going to end up doing that.  And so, too frequently they simply had a front row seat to watch the killings take place. 

We forced the parties into negotiation.  We thought that was going to be a quick fix - get them all to Abuja, force them to reach an agreement in May of 2006.  And, in reality, we got them into what was a lousy agreement, an agreement that actually did more harm than it did good, the Darfur Peace Agreement, in part, because it didn't have any support from local populations. 

At the U.N. we passed resolution after resolution adopting sanctions on the government of Khartoum; approving no-fly zones; asking the ICC to indict; and then, in most cases, we didn't enforce them.  And it sent a very powerful message to Khartoum that they could to whatever they wanted without fear from the international community. 

And finally, we have now adopted Resolution 1769, which talks about this incredibly effective 20,000-person force that's going to go in.  And, in reality, we're allowing the government in Khartoum to stifle it.  We can't even find 24 helicopters from the international community.  And if you heard Jean-Marie Guehenno last week, he went to the United Nations and said, "We may never see this deployed" -- that's the head of peacekeeping who said that. 

So not a pretty picture.  But just as Rwanda stimulated a whole set of actions, I believe Darfur is going to do the same thing vis-a-vis "responsibility to protect."  And if you look around the United States in particular right now, you see the Holocaust Museum putting together a genocide prevention task force; you see the Carr Center putting forward their programs; the Stimson Center, the Human Rights Center at Berkley.  This is a cottage industry now - "responsibility to protect."

And, indeed, for me, one of the most important aspects of this is the establishment in February of 2008 of the Global Center on the Responsibility to Protect at CUNY, Ralph Bunche Institute.  I've been very much involved in putting this together and I'm very excited about this program.  It is a center that will be linked with associated centers all around the world - Sri Lanka, South Africa, Ghana, Norway. 

It will serve as the catalyst and a resources for those within the U.N. system, within governments, NGOs who what to press these issues - civil society, regional organizations.  It's going to take R2P to the next level and it's going to do it in five ways - and I'll be very quick in terms of these five ways: 

First of all, it's going to help define the norm.  Right now we still have President Bush saying Iraq is "responsibility to protect."  At the same time, we have people saying the Inuits have the right to sue the U.S. government, because they're losing their homelands because of climate change, and the U.S. government is causing it. 

What we need to do is step back and define the norm as Paragraph 138 and 139 of the World Summit Outcome Document.  And I have the language right here, it's very simple, we shouldn't be getting involved with this now. 

Second, we need to prevent and eliminate backsliding.  There are too many governments who signed this Agreement in 2005, who are now saying, "Oh, it's - we didn't really sign it.  We don't really believe in it."  We even heard, at the ACABQ last week, governments saying, "138 didn't even talk about responsibility to protect.  In fact, it was a repudiation of responsibility to protect."  Well, I've got the language right here that says, "We respect the responsibility to protect people from - " I mean, this is just rewriting history. 

Third, we have to operationalize the concept.  We have to provide meat on the bones; we have to define what the toolbox is; we have to put in place the early warning systems; we have to develop the resources that are capable of doing these. 

Fourth, we need to put a very fine edge on the military side of this because too many people around the world believe responsibility to protect is just non-consensual military engagement when a genocide is taking place.  And if that's - if that's true, we really need to define who has the right to say that this is an R2P situation; who has the right to approve people going in under that situation; who's to say whether it's appropriate; what are the balance of consequences; how do you ensure that this the last resort.

And then finally, we have to apply it to real world cases.  Right now we're looking at Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, and we don't have the framework to put those issues into.  I suggest that responsibility to protect is, indeed, the framework that you can look at these situations most effectively from.  Because in each case, we're looking at a situation that, unless we handle it right, could generate into the four crimes that we're talking about. 

The Center - just to conclude, will also maintain a watchlist.  And this will be 12 to 15 countries around the world that we're worried about, that it will be susceptible to these kinds of mass atrocities if we don't take action.  And they will analyze what that action should be; they will be doing this on behalf of the U.N. Secretary General, and Francis Deng and Ed Luck's new offices, in part, because it is inappropriate in their view, for the U.N. to be declaring, here are 15 countries on the verge of genocide.  And so, in effect, they will subcontract that responsibility.

None of this is a panacea.  None of this is going to be the solution to the problem of genocide.  But I'm convinced that if we can put this in place effectively, we will be in a situation of never again having to say "Never again." 

STARES:  Okay.  Thanks so much, Don. 

Just a quick question, one of -- you mentioned the problems in getting a force together, and scrambling - was it 15 helicopters - (inaudible) --  Isn't this, doesn't this call for a standing force, or a stand-by force of some kind?  Doesn't that give, sort of, credibility to that argument that we need a fire brigade, if you will, to deal with the issue?  Or is that a nonstarter for all the reasons that have been dismissed or -- ?

STEINBERG:  I don't think - I don't think it's a nonstarter.  I think the notion of a standing full-time military for the United Nations is a nonstarter.  I think the identification of forces that are able to move quickly, and that may be trained together, and can intervene in a question of weeks, if not days, is appropriate. 

But let me say, I don't think Darfur gives that case, because we're not looking at a situation that has just come up all of a sudden.  We're looking at a situation that's been out there for five years.  In addition, this is a hard mission.  Let's understand that.  We don't have a peace to keep; we don't have two forces who are committed to a process and we're just trying to bring them along; we don't know who the combatants are, we have 18 separate rebel groups. 

Hedi Annabi, before he left peacekeeping and went down to Haiti, used to tell me his biggest fear was that the Sudanese government would not approve a mission in Darfur.  His second biggest fear was that they would - and then he would be responsible --

STARES:  And he didn't even mention the operational challenges of keeping the peace and a place the size of France -

STEINBERG:  The size of France with insufficient water, insufficient roads, insufficient airfields. 

STARES:  Okay, why don't we now turn to Ambassador Soderberg.  And Nancy, this administration has put a lot of emphasis on democracy promotion as the central pillar of its foreign policy, with the eye to transforming societies, making them more peaceful for the long-term, all based on the notion that democratic societies are more peaceful, in general, than non-democratic countries.  And we heard earlier today that the importance of the critical role of poverty, and other forms of deprivation, in terms of fostering conflict and instability; and we also heard about the importance of economic tours in dealing with this challenge. 

And I know you've been working on a book that looks at, I think you call it the "prosperity agenda," and has a terrific title, and could you say something about this general approach, and putting more emphasis on an economic development to deal, not only with the challenges of weak and failed states, but other broader foreign policy challenges that we face, that have a impact on conflict. 

NANCY E. SODERBERG:  I'd be happy to.  And first of all, thank you for putting this day together.  I know you're inheriting a great legacy from General Nash back there quietly.  And I think it's really key to not only solving the world's problems but also keeping America safe.  And I think it's central to what the Center for Preventive Action can do as part of promoting this debate.

Since 9/11, Americans have been engaged in debate about what is America's role in the world.  How can we keep ourselves safe?  And I'm actually fairly optimistic that while the world looks to be a mess and these problems are overwhelming at times, I think if we make a dramatic shift from the way we approach our national security and accept what I'm calling the prosperity agenda -- I have a co-author, too, actually, in fairness -- I didn't come up with this entirely by myself -- and it builds on the work of many people who've been looking at this.  But essentially, we're the most powerful nation on earth, and we are still at work.  And unless we shift our paradigm on how to approach national security, we will remain at risk. 

And what do I mean by a prosperity agenda?  What it really means is that we shift away from what I've called the superpower myths of the last, well really the first term, in particular, in the Iraq war where we're clearly the biggest superpower out there, but we fell victim to this myth that we could bend the world to our will single-handedly and primarily through military might.  And I've argued that that has made the world less prosperous.  And we need to shift our superpower status to become once again the great persuader, not just the enforcer.  Now, that doesn't mean we're not going to have to use force at times.  But unless we begin to get the world to once again follow us, we're not going to be able to keep ourselves safe or prevent conflict, which is one of the key elements in the new toolbox.

Now, prosperity means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and it's different to the guy in the Congo than it is to the person living in Michigan.  But essentially, if states, and particularly in the developing world, are denied prosperity, it is now a threat to the United States, because they become failed states, environmental degradation and honed to the kind of criminal nexus of terrorism, drug dealers and proliferators.  And so it's actually part of a key national security element of promoting this agenda. 

And what the world has seen is an America that's sort of AWOL on this agenda at the same time where the world has been struggling with the impact of globalization.  So they're threatened by conflict.  They're threatened by poverty.  They're threatened by disease.  They're threatened by environmental degradation.  And if we're AWOL on all those challenges, the world is going to turn away from the United States.  And in fact, that's exactly what has happened.  In the four corners of the world, the rest of the world no longer trusts us.  And I believe it's because we've been not seen to be helping them with their problems. 

Muslim majority, Latin America, China, they all consider the United States the greatest threat.  Even our best friends, the British and the rest of Europe, do not believe that we're pursuing the war on terror in earnest.  Nine percent of Turkey has a favorable view of the United States.  This is a NATO ally.  And it's not a popularity contest.  It's essentially a national security contest now, because unless they trust us, they're not going to join us on our agenda.

Now, the good news here is -- I started this out by saying I was optimistic, and I am -- if we begin to address the challenges that the rest of the world cares about, which is conflict, poverty, debt, disease, they'll begin to help us with our challenges which our most dramatic threats are terrorism and proliferation.  And unless you have America out there trying to address these issues, they will not help us with those.  And one of them is the conflict prevention.  But I would argue as the Center for Preventive Action, you cannot just look at conflict.  Because unless you address the rest of these issues, you will be dealing with the next Darfur, and you will be saying never again.  You have to get at them well before you get to that point.  And the only way to do that is to take a long-term view of promoting prosperity at the agenda.

Now, obviously, the United States cannot do all this on its own.  But I think unless America adopts this as its agenda, it will not lead the rest of the world to address it.  So all of these issues that are facing the developing world -- that could be poverty and certainly conflict -- have to be looked no longer at as humanitarian work, which I think they've been in the (soft-drawer ?) issues and only the real hard-power nuclear issues would matter.  But unless we look at these as essential to American security, we will not be safe, nor will we be advancing the conflict prevention agenda.

And it matters if war is out there, because conflict breeds crime, lawlessness, failed states that become the next safe haven for the next bin Laden and the next proliferators.  And in today's global world, Americans are at risk when there's conflict out there.  Infectious diseases come here.  Environmental degradation comes here.  Conflicts come here.  And therefore, we need to look at these in a different light.  And that means that we have to look at today's conflicts as part of this basket of national security for America.  So we need to do more in India and Pakistan, do more on the Middle East, do more on the Congo, Darfur, Somalia and look at them as national security issues that we have not done before.

Now, we've had a broad prosperity agenda before.  We did it with the Marshall Plan after World War II.  Even the Peace Corps was out there to try and make the world better.  And the world responds when it sees America doing the right thing.  Anti-Americanism spiked to unprecedented levels in Indonesia, for instance, in the last seven years.  But when President Bush asked the former President Bush and President Clinton to go and try and help with that issue, they put soldiers on the ground trying to solve it, the anti-Americanism immediately started turning around.

So if we can be seen to promote a prosperity agenda which would include the physical safety, freedom from war, disasters, diseases, and the economic prosperity which is stability, growth, the promise of a brighter economy, then you'll see the anti-American reversing.  And all of a sudden, Americans will be seen to be helping them, and then they're more willing to help us with our terrorism and weapons of mass destruction challenge. 

And it doesn't mean that we have to do all this ourselves.  What it means is that you have to have an Americ seen once again to be trying to address the world's problems.  This week in Bali, we should be doing more on the environmental issue.  President Bush actually has done quite a bit on the AIDS agenda, and it has helped us.  It is one of the unsung efforts of President Bush who is trying to increase aid in the HIV side.  And it's generating good will around -- reinvigorated, it has hurt America's image,

as we heard from Larsen this morning, that it's frankly too late for this administration to solve the average  -- or the peace process.  All you can do is have a process that sort of fends off the extremists for the next year.  But you're not going to get a deal between now and the end of his administration, and that hurts Americans and -- to our issues.  We need to get involved in the India-Pakistan dispute because of the nuclear frantic there. 

And I think we need to do a lot more in Africa.  And again, we, meaning America, needs to lead this effort.  We don't have to do it all ourselves.  But the way you're going to prevent the next genocide in Africa is to, first of all, have a much broader agenda that's getting at the causes of the problems in the first place.  But the reason that you have a dysfunctional peacekeeping force in Darfur today is that the African peacekeeping forces don't exist.  I mean, having a 7,000 force is ineffective.  We like to say, when we're talking about policy, it's also getting Bush involved -- it's the size of Texas, too.  But we need to be out there trying to really build up an African force in a much more aggressive way than we're doing it today.

You've had the G-8 promise to train 75,000 peacekeeping forces by the year 2010, but it's not -- (inaudible).  But we need to be much more aggressive on these types of agenda. 

If you look at polls, the citizens around the world lists crime, corruption, drugs, HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases, pollution and conflict as top on their list.  And America needs to be seen as the leadership on trying to address all those issues, galvanize the rest of the world, persuade them to follow us in this endeavor.  And unless we lead on that kind of broader agenda, and conflict prevention is one of them, they will not follow us.  They will not trust us.  And we can't persuade them to help us.

So if you're going to be a broad, conflict-prevention organization, I think we need to look at the much broader agenda than we have.  Or even if you're looking at the next Darfur, that you're not going to have the preventive force that we do.  So we have to have a paradigm shift in our national security agenda today to address these broader national security issues with America leading the effort, leading the discourse, doing its fair share.  But it doesn't have to be the world's policeman on all these fronts.  Thank you.

STARES:  Okay, thank you, Nancy.  Your remarks have prompted all kinds of questions in my head.  But I'm conscious of the time, and I want to give as much opportunity for all of you to ask questions.

So please raise your hands if you have a question to ask.  And please identify yourself.

Over here in the front, Don Shriver.

QUESTIONER:  (Off mike.)  Don Shriver, the Union Theological Seminary.

Since I believe -- (inaudible) -- it's happened once, it must be possible, and because -- (inaudible).  I wonder if the panel would nominate, each of you, a case in which -- (inaudible) -- conflict prevention -- (inaudible).

STARES:  Okay, Don, Nancy.

STEINBERG:  Following the Rwandan genocide, I went out to Goma to try to work a little bit in those camps.  And even as we were working there, we were hearing constantly that the exact same thing was about to happen in Burundi.  And indeed, if you recall the fall before, 70,000 people had been killed in a -- (inaudible) -- genocide if you can consider 70,000 people a genocide.  And the reality was that the failure of the international community to respond to that situation did leave, in part, through the Rwandan radical Hutu element, understanding that they could, in essence, get away with it.

The response of the international community was immediate in that situation.  The South Africans began to try to mediate between the groups.  Nelson Mandela went there.  The South African forces tried to calm the situation down.  Everybody sent envoys to Burundi.  Tony Lake went to Burundi.  Everyone went to Burundi.  The bottom line was that over the course of the next 10 years, the investment of the international community in donor's conferences, in security sector reform, in demobilization of force, the work that Howard Wolpe was doing at the Wilson Center, et cetera, et cetera, the world responded.  And the truth is, 15 years later, we're still very precarious in that environment.  And no one is prepared to say we're over the hump.

But it is the classic responsibility-to-protect situation, and the international community did indeed respond effectively.  And I've suggested any number of times, and in fact one of the things that this new Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect is going to see to first is using the Burundi case study which now has the peace-building commission on top of it, which has taken on Burundi as one of its first tow cases along with Sierra Leone as a model for how to do this.

STARES:  Nancy, do you have --

SODERBERG:  When I joined the International Crisis Group in 2001, its mandate was to prevent and contain conflict.  And I asked myself, well, if you prevent a conflict, how do you prove it, because nothing happened?  It doesn't make news.  It doesn't make headlines.  You're never quite sure exactly how you prove that you have stopped something.  And one of the -- Steve Del Laso (sp) who was here earlier who's at Carnegie.  And I've had this conversation with him, because Carnegie's in the business of conflict prevention.  And how do you boast to the world that you've stopped something?

But I think the best example is, to answer your question, is the human security report which the Canadians put out a couple of years ago.  Which talked about how in fact conflicts have been negotiated -- (inaudible) -- and in unprecedented levels all through El Salvador in the early '90s and '80s.  The transformation of the former Soviet Union which could have been a lot more violent.  You could have had a lot of Bosnians around.  It was integrated in an unprecedented, peaceful way.  For the most part, Africa has been the source of most of the world's conflicts in the '90s and today, but there's a lot fewer than there could have been, because the U.N.'s been in there preventing and containing conflict.

The deaths from conflict are way down.  They're are not as bloody as they used to be.  And you do have -- the U.N. has not gotten the credit that it deserves, but it has been out there negotiating and preventing conflict.  You had the end of the Irish peace process which Richard was talking about -- (inaudible) -- earlier here today.  We prevented a major problem in India, Pakistan in cargo in the 1990s.  So there's been far more conflict prevented than I think that people are aware of.  So it's a tough question to ask.  But I think the news actually is good news today.  You hear a lot about the Palestinian conflict.  But except for the Palestinians and the Hezbollah fight, it's been pretty much a, you know, a cold issue between -- (inaudible) -- and the Israelis.  Because you know, the Palestinian conflict -- (inaudible).

STEINBERG:  And I'll just -- in addition to the Burundi case that Don mentioned, obviously the Macedonia case which I think it was Jonathan mentioned earlier in terms of the -- we have the clear evidence of what prevented -- (inaudible).  India, Pakistan, again, also, arguably, in May 2002, I think that was the date when Deputy Secretary Armitage did some pretty high-level diplomacy to keep that from -- that certainly was one that the Bush administration claimed quite a bit as a successful conflict prevention, you know, on the grounds that, looking at the post-conflict front, you know, using the statistics that have often been cited, I think it's about 40 to 44 percent of countries go back into conflict after, you know, five years after peace agreements.  There are a number of cases that one could point to of successful post-conflict peace-building which have been (in effect ?) -- (inaudible) -- conflict prevention.  And one could mention -- (inaudible) -- Sierra Leone or a little bit further back Mozambique -- (inaudible).

SODERBERG:  I will say one thing, though.  If you walk through any department in Washington -- well spend time in the White House, State Department or the Defense Department -- Iraq has zapped the ability of this nation to involve themselves in these conflicts.  And it's personnel.  It is wingtips -- (inaudible).  They do not have the staff, the time and the energy and the focus of the senior levels of government, particularly the White House, of taking -- and -- (inaudible) -- you agree with me.  It is stunning to be how it zapped every energy, Iraq and Afghanistan, so you don't have the time to engage in some of the preventive diplomacy.  And it does matter if the president of the United States or the secretary of State picks up the phone and says hey guys, knock it off, and we're sending an envoy tomorrow to help you figure this out.

STEINBERG:  Can I pick up on that as well?  I know we're sort of monopolizing it.  I also think that Iraq is going to fundamentally change the way Americans think about these issues.  And it already has.  You talk to Ken Wallace, the head of the National Democratic Institute, and he will tell you that 80 percent of Democrats today believe that a democracy promotion agenda abroad is not a good thing.  It's startling to hear that.  But the reason is that they say democracy promotion equals regime change, because that's the way it's been -- (inaudible). 

I don't know if this is an -- a topic for discussion today, but the post-Vietnam era is going to be a picnic compared to what I believe the post-Iraq era is going to be in terms of trying to re-engage Americans into what I would call a -- (inaudible) -- foreign policy, especially given that 9/11 has so skewed all of these issues. 

STARES:  (Inaudible.)

QUESTIONER:  I don't know whether I agree with the thrust of this panel that it is all concentrated on the United States.  We had a very interesting seminar at the ITA about two weeks ago on what we call friends of, which the secretary general creates all the time after any kind of conflict -- (inaudible) -- very far away.  I mean, the friends can be in Norway and in Sweden, even if the conflict is in Africa.  And I think, frankly, they do a far better job than we.  I think they're far more resourceful.  I think they're much less resented -- (inaudible) -- and they act more rapidly.  So I don't know why the thrust of this conversation is in U.S. -- (inaudible) -- because I agree with you that it's highly unlikely -- (inaudible).

STEINBERG:  Well, let me pick up just on one case where I think what you're saying is exactly right and that's Myanmar right now.  The United States cannot play -- (inaudible) -- this situation.  We've been talking with the Chinese.  We've been talking with the Indonesians.  We've been talking with the Burmese themselves.  And what is very clear to us -- and frankly, we've communicated this to Gambari but we've also communicated it in the meeting I had with Zal Khalilzad.  (Inaudible) -- step back a little bit.  They have to allow the United Nations, ASEAN, China, India to form a group that's going to negotiate with the Burmese to force them to take a more conducive attitude toward the (accession ?) of Aung San Su Kyi but also to start addressing human rights and health concerns and refugees. 

If the Americans were in the ring during those discussions, it would skew the whole discussion.  Because the one thing that the Burmese would want is lifting the sanctions and military cooperation, and those are simple non-starters for the United States at this time.  And so this strikes me as the ultimate case where the United States has to be in the second circle.  They have to be having a degree of deniability to the discussions under way.  Let the process work itself out, and then they can step in at the same time as they provide outside pressure for this whole process.

And I can tell you that Zimbabwe, the British cannot be part of that process, and the Americans probably cannot be part of that process.  And frankly, in the post-Iraq phase, there are more and more phases. 

I will tell you that in setting up our Global Center on the Responsibility to Protect, we essentially said two things.  One, we do not take U.S. government money.  And two, the head of this probably cannot be an American, and it's exactly for the reasons you're suggesting.

PATRICK:  Can I pick up on --

(Cross talk.)

STEINBERG:  -- of course it's bad. 

PATRICK:  Can I pick up on Rita's (sp) point, I think you're absolutely right.  Our comments have largely been focusing on what U.S. policy should be.  I think that certainly the spirit of what I would be arguing for is very much along the lines of what you're talking about.  There needs to be some sort of a burden sharing.  And there needs to be -- you know, there are going to be cases in which the United States is going to want to take, for strategic reasons, to take a lead role and where it's going to be effective for it to do so.  But it sounds like that there are many cases where that's not the case.  What we can't do is simply go engage in sort of the burden sharing, engage in burden shifting.  (Inaudible.)

And you said that, for instance, it's not enough simply to say that the AU  should take this problem, but we actually have to make sure they have the logistical capabilities to actually do so.  And so we need to ramp-up -- (inaudible) -- global peace operations initially as Nancy said.

The other thing is we can be more creative in using some of the normal institutions.  They're not really ad hoc but -- (inaudible) -- like the G-8 for instance.  You know, we haven't really gotten on board, for instance, on the -- (inaudible) -- initiatives that the U.K. has been championing in that and other forums.  (Inaudible) -- a lot of countries that are very resource-dependent.  And that's an area, for instance, where we could get much more involved in trying to get different forms and standards and put some money and resources behind it -- (inaudible).

STARES:  (Inaudible) -- and we've got a lot of --

QUESTIONER:  I'm Milt Lowenstein (ph). 

I've heard a great deal -- (inaudible) -- capacity to prevent on behalf of government and near-governmental organizations and other big organizations.  But I don't think I've heard a word about the capacity of local people to help themselves, especially with a little aid and encouragement.  Isn't that an important part of the prevention agenda?

SODERBERG:  Yes, absolutely.  I think the best story on that is the Nobel Laureate Yunus and his Grameen Bank.  And he went in in Bangladesh in the '70s and started giving primarily women and started with 26 (dollars) or $27 and is now aiding millions in 44 countries.  And ultimately, unless there's individual responsibility to work from the ground up, nothing's going to work.  But if you are in the middle of the Congo where the war is going on, or if you're trying to, you know, raise a family in Darfur right now, you need the international community to provide those conditions -- (inaudible) -- of the locals.  But what we're talking about in conflict prevention and looking at these issues is where can the international community help set the conditions to enable that to occur. 

And you know, as far as Rita's point on why is this all America, a lot of times things won't move unless America does it.  We are the only superpower, and with that comes responsibility.  And I think if we can get others to take the leadership role, great.  But what happens often with America advocating its leadership on some of these global issues is you get the wrong people filling the void.  Right now, I don't really want China deciding some of these issues or Russia or Venezuela.  And unless the United States is out there setting the agenda and driving, it doesn't even have to do it, but we need to set the agenda, and here's where we come out of it to help frame the world.  That's what being the only superpower around means we have to do.  So that's why I focus on the United States a lot because if we don't set the agenda and drive it, others will step in in that void.  And the other candidates around there -- Europeans are usually right on these issues, but then look around.  Who else is emerging right now?  I'm not sure I want them setting that agenda.

STARES:  Okay.  Given that we have limited time, I'm going to do what Bill suggested and aggregate a whole bunch of questions here.

You, sir, madam, and we're going to go around.  Okay, we've got about five people, so please keep your questions very brief, and then we'll try to get to them, as many as we can.

QUESTIONER:  My name is Greg Jackson.  I'm a pastor from Mount Olive Baptist Church in Hackensack, New Jersey.

I want to thank this panel.  I really appreciated your comments; particularly your comments, Nancy.

I wanted to ask a question related to, what impact does race have in Western powers responding, particularly as you relate it to Darfur and to Rwanda and some of the other European countries where they responded?  And I also wanted to raise a question related to diversity in foreign services and what impact that has on negotiations around the world with gender as well as race.

QUESTIONER:  My name is Judith Bruce. 

My question is -- is halfway between the local engagement and the level of national responsibility.  Where do sub-national strategies fit in?  I -- (off mike) -- in the system and I think it speaks to some of your points.  What more can we do to analyze hot spots within countries where you have not only deepening poverty, but by my judgment, widespread human rights abuses already? 

And I understand this creates a problem, potentially with the elites.  We heard in the previous session that many of these problems and these conflicts are fomented at the level of the elite.  So balancing the power among the elites, but including the excluded regions.  The states sign the documents, but many of the widespread abuses of the treaties that they've signed are actually carried out in definable locations -- discoverable.  What kind of strategy level is there at the sub-national level?

STARES:  Anita?

QUESTIONER:  Anita Sharma.  I am a former staffer of the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflicts.  So I'm a byproduct of the cottage industry as well.

So I've had the opportunity over the past, almost a decade, to see the evolution of the doctrine.  And if we're thinking about from conflict prevention to failed states, failing states, duty to intervene and now the responsibility to protect, the question is:  For the challenge of defining the norm, Dr. Hamburg in the last session said that he was focusing on the prevention of genocide, which is what the Special Advisor for Genocide Prevention, Francis Deng, will be focusing on.  But responsibility to protect talks about four categories.  So if we are thinking through how you define these, is there not some kind of rub or tension inherently between the United Nations wanting to narrowly define these issues versus kind of people (deciding in ?) other groups wanting to expand this?

STARES: Yes, final one.  Yes -- two more here and that's when we should end -- definitely call it quits.

QUESTIONER:  Paul de Vries, New York Divinity School.  I'm also on the board of the National Association of Evangelicals.

One of our passions is creation care, and one of our arguments has been unless we do it right, there will be additional causes of conflict in the world.  Could you at least address how urgent and, you know, where you see that shaping?  We're not taking good care of the world, and now the global warming issue -- which is huge enough -- but obviously pollution and depletion -- if you could address that.

STARES:  And truly the last question.

QUESTIONER:  I'm Linda Perkin, lately of the United Nations, and in fact, was present at the presentation and creation of all this.

I'm struck by the fact -- and it's been touched on in many remarks -- there's an element here that wasn't present 10 years ago and that is that the United States no longer has the same moral credibility that it had 10 years when we discussed this. 

I'm wondering -- and in fact, many of the conflicts that seem to be resolved involve us with our allies, as well as those with whom we have less defined relations.  I'm wondering if this doesn't really call, again, for another sort of more encompassing definition of what we have to do, because I think the United States may be the only super power, but I think we've already seen the limits of power.  And I think that insofar as we work with others, we in fact are much more likely to further any agenda we have in this than we possibly could by ourselves.  Thank you.

STARES:  Thank you.

I'll ask each of you to take any question you want to pick up on and we'll try to call it quits.

PATRICK:  Yeah, thanks.

I'll address a number of them, actually.

In terms of race and Western powers responses -- for instance, the Darfur and other crises -- I would say that there's a distinct likelihood that there's a subconscious element of that.  I think it is -- I'm not prepared to say that it's conscious decision or conscious calculation.  I think that if the sort of loss of life we were seeing in Darfur and in Rwanda had been occurring in a European context, I think that there is a higher likelihood that there would have been demonstrable action.  That said, there was genocide, obviously, in Srebrenica and in the Balkans.

And in terms of intervention, there have been times when, for instance, the African-American constituency has played a role in intervention of a humanitarian or for a humanitarian protection purposes nature.  One thinks of Haiti during the Clinton administration. 

So we can count a number of different ways, but I can't discount the argument that you're making.

In terms of Judith's question about sub-national strategies, I think there are a number of things you can do.  I don't have a strategic framework in my mind, but one of them is when you're doing development of systems, you have to take a -- (off mike) -- distribution application of the sort of aid you're giving.  Aid is always political and so you have to think about that.  And you know, USAID since -- over the last couple of years, actually, has made a lot of progress and there's an office of conflict management and litigation about thinking about some of those things. 

Decentralization and community-driven development -- I probably don't have to tell you that that can be very useful in making sure that the projects that are being done actually correspond to locally owned -- and truly locally, not just, you know, the national government, but locally owned projects.

In terms of elections, you would start at the local level, maybe, rather than the national election, which gets very -- especially in highly divided societies it's probably very important to do that.

In terms of creation care, I think that's a very interesting -- Paul's question.  I would say in that regard, I just would draw your attention to a book by Colin Kahl --

Q Collier.

PATRICK:  No, actually, no.  Not Collier, no -- Colin Kahl -- K-a-h-l.  He just wrote an interesting book exactly on this question about sort of environmental degradation and its security implications. 

And you know, earlier in an earlier session we talked about the honey pot versus the resource scarcity notions for what drives violent conflicts.  You know, Colin has put a little more sophistication on sort of that sort of dichotomy and talks about the importance of the strengths of local governments, institutions in determining -- you know, there are a lot of intervening variables between resource scarcity or resource abundance and violent conflict at the end of the day, but it provides a pretty eloquent -- much more than I can do justice to -- theoretical framework for how that kind of unfolds.

And I'll stop.

STEINBERG:  I'll pick up on two of the questions.

I'll go well beyond where Stewart did. I think the systematic exclusion of African-Americans and women from the senior leaderships of the U.S. government has a fundamental effect on how we view the world.  The State Department, indeed, was so bad that they have lost suit after suit after suit on these issues.  And it's fascinating to hear the judges, because the judges haven't said this is a question of fairness or equity.  They have said American foreign policy is being undermined, because you're not getting the voice of the African-Americans into it, and so you're letting down the American people by implementing suboptimal policies.

I would say that -- just to tell a story on myself -- I helped negotiate the Angolan peace process and we did nothing in that agreement to enhance the role of women.  And indeed, we undercut ourselves left and right.  We had 13 separate amnesties in that agreement which forgave the government and -- (inaudible) -- for anything they had ever done against each other, including one that even forgave you for anything you might do six months in the future.  And what we found out was that essentially -- given the prevalence of rape, especially used as a weapon of war -- what that meant is that men with guns were forgiving other men with guns for crimes against women.  And if we had had women at the table, that would have been a nonstarter.

Just one other example from that agreement:  We had 4 million people sitting in refugee camps and IDP camps, and we de-mined all the major roads to get those people back home as quickly as possible.  So they got back home and then the men would send the women out to collect the firewood and the water and till the fields and the women were blowing their legs off on landmines, because we didn't focus on the fact that we needed to do humanitarian de-mining on the ground.  And so it was as if the end of conflict meant a whole new flood of violence against women on the ground. 

And I can walk you through chapter and verse of how that is still going on.  And if you think it's bad in the U.S. government, that institution over there blows it away.  There is not, at this moment in time, a single SRSG to a country who is a woman.

So in effect, what you're saying is -- (interrupted by applause) -- oh, are you glad?

MR.     :  (Off mike.)

STEINBERG:  (Laughs.)  Oh, okay.  (Laughter.)

I mean, it's absolutely absurd that this is the case.  We're going to get our first woman going to Liberia.  And that's obvious, because they want -- for Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

So again, I can go chapter and verse into this, but I'm just telling you:  Absolutely, the systematic exclusion of women and other -- and minorities from policymaking has a fundamental effect and a detrimental effect on American foreign policy and that institution's foreign policy.

Just quickly:  Yeah, that's a problem in terms of having genocide not be the only factor there.  In part because, for example, we don't even have a definition of what ethnic cleansing is.  We do have a definition of what war crimes are. We're not sure whether we really have a definition for what crimes against humanity are.  And even if you look at genocide, you know, that convention is an awful convention the way it's written.  I mean, if you look at Samantha Powers' book, she goes through it all.  I'm delighted that it exists, but you know, it doesn't impose an obligation, there's no accountability, there's no mechanism for reviewing how effective you've been.  And frankly, if you talk with the members of the ACABQ or the Fifth Committee, they may not even allow Francis Deng's position to go ahead, much less Ed Luck's position, because of the exact issues that you're raising.

So yeah, we have to step back.  We have to define terms, but at the same time, we have to avoid having these semantic aspects control what we really know we have to do, which is to stop mass killings on the ground.

STARES:  Finally, Nancy, as someone who has risen to the highest ranks of the U.S. government as woman -- (laughter) -- so.

SODERBERG:  I mean, on the women issue -- I mean, it's extraordinary to me that I'm almost always the only woman on a panel, the only person in the meeting.  It's just -- you know, it's stunning in this day and age that that's an issue.  I think it's changing over time.  I think people who are in -- I teach now at a university.  I think they'll face it less, but I think everybody needs to be much more conscious of it.

And actually, when you get into conflict prevention, women are much better at it.  We're traditionally -- I think we're better at anything, but you know -- (laughter) -- put us in charge of the world and it'll be -- you know, we just don't get it.  But I do think it's an issue and thank you for raising it.

I do want to come back to your race in Rwanda issue, because I think -- I've actually looked a lot -- I was in the White House with Don when this happened.  We both, you know, will go to our graves feeling guilty about it.  And I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what we could have done differently -- what could have done.  And I come out slightly differently than where Don does on this in that ultimately -- and it fits into the responsibility to protect issue -- the decision to send troops into a far-off land is a tough one for anyone.  And the only ones who are going to be willing to do it are those from the neighborhood.

If you look at Bosnia after World War -- the Cold War ended, it took us two-and-a-half years to intervene in Bosnia.  We were looking at the satellite photos of the mass graves.  We knew what was going on.  You couldn't pretend that we didn't know.  And this is Europe where we fought two world wars -- two-and-a-half years before we moved.  It's the Australians that went into -- you know, this came up earlier today.  It's the Australians that intervened in East Timor.  The Latins can take care of themselves.  Africa does not have an intervention capability.  So people can say it's a race thing; I view it as a capability gap rather than unwillingness to intervene.  Africa's far away and it's complicated and it's a very high bar for any president to say, I'll send my troops.  You don't have a standing force and therefore, you'll have to do that.

Just to add one more point:  I agree with what Don said on some of the other questions -- and Stewart.  I think we've overlooked the role of foundations at the sub-national level. And I'll just end on that, because we have to end on time.  But the foundations have contributed enormously to this -- you know, the Gates gives away more than the U.S. government in some cases.  So I think that's one thing that's getting increasingly more attention is what can you do on that level through the foundations, which have plusses and minuses -- certainly overwhelmingly on the positive side.

STARES:  Okay.

We should bring this panel to an end.  We've been talking about the responsibility to prevent and the responsibility to protect.  It's now my responsibility to try to sum up and reach some sort of general conclusion from today.  I think it's been an incredibly rich discussion and I appreciate your contribution to making it a rich discussion.  It's very difficult, obviously, for me to capture all the elements in a coherent way.  I'm going to have to obviously reflect on this.  I think we should all go away thinking about some of the things that have come up today.

Let me just briefly go through what I think have been the principal takeaways in my view -- and I think there are some obvious points that one can make or draw from today's discussion.

Firstly, I haven't heard anything today that disabuses me of the conviction that conflict prevention is an absolute necessity -- an imperative of our time.  There's nothing I've heard that suggests that this is something that's going to go away any time soon.

Secondly, another fairly obvious point:  Conflict prevention is extremely hard, and from what I gather from some of the discussion today, it's getting harder not only in terms of the location of many of the conflicts that we face being internal -- and that raising all kinds of sovereignty issues -- we now have to deal with, as Terje Larsen mentioned this morning, the fact that so many issues are now intertwined with other issues.  And this is a big problem.  And of course, we have the growing power or influence of non-state actors that can be real spoilers in terms of conflict prevention efforts.

A second big area of takeaways is, of course, the enduring challenges that follow on from it being very hard.  I think we kept hearing about political will being an issue.  And I think there are ways in which one can address this political will.  It's not an insurmountable barrier.  I think we learned today about how leadership can play a critical role in overcoming the inhibitions to early preventive action.  And I think they are well taken.

In terms of sort of short-term operational challenges, some of the ones I heard beyond the political will are -- and these are not in any particular order; I was jotting away as I was listening -- whether to do things gradually or do it in terms of a large, coherent, comprehensive package, sort of a big band approach.  There's dilemma's in each case -- whether negotiations to prevent a conflict should be open or whether they should be secret, how to address non-state actors that frankly, you don't respect a great deal, but can play clearly a major role in conflict prevention.  The issue of military deployments is clearly a double-edged sword.  Sometimes they can exacerbate the problem.  Sometimes they can suppress it.  And then we have the problem of whether -- how long they will be there for the long haul.

There is also, of course, the issue of making peace stick -- the implementation problem.  We've learned repeatedly today about how so many of the conflicts we face are actually a reoccurrence of past conflicts.  And clearly, ensuring that we have the right conflict strategy -- sorry, conflict implementation -- excuse me -- peace implementation strategies, I think is absolutely critical.

For long-term preventive action, again it's a similar set of dilemmas we face.  I think there are huge resources required to deal with many of the issues we face.  I just frankly wonder where the capacity is going to come from -- although there was a fairly recent World Bank report saying that with $58 billion we could make a major difference in terms of low-income countries and their conflict prevention.  And when we think about the $1 billion a week that we spend in Iraq, well, one can see that the capacity is there or was there at least.

I think we still need to address how we prioritize our efforts in this area -- given the resource constraints we face and will, I think, increasingly face -- at least the next administration -- in this area.  And there's always the perennial problem:  How we show progress and how we actually prove that we're making a difference.

In terms of looking ahead, I think there are some really interesting ideas for us to pursue here and I welcome others that you may offer.  We heard a lot from Terje Larsen about the toolbox and the fact that mediators and others engaged in conflict prevention often repeat the same mistakes.  I think a project that looked at how we can preserve, if you will, lessons learned, best practices, conflict preventions for future decision makers, future implementers I think is a really good idea to look at.

And how we can focus more not just on the responsibility to protect, but as Fen Hampson talked about, the responsibility to prevent, the more upstream initiatives that one can take so that we're not put in a position of being the fire brigade of last resort, and how we can generate the strategic commitment to prevention, which I think was in some respects what the Carnegie Commission report was arguing for when they talked about a culture of prevention.

Let me, I think, wrap up there.  This has been a long afternoon.  I appreciate you all for coming here today.  I've been trying to keep us within a reasonable time frame.  I think it's appropriate that I thank some important people who've made this possible:  obviously, the Carnegie Corporation of New York for funding this symposium.  I'd also like to add my thanks to Bill Nash who handed me the keys to a Cadillac here and I'm much appreciative of that. 

This actual event would not be possible without the terrific support that we've had from both the New York office and, of course, my two staff members.  And I want to acknowledge them here:  Alex Noyes (sp) and Jamie Ecken (sp).  Please take a stand up, take a bow.  (Applause.)

So with that, these proceedings are over and I welcome your further follow-up comments, if you have any suggestions.  And I obviously look forward to seeing you again.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

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