BTW MIC Still Rules

August 29, 2012

After recent failure to reach agreement on treaty for international arms trade the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote article ”The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded” (August 28, 2012). The main idea is in his article headline and article contents lot of good intentions and initiatives for peace development too. However I would like to bring up only one hard fact mentioned there. And here it is:

Last year, global military spending reportedly exceeded $1.7 trillion – more than $4.6 billion a day, which alone is almost twice the UN’s budget for an entire year.

The fact above describes that Military-Industrial-Complex (MIC) – especially in U.S. – still rules the world. Global military industrial consumption represents a few percent of GDP and is still rising. U.S. share of the cake is about 40%. The international community still is willing to invest hundreds of times more to the war than peace. MIC is a concept commonly used to refer to policy relationships between governments, national armed forces, and industrial support they obtain from the commercial sector in political approval for research, development, production, use, and support for military training, weapons, equipment, and facilities within the national defense and security policy.

U.S. MIC at work

Even academia is in tow, with about 350 colleges and universities agreeing to do Pentagon-funded research. In Academic world neuro-weapons and diverse applications of numerous branches of research – such as the software guidance systems, general communications networking systems and robotics technology – that blur the distinctions between government, military, and medical, technological and scientific research.

MIC is not only weapons, their development and use, energy companies are one key sector nowadays. The wider picture is that U.S. tries to implement its Silk Road Strategy (SRS) by securing control over extensive oil and gas reserves, as well as “protecting” pipeline routes and trade on Eurasian corridor. This militarization is largely directed against China, Russia and Iran. More about SRS in my article “Is GUUAM dead?

Small fraction of U.S. MIC

Amid all this waste the Pentagon spares no effort to keep the media on its side, both in the US and elsewhere. The military allocated at least $4.7 billion this year to “influence operations” and has more than 27,000 employees devoted to such activities.

War activities are producing high quarterly bonuses for owners of military-industrial-complex. Peace work has an opposite problem – it is not profitable, While global military spending is at least $ 1.7 trillion, the OECD Development tries to manage with some 100 billion, Peace work overall gets some 6 billion and 0.6 billion goes to conflict prevention. Peace Research, could help prevent conflicts, but development of tools for killing is much more lucrative. Against one peace researcher, is estimated to be more than 1100 researcher for weapon (and their use) developers.

The difference in what countries are prepared to invest in weapons and their use is huge compared to what they use for example, poverty elimination and economic development in developing countries. And just poverty is one of the causes of violence.

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Some – Believe or not – Trivia

  • Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report as of June 2009 in Afghanistan/Iraq theatres operated 73,968 private contractors; included were familiar names like Kellogg, Brown and Root, Fluor Corp, Lockheed Martin and hired guns like DynCorp and Xe (formerly Blackwater USA)
  • U.S. spending in Iraq 2003-2006 was 1.4% civilian, 98.6% military
  • In Afghanistan, one gallon oil costs the invading troops $ 400 and annual expenditure of one soldier is almost one million US dollar according to a recent statistics.
  • U.S. intelligence officials have concluded there are only about 100 al Qaeda fighters in the entire country. With 100,000 troops in Afghanistan at an estimated yearly cost of $30 billion, it means that for every one al Qaeda fighter, the U.S. will commit 1,000 troops and $300 million a year. (Ok there is Taliban too but if I remember right the justification for operation was al Qaeda)
  • To keep people happy and silence critics Pentagon spares no effort to keep the media on its side, both in the US and elsewhere. Last years the military allocated at least $4.7 billion per year to “influence operations” and has more than 27,000 employees devoted to such activities.
  • The cost of making a Qassam rocket for attacking to Israel is only $ 10-20/each while protecting Israeli civilians with Iron Dome interceptors costs each time $ 40,000 – 100,000.
  • Peace Research, could help prevent conflicts, but to kill the development of tools is much more lucrative. Against one peace researcher, is estimated to be more than 1100 researcher for weapon (and their use) developers.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed…. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people…. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense.

(President Dwight Eisenhower)


After 9/11 – The Bottom Line

September 19, 2011

While soap opera on the WTC square is over again it might be time to make a cool assessment – what is the bottom line behind correct statements, condolences and sentimental sob stories. It is understandable that sc human interest aspect gets the main role in headlines, it as well conspiracy theories are good marketing tool for media. The other perspective can be found by studying the main economical and political beneficiaries due to 9/11 and after that.

The main beneficiary last ten years has been U.S. Military-industrial complex. War on terror is a lucrative business and the extra profit can be made through complicated and nontransparent nature of money flow (on August 2011 U.S Congress investigation reported USD 30 billion waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan). Anyway quite reliable estimations suggest that cost of War to the United States in Afghanistan have been around USD 450 bn and in Iraq USD 800 bn so these these two total USD 1.250 bn (it is 1,250,000,000,000 bucks) only in US, the US allies increase minor part the investment mentioned. The effect of 9/11 to turnover of military industrial complex is huge: spending after 9/11 is 3 to 4 times compared pre 9/11 spending, it is more than spent at height of cold war with communist block.

The WTC attack shifted drastically political playground for benefit of military-industrial complex as finally after the breakup of Soviet Union there was again an enemy to justify military spending. The WTC attack also boosted neo-conservative/neo-imperialist right wing policy in U.S into new highs and this policy has some common interests with business life. The war on terror has demanded U.S to establish new military bases abroad which by change are located near important gas and oil fields or near energy transport routes. Also the intervention logic is strangely following the U.S energy needs.

Besides war profiters the 9/11 boosted also civilian security sector. Not only airports got new security measures but also the societies, the physical and virtual environments are now better guarded and followed than before. Politically a phrase “every Muslim is not a terrorist, but every terrorist is Muslim” is now popular in western societies creating tensions not only on the frontiers between the cultures but also inside U.S and Europe.

Coming back to humanitarian aspect after 9/11 the numbers are shocking. Coalition military fatalities (deaths) in Afghanistan are nearly 3,000, accidentally now almost the same than with 9/11 attack. Estimation of direct and indirect deaths of civilians is 18,000 – 40,000. In Iraq the death toll of coalition forces is nearly 5,000 but for civilians the war have been fatal. Different estimates suggest hat the death toll of Iraqi civilians is from 700,000 to even 1.2 million people due the conflict. So for comparison the deaths caused by the U.S. invasion of Iraq are already over the death toll of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Some conspiracy theories suggest that 9/11 was planned and partly implemented by U.S government and/or by military-industrial complex to boost their political and economical interests. I doubt that this is true. There might be some reason to draw conclusions that 9/11 was allowed to happen but better explanation could be the uncoordinated information flow in U.S homeland security machinery. Instead of active planning of 9/11 by U.S officials and business sector in my opinion the fast commercialization of WTC attack is realistic approach as the bottom line is that both U.S military-industrial complex and its political wing or “War Party” in U.S institutions still are the biggest beneficiaries after 9/11.

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More about the role of U.S. Military-industrial complex in Will Coin work in Afghanistan? and some alternative approaches to military interventions in Peacemaking – How about solving Conflicts too?


R2P vs Facades of Interventions

September 6, 2011

The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is a relatively new international security and human rights norm to address international community’s failure to prevent and stop genocides, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.  When and where to intervene has came more and more actual question during last decades in western foreign policy.  The wars in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have been claimed to be justified attacks in name of humanitarian intervention or recently due the R2P norm. On the other hand there is questions why the same nor has not been applied in Syria, Somalia, Burma, Sudan etc.  Official high-flown statements are normally dealing R2P issue from perspective of humanitarian need or to build a democratic state in intervention region. In my opinion an opposite approach is more dominating on the ground – approach where intervention logic is traced from needs and motivations of intervener not from those in mission theatre.

From my point of view the key question is whom the interventions are protecting. The answer may be related to three issues:

  1. Does the implementing power have economical, military and/or political interests in the intervention region?
  2. Is the possible intervention region on border zone of sphere of economical, military and/or political influence?
  3. Is some party in possible intervention region enough rich or skilful to manipulate public opinion in intervener countries to get them on their side?

Looking interventions during last twenty years most of the mentioned three issues have been driving force for attacks. Balkans draw new lines in sphere of influence between great powers, same with Afghanistan in addition that country has also raw materials, in Libya and Iraq oil and gas fields were good motivation as they are also with possible attack to Iran in near future. In all cases the biggest beneficiary has been U.S. military-industrial complex. One could estimate that humanitarian interventions in Africa will start immediately when enough big oilfield will be discovered in conflict region.

Excerpt

R2P – Responsibility To Protect

The term Responsibility To Protect (“RtoP” or “R2P”) was first presented in the report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) in December 2001. As the UN debated major reforms of its human rights system, the idea of committing to an international R2P gained support from many governments and civil society organizations from all regions. UN Security Council’s Resolution 1674 on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict includes the first official Security Council reference to the Responsibility to Protect. On January 2009, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a report entitled Implementing the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP). The report outlines measures and actors involved in implementing the three-pillar approach as follows:

Pillar One stresses that States have the primary responsibility to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

– Pillar Two addresses the commitment of the international community to provide assistance to States in building capacity to protect their populations related to issues mentioned in 1st pillar.

– Pillar Three focuses on the responsibility of international community to take timely and decisive action to prevent and halt issues mentioned in 1st pillar.

Creating the facade

Manipulation of public opinion is effective way to get wider support for wars – and their huge costs – abroad. Terrorist and criminal organizations transform without delay into allies and/or freedom fighters (al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Bosnia, KLA in Kosovo, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, al-Qaedea figures now power in Tripoli) while the enemy will be demonized (Serbs, Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda). Number game with deaths is easy way to get attention in nearby regions. So in Bosnia the numbers needed were planned already some two years before Srebrenica, in case of Kosovo U.S. officials claimed that from 100,000 up to 500,000 Albanians had been massacred. When the figure later was near 10.000 from all ethnic groups together the bombings were already over.

With cases more far away from western civilization other fabrications – than number game – have been useful such as WMD’s in case of Iraq, safe haven for terrorists in Afghanistan and probably possible bombings against Iran will be justified with nuclear thread. One should also note that interventions can (secretly) begin before any public decisions (e.g. in Bosnia with operation “Storm” and in Libya special forces operated months before UN decisions).

The used operational chart with last big conflicts has been following:

1st creating imaginary thread (Iraq/WMD, Afghanistan/Taliban, Balkan Wars/ethnic cleansing…),

2nd destroying the enemy by cluster bombs, depleted uranium war heads, contract killing, torture etc.,

3rd bringing democracy and stability in form of puppet governments and ousting local more or less selected authorities.

Official high flown statement of course are speaking humanitarian intervention, R2P, peace enforcement, defending democracy etc to hide real motivations.

Not even the foggiest idea what’s next

One problem is that intervention plans cover only the first stage concentrating to get justification for attack and to get fast tactical military win and forgetting what to do after military success (or especially without it). In my opinion most of the problems in Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan are based to poor planning before intervention. For example in Bosnia despite international community’s state building efforts the country is splitting parts. Since war 15 years ago foreign aid has exceed USD 80 bn for artificial creature designed in Dayton agreement aiming multi-ethnic state with EU perspective. As a result Bosnia is now even more divided, with less national identity, 20 percent of population living under the poverty line, with a nightmare triple administration plus international supervising governor.

In Kosovo since intervention international community has worked over ten years with capacity building of Kosovo administration. First idea was to develop standards (of democratic state) before status (after being UN protectorate), then after couple of years the slogan transformed to “standards and status” and again after a couple of years “status before standards”; now after unilateral declaration of independence the standards have not been any significant issue in Kosovo and the outcome I have summarized as follows:

as Serbian province, occupied and now international protectorate administrated by UN Kosovo mission; as quasi-independent pseudo-state has good change to become next “failed” or “captured” state; today’s Kosovo is already safe-heaven for war criminals, drug traffickers, international money laundry and radical Wahhabists – unfortunately all are also allies of western powers”.

What will be the result with last intervention to Libya remains to seen but something tells the situation now in Tripoli where members of the Al Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group – LIFG, are now in control. Their commander Abd Al-Hakim Belhadj, an al Qaeda veteran from Afghanistan, now calls himself “Commander of the Tripoli Military Council.” So when U.S in the name of “war on terror” just killed al-Qaeda leader OBL it now helps radical Islam groups gain power In Libya in the name of humanitarian intervention.

One reason for failures of R2P might be poor situation analysis due lack of reliable information or as an intentional practice to avoid unwanted deductions.

Intervener problem

My conclusion is that the great powers implement interventions whenever and wherever they see it beneficial for their military, economical and/or political interests with or without UN approval while humanitarian and legal aspects are serving only nothing but a facade. One of the main problems with implementation of R2P is – in my opinion – that so far U.S and NATO have been the main actors with or without UN authorization. Public missions included e.g. the Implementation Force (IFOR) and Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia from 1995 to 2004, Operation Allied Force in Kosovo from March to June 1999 , the Kosovo Force (KFOR) from June 1999, and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan since 2001 and the latest one is Operation Unified Protector in Libya which began on 27 March 2011. In this framework R2P has reduced to one extension of U.S foreign policy and its needs and interests.

For increasing credibility of R2P principle the role of NATO should be minimized by strengthening capabilities of some wider organizations. The most important actor should be UN with its related bodies.

From European perspective the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) forms good base to develop R2P capacity; OSCE is the world’s largest regional security organization and the most inclusive playing an essential non-military role in promoting peace and stability and advancing democracy and human rights in Europe. The OSCE offers a forum for political negotiations and decision-making in the fields of early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation.

It is sad that EU has outsourced its foreign policy to U.S., it is blindly following U.S. military suspicious strategies and cowboy policy only to have good transatlantic relations – this keeps EU always as bystander in international politics. However despite this the fact is that the EU already belongs to the world’s largest providers of international assistance so it could have a great role to play in responding more effectively to protect civilians from mass atrocities and in assisting other states and institutions to develop the capacity to do so.

Intervention logic should be applied

 From my perspective developing R2P from slogan to practice an intervention logic should be obligatory and it should be transparent as only through outside critics it can be justified as meaningful tool. I have some doubts if intervention logic even exists related (humanitarian) interventions during last decades.

In my opinion R2P is similar like other development programs or projects. There is identified crisis, problem that should be solved; objectives are defined, outputs, activities, resources (inputs) are planned to achieve immediate and finally overall objectives. This both ways vertical logic should be checked at each level by the horizontal logic specifying result indicators, control methods for achieving results, and the assumptions and risks which will affect outcomes. This procedure and its further developed forms – called as Logical Framework matrix or LogFrame – is normal practice e.g. while channeling international aid into field.

The core problem from my perspective with R2P is that the slogan is serving as facade of interventions not as principle supposed applied on the ground. The logic will be thrown away when real aims of activities are hidden. When the implementing power has economical, military and/or political interests in the intervention region – in the operational theatre – the problems and needs of supposed beneficiaries are minor points similar way than collateral damages are only regrettable side-effects during main mission. By applying logical framework approach to R2P it is possible achieve more comprehensive approach to conflicts including not only immediate intervention but also life after that. 

LogFrame for R2P figure can be found below and from LogFrameR2P

Intervention Logic for R2P by Ari Rusila

Ari Rusila’s BalkanBloghttps://arirusila.wordpress.com

Intervention Logic Horizontal logic

F

e

e

d

b

a

c

k

Vertical levels
Overall objective: wider goal, a project is steered to its attainment. At all levels ►►►►
1. Narrative description2. Indicators of achievement
3. Verification methods
4. Assumptions and risks
Immediate objective: a desired situation after completion of a project. It should be SMART (specific, measurable, accurate, realistic and time related)
Outputs are items of value developed by the project for the beneficiaries. With the aid of output resources, the beneficiaries should to achieve their immediate objectives.
Activities: to produce the outputs it is necessary to implement a number of certain activities ( tasks and actions)
Inputs are the material, human or financial resources for the completion of the activities

Creative Commons License
LogFrameR2P by Ari Rusila is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at arirusila.files.wordpress.com.
More e.g. in my related articles:

Interventions in general: Multifaceted Intervention Practices , Is Peace more than absence of the War? and Peacemaking – How about solving Conflicts too?

U.S. practising intervention first in the Bosnian War 1992-95 and selecting terrorist/OC-groups to U.S. allies (More e.g. Srebrenica again – Hoax or Massacre? and Krajina – Victory with Ethnic Cleansing and the outcome Bosnia on the road to the EU, sorry to Dissolution )

Racak fabrication and “humanitarian intervention” aka since WWII first ever full scale bombing operation in center of Europe 1999 ( High pressure to fabricate Racak reports and 10th anniversary of Nato’s attack on Serbia)

About U.S. strategy in Afghanistan: Will COIN work in Afghanistan?

Other related articles: Libya Intervention is creating problems instead of solving them and Some framework to Syrian crisis


Is Peace more than absence of the War?

September 20, 2010

There is no way to peace. Peace is the way. (Mahatma Gandhi)

AR

Ironically The International Day of Peace occurs annually on September 21st ironically on 21 September 1980 Iraq launched a full-scale invasion of Iran, which was the beginning of an 8-year-long bloody war between the two countries. International Day of Peace is also a Day of Ceasefire so a simple definition for peace could mean absence of the war. In my opinion it should be more, it should have more ambitious aims and ideals. I call this value added peace with term “quality peace”. Some aspects of this context may clarify what does this term signify.

Peaceful conditions may reflect totalitarianism

The great armies, accumulated to provide security and preserve the peace, carried the nations to war by their own weight. (A. J. P. Taylor)

Peaceful society with low crime records (excluding state-terror which is not recognized as crime) can same time be a totalitarian state based to fear. Totalitarian dictatorship can limit its dominance to enslavement of citizens inside their country (Myanmar could an example) but it can be seen also as thread to other societies and this can erupt as violence even war (like peaceful North Korea).


Stability can also be bought by some economical benefits or it can be brought by foreign military force. In both cases real conflicts can be hidden from sight, however sustainability may be questionable.

Frozen conflict


We must recognize the chief characteristic of the modern era–a permanent state of what I call violent peace. (Admiral James D. Watkins)

A frozen conflict can give an illusion of permanent peace. Events in Balkans give a good example. After bloody war in Bosnia Dayton agreement brought peace. It was possible because before Dayton the war (1992-95) had almost finished ethnic cleansing/transfer of populations so drawing new administrative boundaries according ethnic groups was not big deal. Even in this context peace deal hardly can keep artificial “state” together – it can disrupt any time. (More Bosnia collapsing?)

Other example about frozen conflict is Kosovo. One can show from statistics that also in Kosovo prevails peace. Why, not because there is multi-ethnic and tolerant society, but because other than Albanian ethnic groups were kicked out to enclaves, north Kosovo or totally out from province. Former Serbian province is now international protectorate where northern part continues to be integrated with Serbia as it always has been and southern part has some delusion about independence. (More e.g. in “Kosovo: Two years of Pseudo-state” ). If the status of Kosovo can not be agreed between Pristina and Belgrade there is a possiblity that today’s pseudo-state may become next “failed” or “captured” state.

Other quite stable but however frozen conflicts one can mention Abkhasia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabah and Transdnistria.

Defending peace with cluster bombs

The basic problems facing the world today are not susceptible to a military solution. (John F. Kennedy)

Most independent states suppose that peace can be kept with help of credible army; some countries believe that an attack is the best defence. The bigger countries feel more secure when they keep contol in their sphere of influence, with military force if needed. The real superpower may have strategic concept that the whole world is her sphere of influence so e.g. U.S can freely attack anywhere on the globe – to secure peace.

The used operational chart with last big conflicts has been following:

1st creating imaginary thread (Iraq/WMD, Afghanistan/Taliban, Balkan Wars/ethnic cleansing…),

2nd destroying the enemy by cluster bombs, depleted uranium war heads, contract killing, torture etc.,

3rd bringing democracy and stability in form of puppet governments and ousting local more or less selected authorities.

Official high flown statement of course are speaking humanitarian intervention, peace enforcement, defending democracy etc to hide real motivations.

Money talks, peace is bystander

War is never economically beneficial except for those in position to profit from war expenditures. (Congressman Ron Paul)

Peace work has one problem – it is not profitable, killing is at least from materialistic point of view. The world’s military spending is some 1.2 trillion, the OECD Development 106 billion, Peace work 6 billion and 0.6 billion of conflict prevention. The international community is willing to invest 200 times more to the war than peace. Peace Research, could help prevent conflicts, but development of tools for killing is much more lucrative. Against one peace researcher, is estimated to be more than 1100 researcher for weapon (and their use) developers. The difference in what countries are prepared to invest in weapons and their use is huge compared to what they use for example, poverty elimination and economic development in developing countries. And just poverty is one of the causes of violence.

The bottom line


While military contractors are looking for new markets, the Pentagon is seeking a new mission. Investigative journalism, non-governmental organizations, humanitarian activist groups and groups having opposing political view can find the real motives behind aggressions which are destroying or planning to destroy peace. However the MIC is dominating mainstream media and the initiative is on the side of aggressor, peace activists so far are more reacting to events.

Peace is only defensive victory, the real aim should be more e.g. what I call as quality peace. Instead of brokering a peace deal quality peace is longer, deeper and holistic approach. Instead of tactical manoeuvre made by force and by outsiders it is process implemented by mostly local stakeholders through dialogue, through acceptance or at least tolerance of differences. The only way for quality peace is through motivation or at least commitment of individual, clan, community, ethnic groups, wider society or state to resolve conflicts by peaceful manner instead aggression by warmongers and profiteers with manipulated vision of security and defence.


Note:

This article was my contribution to

CULTURE OF PEACE CAMPAIGN

Youth & Peace Education to Build Peace

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE 21st September

WupY 2nd Anniversary 20th September

12-21 September 2010

http://www.wupy.org



NATO 2020: Downsizing Instead of Reshaping

August 30, 2010

Note:

My article was originally published on August 30, 2010 as OP-ED in a collaborative project to create recommendations for NATO’s new Strategic Concept by Atlantic-Community.Org (open think tank).

Ari RUSILA: Rather than providing for collective defense, today’s Alliance is invited to join American wars. Instead of scribbling a new Strategic Concept for NATO that will preserve the dominant position of the US, it might be wiser for European states to develop a New Security Structure within the EU to replace the Cold War relic.

During last sixty years, the security environment and NATO’s role within it have both changed considerably. Threats are more diverse, as the main enemy of the Alliance disappeared in the 1990s. An attack in North America or Europe by the army of an outside state is highly unlikely. Instead of providing for collective defense, NATO is invited to fight US wars by attacking sovereign states. While experts are busy planning the new Strategic Concept, they have avoided a core question: Is NATO needed in the post-Cold War security structure, or could today’s challenges be better met by replacing the Alliance with existing, modernized organizations?

Attack is the Best Defense?

Today’s NATO is an extension of US State Department, where the role of other members is to support US wars, guarantee the quarterly profits of the US military-industrial complex (MIC), and try to cover damages and failures of these aggressions economically by using “soft power.”

From her side, the US is motivated by the prospect of gaining control over the world’s main energy resources. Examples include the US “Silk Road Strategy” (SRS) and the GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova) Group, which aimed to block Russia from gas fields in the Caspian Sea, cut her connection to Iran, and isolate Moscow politically. Most conflicts from the Balkans to Afghanistan have their roots in the SRS. Russia’s counter actions have been successful, and both the SRS strategy and GUUAM have been failures. Today, the main focus of the US is to keep a foothold in Central and South Asia and to prevent the expansion of China. NATO’s role is to provide political backing and financial support for these American foreign policy goals, and does not necessarily reflect the EU’s interests (read more in my article Is GUUAM dead?).

Threats Today and in the Near Future

The collapse of Communism removed the original idea of NATO’s existence, and among the Allies there is a growing fatigue to participate in real or imaginary attacks around the world led by an American cowboy policy. The changed security environment has raised the question of NATO’s continuing relevance, and so a new Strategic Concept is being developed to define new threats in order to legitimate the Alliance’s existence. The following can have some relevance:

  • Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and their means of delivery, whether in the hands of irresponsible states or non-state actors.
  • Malevolent use of modern technology and information systems by individuals, organizations and states to target the vulnerable areas of societies is today’s reality – cyber space is a growing battlefield.
  • Globalization is making borders more fluid, so the flow of goods, services, people, technology, crime and weapons is increasing. Open borders can be used to harm different societies by groups with political, religious, economic, or criminal motivations. Also, the communication, transport, and transit routes that link the multi-polar world together are increasingly vulnerable.
  • Climate change, migration of people, struggle over raw materials, and clean water can also be the cause of future conflicts.
  • Intrastate conflicts will continue, caused by both ethnic and economic factors.

The New Security Structure

The New Security Structure – which could replace NATO – should in my opinion cover the whole crisis cycle, from prevention to crisis management to post-crisis stabilization and capacity-building measures. From the EU perspective, the core of this structure should be a combination of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), and EU Battlegroups (EUBG). An even wider structure could be created by reinforcing the OSCE as the main security organization in Europe, but this may require a longer time. In order to respond to today’s threats, the ESDP/CFSP/EUBG should coordinate its activities with the UN/Department of Peacekeeping Operations (world wide crisis cycle management), the IAEA (nuclear and other WMD), Interpol/Europol (organized crime, cyberwar) and FRONTEX (borders).

One crucial question, at least during the transitional period from NATO to the New Security Structure, is the coordination of US hard power with EU soft power in ongoing operations. If EUBG is not enough, more military muscle can be provided by the US. However, America will only help its European partners if the US military-industrial complex has some interest in doing so. Additionally, private firms will be more than ready to take on the dirty jobs: assassinations of terrorists, torture, and trafficking, among others (as they are currently doing in Pakistan on the CIAs payroll). Europe must work to establish its own security structure in order to free itself from the obligation of being complicit in such tactics, which are accepted means of defending and spreading western democratic values under the current US-dominated Alliance.



Peace Rank: Balkans and Eastwards

June 14, 2010

The Global Peace Index (GPI) is implemented by organization called Vision of Humanity, which groups together a number of interrelated initiatives focused on global peace. As its mission Visions of Humanity brings a strategic approach to raising the world’s attention and awareness around the importance of peacefulness to humanity’s survival in the 21st century. Now on May Vision of Humanity published its fourth edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI). It has been expanded to rank 149 independent states and updated with the latest-available figures and information for 2008-09.

Indicators

The index is composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from respected sources, which combine internal and external factors, such as violent crime, political stability and military expenditure, correlated against a number of social development indicators such as corruption, freedom of the press, respect for human rights and school enrolment rates and relations with neighbouring countries. These indicators were selected by an international panel of academics, business people, philanthropists and members of peace institutions.


Some reservations:

  • Vision of humanity, its expert panel and GPI are representing mainly western methodology, approach and values
  • GPI is based to data available of different indicators and as such a compromise
  • The 2010 scores are based information collected mainly information for 2008-2009 so there is some delay

With these reservations I however find GPI both interesting and useful and anyway I haven’t seen any better global survey.


The Rank


To the table below I have collected the GPI rankings from the Balkans and Eastwards on countries analysed in 2010 report. In addition I have included to table also top-3 and worst-3 countries, the BRIC countries and USA. Besides 2010 ranking I show also rankings in 2009, 2008 and 2007 reports to see trend during last years as this may help to track when and how some countries become more or less peaceful. Countries most at peace are ranked first. A lower score indicates a more peaceful country. My source – Vision of Humanity Org, GPI results, full list of 149 countries, methodology and other explanations and scores per country/indicator can be found from here!

Country 2010 2009 2008 2007
Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score
New Zealand New Zealand 1 1.188 1 1.202 4 1.350 2 1.363
Iceland Iceland 2 1.212 4 1.225 1 1.176
Japan Japan 3 1.247 7 1.272 5 1.358 5 1.413
Slovenia Slovenia 11 1.358 9 1.322 16 1.491 15 1.539
Croatia Croatia 41 1.707 49 1.741 60 1.926 67 2.030
Romania Romania 45 1.749 31 1.591 24 1.611 26 1.682
Bulgaria Bulgaria 50 1.785 56 1.775 57 1.903 54 1.936
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina 60 1.873 50 1.755 66 1.974 75 2.089
Albania Albania 65 1.925 75 1.925 79 2.044
Moldova Moldova 66 1.938 75 1.925 83 2.091 72 2.059
People's Republic of China China 80 2.034 74 1.921 67 1.981 60 1.980
BrazilBrazil 83 2.048 85 2.022 90 2.168 83 2.173
Republic of MacedoniaMacedonia (FYR) 83 2.048 88 2.039 87 2.119 82 2.170
United StatesUSA 85 2.056 83 2.015 97 2.227 96 2.317
The image “https://i2.wp.com/europeandcis.undp.org/uploads/public1/images/Montenegro_Flag-RESIZE-s925-s450-fit.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Montenegro 88 2.060
Serbia Serbia 90 2.071 78 1.951 85 2.110 84 2.181
Ukraine Ukraine 97 2.115 82 2.010 84 2.096 80 2.150
Armenia Armenia 113 2.266
AzerbaijanAzerbaijan 119 2.367 114 2.327 101 2.287 101 2.448
TurkeyTurkey 126 2.420 121 2.389 115 2.403 92 2.272
IndiaIndia 128 2.516 122 2.433 107 2.355 109 2.530
Georgia (country) Georgia 142 2.970
Russia Russia 143 3.013 136 2.750 131 2.777 118 2.903
AfghanistanAfghanistan 147 3.252 143 3.285 137 3.126
Somalia Somalia 148 3.390 142 3.257 139 3.293
Iraq Iraq 149 3.406 144 3.341 140 3.514 121 3.437

Some developments

Central and Eastern Europe remains, on average, the third most peaceful region, after North America. The recent members of the European Union are ranked highest, with Slovenia leading the way in 11th place. Non-EU countries in the Balkans are ranked between 60th and 90th in the 2010 GPI and nations in the Caucasus and Central Asia occupy the lower reaches of the index, as before. Croatia also fared well, with a robust score increase and a rise of eight places to 41st position, amid growing political stability and improved relations with neighbouring countries as it closed in on accession to the EU. Romania’s score also deteriorated sharply and it dropped 14 places in the overall ranking. Particularly large score rises for Russia and Georgia, which were embroiled in conflict in 2008. Serbia and Montenegro were covered earlier as the state and the scores of Serbia does not include Kosovo province as figures from there were not available.

Findings

One of the more remarkable findings from the 2010 Global Peace Index is that societies that are highly peaceful also perform exceptionally well in many other ways. The most peaceful societies share the following social structures and attitudes peaceful also perform exceptionally well in many other ways. The most peaceful societies share the following social structures and attitudes

Photo: dreamstime.com

Well functioning government

Sound business environment

Respectful of human rights and tolerance

Good relations with neighbouring states

High levels of freedom of information

Acceptance of others

High participation rates in primary and secondary education

Low levels of corruption

Equitable sharing of resources.

These qualities act as a facilitator making it easier for people to produce, businesses to sell, entrepreneurs and scientists to innovate and governments to regulate. A detailed review of these qualities is contained in discussion paper.


Monetary value of peace

Peace has also its monetary value in terms of business growth and economic development. The index authors estimate that the total economic impact of an end to violence could have been US$28.2tr between 2006 and 2009. A 25% reduction in global violence would add an annual $1.85tr to the global economy. If an improvement of 25% in global peacefulness could have been achieved in 2009 then this would have unleashed $1.2 trillion in additional economic activity. (Source: Peace, Wealth and Human Potential)

However also war has its monetary value and in short term business – especially inside military-industrial-complex – world the profits from war can be more attracting than those from peace. In my previous article “Peacemaking – How about solving Conflicts too?”. I described situation as follows:

Global military industrial consumption per year is 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars, representing a few percent of GDP and still rising. U.S. share of the cake is about 40% to the current year, 664 billion dollars. This is a good comparison of the UN budget (27 billion), which is a sum of nearly three per cent of its Member States on military expenditure. UN’s “Millennium Development Goals” are dreaming 135 billion per year, this one only a fraction of military spending.

An other comparison (dollars / year): the world’s military spending 1.2 trillion, the OECD Development 106 billion, Peace work 6 billion and 0.6 billion of conflict prevention. The international community is now willing to invest 200 times more to the war than peace. Peace Research, could help prevent conflicts, but development of tools for killing is much more lucrative. Against one peace researcher, is estimated to be more than 1100 researcher for weapon (and their use) developers.

Peace and global challenge


Global challenges, such as climate change, decreasing biodiversity, lack of fresh water and overpopulation, call for global solutions and these solutions will require co-operation on a global scale unparalleled in history. Peace is the essential prerequisite because without it the level of needed co-operation, inclusiveness and social equity necessary to solve these challenges will not be achieved. The big challenge at global, regional and state level is to strengthen factors – or “drivers” of peace in social structures and attitudes.


Peacemaking – How about solving Conflicts too?

May 26, 2010

The only way to solve a conflict at any level of society is to sit down face to face and talk about it.” (John W. McDonald)

A new peace mediation study , that states Finland’s accomplishment in the field of mediation and conflict prevention, was released on Thursday, May 6, 2010 by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The study recommends strengthening Finland’s peace mediation capacity. Finland has some evidence of peace mediation to show and former President Ahtisaari even got Nobelprize for his efforts on the field.“The peace mediation initiative is a starting shot; the aim is to make Finland a great power in peace mediation,” Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb said and revealed two of his dreams at the event. “It would be great if Finland established a peace mediation fund from which money could be withdrawn in a pinch. The second dream would be a peace mediation institute where Finnish or international peace mediators could be trained.”


I am in favour of both opening of the debate over peace mediation issue as well with FM Stubb’s dreams. If the decision-makers take the initiative serious, so then should be considered the content for it, the strategy how to develop dreams into actions, put the issue in a broader context and, of course, resourcing the development of individual projects. While the international community is now willing to invest 200 times more to the war than peace a shift to resource peace building activities is always welcome.


Definition problems


Peace is nice word, however the definition of “peace” can vary with religion, culture, or subject of study. From same reason I think it is important define also peace mediation and different aspects of that. I think that the conflict resolution by peacemakers is an ad hock fire department activity, important but secondary question. The primary issue from my viewpoint is prevention of problems and their causes, or at least awareness of them. Also important is to put single conflicts in wider context such as game between great powers, struggle over global energy resources and their supply routes, economic profits of military-industrial-complex etc. So in my view peace mediation is one part of handling conflicts, it should be applied also before armed conflicts, also post-conflict crisis management in short term and seeking sustainable solutions in long term should from my viewpoint be integral part of peace mediation and its training activities.

Since the end of the Cold War also the conflict environment has totally changed. Earlier The League of Nations and then The United Nations were created to prevent one nation-state from invading another nation-state and going to war with that other nation-state. Today most wars are intrastate ethnic conflicts. Current peacemaking, peace-building or crisis management structures are not designed to cope with this type of conflict.


Traditional Approach


An eye for an eye for an eye for an eye … ends in making everybody blind (Mahatma Gandhi)

One popular method in peacemaking process is “Quid pro quo” meaning “something for something”a favor for a favor” or “give and take”. All meaning are close ancient eye-for-an-eye codes of justice (or mirror punishment). This approach is familiar also for “tit for tat” game theory strategy.

In peacemaking there are four traditional ways in which conflicts between two parties are handled:

  1. A wins, B loses;
  2. B wins, A loses;
  3. the solution is postponed because neither A nor B feels ready to end the conflict;
  4. a confused compromise is reached, which neither A nor B are happy with.

From my viewpoint these traditional methods have at least following shortages. Basically peace deals are made between elite’s and their (game) interests where participants are calculating are the wins due the peace bigger than the wins due the war. Many times the process is coercive based to will of outsiders not necessary local needs. From my opinion the traditional process will produce temporary – tactical – solutions and the outcome is frozen conflict. The best examples of these are maybe Bosnia after Dayton and Kosovo after Ahtisaari’s pseudo talks.

Fortunately there is also better alternatives for these traditional methods. Here three examples.


Multi-Track Diplomacy


The Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD) is a U.S. based nonprofit organization founded in 1992 working now globally + 20 conflicts. IMTD uses a holistic and participatory approach to assess the key variables in deep-rooted conflicts and post-conflict settings. The Institute is focused on identifying and understanding the causes of conflict within a nation. Their method – sc. Multi-Track Diplomacy– is a conceptual way to view the process of international peacemaking as a living system. It looks at the web of interconnected activities, individuals, institutions, and communities that operate together for a common goal: a world at peace. Multi-Track Diplomacy is an expansion of the “Track One, Track Two” paradigm that has defined the conflict resolution field during the last decade. Track One Diplomacy is official government diplomacy whereby communication and interaction is between governments. Track Two Diplomacy is the unofficial interaction and intervention of non-state actors.


IMTD’s utilizes its “systems-based approach” by recognizing that the transformation of deep-rooted conflicts cannot be left solely to governmental entities, but must be expanded to include non-governmental actors, civil society and other informal channels. By expanding the approach to peacemaking and peace-building outside of Track One, IMTD works to ensure a holistic, comprehensive approach to conflict transformation with a greater likelihood of long-term, sustainable peace. More about Multi-Track Diplomacy in IMTD site.


Holistic Integrated Model of Peacebuilding

Since 2003 Pacific Peacebuilding Initiatives Ltd (operating as Peacebuilders International) has been working throughout the Asia/Pacific Region with the goal of establishing justpeace, a sustainable peace that allow communities to develop. Even the main stakeholders are from different churches they have applied quite holistic approach for building sustainable peace. In figure below is described the main components of Peacebuilders International approach:


More in Peacebuilders International web-site .

TRANSCEND – maybe the best Approach


Johan Galtung (born 24 October 1930) is a Norwegian mathematician and sociologist and a principal founder of the discipline of peace and conflict studies. In 1993, he founded TRANSCEND, a network for Peace and Development, which is now running Transcend Peace University with a number of courses online, Transcend University Press, Transcend Media Service with material on current events, and Transcend Research Institute. Galtung himself has employed the “TRANSCEND” Method while serving as a negotiator in a number of international conflicts. He views his role as that of helping the parties clarify their objectives, and working to come up with solutions that meet the objectives of all parties. He presents them with concrete proposals that are intended to give both sides the sense that they are winners.


Galtung tries to break with these four unsatisfactory ways of handling a conflict by finding a “fifth way,” where both A and B feel that they win. TRANSCEND’s “conflict transformation” approach relies on nonviolence, creativity, and empathy to facilitate an outcome where both parties move beyond their stated positions to create a new reality in their relationship. This represents a clear contrast to competitive diplomacy and war, the coercive approaches to conflict traditionally used on the international level, which often serve only to perpetuate bitterness and asymmetry. (More background e.g. TRANSCENDand Johan Galtung: Transcend and Transform : An Introduction to Conflict Work; London: Pluto Press, 2004)

TRANSCEND mission statement defines four pillars: To bring about a more peaceful world by using action, education/training, dissemination and research to handle conflicts with empathy, nonviolence and creativity. TRANSCEND is organized in a dozen regions around the world and during last years most of the work has been on conflict mediation and violence conciliation, using Diagnosis-Prognosis-Therapy, on often very difficult and complex conflicts.

I think that “Transcend” approach hits the core question in peace-building process. First it is based to wide participation and even commitment of local stakeholders through dialogue, second it goes to the roots of conflicts and third it is future-oriented.


War costs vs. peace costs

Global military industrial consumption per year is 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars, representing a few percent of GDP and still rising. U.S. share of the cake is about 40% to the current year, 664 billion dollars. This is a good comparison of the UN budget (27 billion), which is a sum of nearly three per cent of its Member States on military expenditure. UN’s “Millennium Development Goals” are dreaming 135 billion per year, this one only a fraction of military spending.

An other comparison (dollars / year): the world’s military spending 1.2 trillion, the OECD Development 106 billion, Peace work 6 billion and 0.6 billion of conflict prevention. The international community is now willing to invest 200 times more to the war than peace. Peace Research, could help prevent conflicts, but development of tools for killing is much more lucrative. Against one peace researcher, is estimated to be more than 1100 researcher for weapon (and their use) developers.



The 2005 statistics, the light can make another comparison (dollars / year): the world’s military spending 1.2 trillion, the OECD Development 106 billion, Peace work 6 billion and 0.6 billion of conflict prevention. The difference in what countries are prepared to invest in weapons and their use is huge compared to what they use for example, poverty elimination and economic development in developing countries. And just poverty is one of the causes of violence.

The international community is now willing to invest 200 times more to the war than peace. Peace Research, could help prevent conflicts, but to kill the development of tools is much more lucrative. Against one peace researcher, is estimated to be more than 1100 researcher for weapon (and their use) developers. I think then it is clear that the State should be the main financier of peace-education, -research, building etc activities which are not attractive for private companies while war activities are producing high quarterly bonuses for owners of military-industrial-complex.


The Future of Peace Operations


Today U.S./Nato is trying a new comprehensive approach in Afghanistan and maybe in other areas in future too. This counter-insurgency – or COIN – strategy tries e.g. to work more closely with NGOs, so that their “soft power” could complement our hard power.Critics of the new focus on counter-insurgency theory claim it is a tactical gimmick, it is not a recipe for winning the war in the long run, they say; it is only for avoiding defeat in the short run. Also from my viewpoint Nato’s peace operations are missing the core aspect which by my opinion is following: Without local commitment any solution – military or civilian – is not sustainable. If local commitment or participation to “new” strategy is weak I think that it does not have any possibilities to realize. Of course if the perspective is only to next U.S. election campaign or guaranteeing the quarterly bonuses in military-industrial-complex then real solutions are not the core question.

Beginning in 2003, the European Union began deploying civilian missions under the auspices of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). prefer to see the EU remain a purely civilian power. Focusing on EU civilian capabilities may be an attractive option financially and politically within Europe.


Bottom line


I assume that intrastate conflicts will continue, they will not be only ethnic ones but economic factors will be cause too. Also global challenges e.g. struggle over energy, raw materials, water with their environmental effects will play their role in future conflicts.


From my point of view peacemaking is only secondary action by managing conflicts – a deeper holistic approach is needed to make more sustainable solutions. The main components by my opinion are the following:

  • An approach of active or creative peace-building should be applied to achieve long term solutions
  • Dialogue between local stakeholders is the key component in peace-building process as if the parties are willing to discuss the conflict and work toward reaching a holistic resolution the outcome may be sustainable.
  • Dialogue should be applied through high, middle-range and grassroots levels horizontally across the lines of division in a society. There should also be no gap of interdependence of coordinated relationships up and down the levels of leadership in a society – the vertical capacity means developing relationships between higher and grassroots levels of leadership.
  • To understand the true nature of security issues in each particular context it is necessary to apply also a non-western theoretical framework as the non-western social, political and cultural reality demands maybe different approach – or viewpoint – than normal western practice.
  • Creating an environment of lasting peace is the primary goal of peace-building. The main tool can be different creative therapies being used to create peace, within individuals, groups, and societies. Although used primarily to overcome violence, creative peace-building can also be used as a preventative measure to make the foundations of peace stronger, especially when used with children.
  • The value of civilians in post-conflict stabilization has become increasingly clear and should be appreciated at the expense of military alternatives.

Some of my related writings:


EUś unused option the U.S. cowboy-policy: Could EU lead the 3rd Way out from Confrontation

My critics due Mr.Ahtisaari’s Nobelprize:Do you hear Mr. Nobel rolling in hisgrave? and his peace mediation methods: 500.000 bodies or sign! and outcome in Kosovo: Kosovo-Two years of Quasi-State

The new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan: Will COIN work in Afghanistan?

Is Yemen the next target for the War on Terror?







Is Yemen the next target for the War on Terror?

January 7, 2010

Somebody in our government said to me in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, Iraq was yesterday’s war. Afghanistan is today’s war. If we don’t act pre-emptively, Yemen will be tomorrow’s war.” (Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn.)

On December 25 US authorities arrested a Nigerian named Abdulmutallab aboard a Northwest Airlines flight from to on charges of having tried to blow up the plane with smuggled explosives. He was “suspected” of having been trained in for his terror mission in Yemen. A new target for the “War on Terror” has been found. Is it really so that a guy who burnt his trousers with some powder hidden there has so big influence to geopolitics – I have some doubts. More than from trousers of this desperate Nigerian wannabe terrorist the hidden agenda may be found again from great energy game and from interests of military-industrial complex.

Yemen has a population 23.8 million is located at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula , bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, Oman to the east, Red Sea to the west and Gulf of Aden to the south. It is one of the poorest countries in the Arab world. Per capita GDP estimated at $2,500; 45% live below the poverty line, and 35% are unemployed. The Republic of Yemen was created in 1990 when North and South Yemen united. President is Ali Abdallah Saleh became the first elected President in reunified Yemen in 1999 (though he had been President of unified Yemen since 1990 and President of North Yemen since 1978). 53% of the Muslim population is Sunni and 47% is Shi’a. Among Yemen’s natural and cultural attractions are four World Heritage sites.


The fight now

Yemen’s southern provinces have recently been the scene of US air strikes which Washington claims to be aimed at uprooting an al-Qaeda cell operative in the Persian Gulf state. But the residents of the area dismiss the claims that al-Qaeda members are being targeted in the US-sponsored air strikes, while Yemen’s government says the strike targeted militants and their relatives.

The Yemen-based group, which claims to be affiliated with Osama bin Laden’s organisation, had earlier claimed responsibility for the failed attack and called for strikes on embassies in Yemen.

The US operation in southern Yemen comes on top of a joint Saudi-Yemeni military campaign in the country’s war-weary north where Sana’a and Riyadh forces are engaged in a fierce fighting against the Houthi fighters. The Houthis, who accuse the Sunni-dominated Sana’a government of discrimination and repression against Yemen’s Shia minority, were the target of the army’s off and on attacks before the central government launched an all-out fighting against them in early August. Saudi Arabia joined the operation later following alleged clashes between its border guards and the Houthis, carrying out regular air strikes and ground incursions against the fighters.

One presumption is that US has gave the Saudis a green light to militarily intervene in Yemen to defend the Sunnis against Shias. It remains to see if this outsourcing of US foreign policy to the Saudis is enough or will escalation occur.

The Oil

The actual reason for planned U.S. involvement can be the fact that the U.S.-backed dictator, Yemen’s President Saleh, increasingly is losing control after two decades as despotic ruler of the unified Yemen. Economic conditions in the country took a drastic downward slide in 2008 when world oil prices collapsed. Some 70% of the state revenues derive from Yemen’s oil sales. The central government of Saleh sits in former North Yemen in Sana’a, while the oil is in former South Yemen. Yet Saleh controls the oil revenue flows. Lack of oil revenue has made Saleh’s usual option of buying off opposition groups all but impossible. The government has little control outside the capital, leaving a power vacuum in large swaths of the mountainous, impoverished nations.

For U.S. Yemen is important for two energy related issues: one is Yemen’s geopolitical location as one of the world’s most important oil transport routes and the other is undeveloped – some say one of the world’s largest – petroleum reserves in the territory.

The U.S. Government Energy Information Agency states that “closure of the Bab el-Mandab could keep tankers from the Persian Gulf from reaching the Suez Canal/Sumed pipeline complex, diverting them around the southern tip of Africa. The Strait of Bab el-Mandab is a chokepoint between the horn of Africa and the Middle East, and a strategic link between the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean.”


Important World Oil Transit Chokepoints

In addition to its geopolitical position as a major global oil transit chokepoint, Yemen is reported to hold some of the world’s greatest untapped oil reserves. Yemen’s Masila Basin and Shabwa Basin are reported by international oil companies to contain “world class discoveries.”

The US military-industrial-complex

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” (Dwight Eisenhower)


The same forces that steered the Bush Administration still seem alive and well today. The Military-Industrial-Complex (MIC) has its decisive say in U.S. foreign policy. Why so? The explanation can be found from picture above describing spending in U.S. federal budget.

The military industry is a dominant player in the US economy. Military orders drive America’s manufacturing sector. More than one-third of all engineers and scientists in the US are engaged in military-related jobs. Several sections of the country and a number of industrial sectors, particularly shipbuilding and aerospace, are greatly dependent upon military spending or foreign arms sales. The Department of Defense (DoD), together with the top defense corporations – or what is known as the “military-industrial complex” – controls the largest coordinated bloc of industry in the US. Roughly 75% of federal research and development expenditure is devoted to military projects.

While military contractors are looking for new markets, the Pentagon is seeking a new mission. Pentagon and U.S. intelligence are moving to militarize a strategic chokepoint for the world’s oil flows, Bab el-Mandab. The Somalia piracy incident, together with claims of a new Al Qaeda threat arising from Yemen, are serving as good excuse to this campaign.


Citing an unnamed former top CIA official, the New York Times wrote that a year ago the Central Intelligence Agency sent many field operatives with counterterrorism experience to the country. At the same time, some of the most secretive special operations commandos have begun training Yemeni security forces in counter-terrorism tactics, the report said. The Pentagon will be spending more than 70 million dollars over the next 18 months, and using teams of special forces, to train and equip Yemeni military, Interior Ministry and coast guard forces, more than doubling previous military aid levels, the paper noted.


Without doubt, the military-industrial complex has a stake in expanding areas to be exploited for oil as well as protecting U.S. oil sources. This is good news to the weapons industry. While many sectors in the US are suffering from the economic crunch, top weapons manufacturers are awaiting new orders, hiring new people, looking for new investments and gaining attention on the stock market. Political connections are also helpful in ensuring business and creating new markets. This connection helped influence overthrows of several foreign governments perceived as unfriendly to American business. It also allowed the companies to be at the right place at the right time to take advantage of new business opportunities with puppet regimes.


Military Industrial Complex is much more than only developing, producing and marketing weapons. One part is hired guns – private armies – like DynCorp and Xe (formerly Blackwater USA) costing tens of billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lack of oversight so scandalous that rampant waste, fraud, and abuse plus war crimes go unmonitored. While U.S. troops are implementing COIN strategy in Afghanistan these companies like the infamous Blackwater, now called Xe, are at work for the CIA, which is spearheading the covert Pakistan war, and this all costs money, big money. Fortunately, the agency still has the opium crop to cover the shortfalls in budget or cash.


War vs. Solution

Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi warned that the United States

should learn from its experiences in Pakistan and Afganistan and not repeat the mistakes in Yemen, both in dealing with the government of Yemen and confronting al-Qaeda. The United States and other Western powers need to provide long-term economic development to reduce poverty and raise educational standards, which can help combat terrorism in a more effective fashion than just using military force.

Recently in his interview to Al Jazeera al-Qirbi stated that

Yemen is going to deal with terrorism in its own way, out of its own interests and therefore I don’t think it will counterfire, … The negative impact on Yemen is if there is direct intervention of the US and this is not the case.

One task is to prevent exaggeration of problem. The “war on terror” can be used as Yemen’s internal policy instrument when the President tries to transfer his power to his son by stamping the opposition as supporters of al Qaeda. In overall Yemen’s fragile government is in a delicate balancing act between its allegiance to the United States and tribal, political and religious forces that resent U.S. interference in Yemen and sympathize with al-Qaeda’s ideology.

From my point of view this the core question which often seems to be forgotten while U.S.MIC tries to secure its quarterly bonuses. I hope that at least EU understands that for solution one needs to take account sociological, religious, tribal and political aspects.

U.S. Coin strategy in Afghanistan tries to be more comprehensive than pure military attack, but it also can fail if presumptions are false – or moderated to get political acceptance. More about this in my article “Will Coin work in Afghanistan?


Sure also civil crisis management operation can fail like it has been case in Balkans Some examples in my articles “Bosnia collapsing?” and “Kosovo update” . However this failure probably does not cost so many lives than failed or even successful military operation.


With these kind of economical interests it is easy to understand that a guy with burning trousers serves only as part of marketing plan to gain public acceptance. The planning of war started much earlier and probably MIC has already started planning of next invasion options after Yemen.



Will Coin work in Afghanistan?

December 11, 2009

“After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home.” (Barack Obama)

They are coming already in coffins.” (Ari Rusila)


US President Obama finally announced his new counter-insurgency (aka “Coin”) strategy in Afghanistan – which continues mostly the strategy of his predecessor Mr. Bush. Generals and influential – if not decisive – military-industrial complex got what they want and once again USA is seeking military solution to mainly political problem. I am interested to see if the selected strategy can be implemented, against or for whom it is planed, what is the role of Europe in this game and whether there would be maybe better alternatives available.

President Obama justified sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan at a cost of $30 billion a year. US mission is seize the initiative against a resurgent Taliban while building the capacity of Afghan forces so that American and NATO forces can gradually hand off security responsibilities to the Afghans. Also, support the further development of the Afghan economy and key Afghan civilian institutions. The troops should start to return after 18 months on Summer 2011 just before next US President election.

COIN

Counterinsurgency: military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions taken by a government to defeat insurgency. Political power is the central issue in insurgencies and counterinsurgencies.

A figure of Mr. David Kilcullen, the counterinsurgency strategist and aid of General Petraeus, describes well the different elements of Coin.


Coin theory emphasises a “population-centric” over an “enemy-centric” approach. It disinters the language of “clear, hold and build”, resonant of the Vietnam era, and describes soldiers and marines as “nation-builders as well as warriors” (to borrow a phrase from the US army’s much-lauded 2006 counter-insurgency field manual, co-authored by the celebrated General David Petraeus). Coin is predicated on the idea that it is possible to win supporters for an insurgency by providing security and basic services, and ensuring the presence of a strong, legitimate government.

Mike Whitney in his article Obama’s plan for Afghanistan gives an other perspective to new strategy:

Militarily, the goal is to pit one ethnicity against the other, to incite civil war, and to split the country in smaller units that can be controlled by warlords working with Washington. But instead of unifying the different ethnic regions of Afghanistan, the NATO occupation seems headed more toward a de facto partition of these regions. The foreign policy team that President Obama has assembled includes some of the same figures who advocated the ethnic-sectarian partition of Yugoslavia and Iraq. Obama’s Special Envoy to Af-Pak, Richard Holbrooke, authored the agreement that partioned Bosnia into Serb and Muslim-Croat republics in 1995, in effect rubber-stamping the ethnic cleansing that had forcibly removed populations during a three-year civil war. He also turned a blind eye when Serb civilians were expelled from Croatia the same year, and from Kosovo in 1999.

During his inaugural visit to Washington, new German defence secretary, Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg said it was necessary to put aside “the romantic idea of democratization of the whole country along the lines of the western model” and instead “transfer control of individual provinces step by step to the Afghan security forces.” The new strategy of “regionalization” is aimed at dividing Afghanistan into individual cantons—in a similar manner to what took place in Lebanon and the former Yugoslavia. Up to now the US-NATO occupation supported the government of Hamid Karzai and sold the process to the public as “democratization”. However, occupation forces are moving increasingly to hand over power directly to regional warlords and their militias—on the assumption that such regional forces will follow the orders of their imperial masters. As soon as there is no more danger in a specific province, Guttenberg declared, then the international troops should be withdrawn from that area.

Will it work?

“It’s an expensive gamble to undertake armed nation-building on behalf of a corrupt government of questionable legitimacy.” (Russ Feingold, Democrat Senator of Wisconsin)

Leave the Rag Heads to their rocks . Close the borders. (one alternative strategy in discussion forums)

The only Afghans that will welcome US troops are the ones that can successfully exploit them to wipe out rival tribes. The rest want them dead. However the new plan hopes that U.S. troop numbers and operations will set the Taliban on its heels and give the Afghan government and friendly regional authorities the time and space they need to hold off the Taliban on their own.

The US Army Field manual (2006) emphasises the importance of “troop density”, or the ratio of security forces to inhabitants: “20 counter-insurgents per 1,000 residents (or 1:50) is often considered the minimum troop density required for effective Coin operations”.

The CIA estimates Afghanistan’s population, as of July 2009, to be roughly 28.4 million. Thus, going by the 1:50 ratio, the size of the US-led coalition force would need to be approximately 568,000 troops. Even adding in the 97,000 Afghan police officers and the 100,000-odd Afghan soldiers leaves the NATO-led force more than 200,000 counter-insurgents short of the “minimum”.

Mehdi Hassan gives even more pessimistic view over Coin numbers game in his article “Two sides of the Coin”. He claims that the Afghan National Army is plagued by desertion: 10,000 recruits have disappeared in recent months. Soldiers are under-equipped and underpaid; some 15 per cent of them are thought to be drug addicts. Dominated by Tajik troops from the north of the country, the “national” army has little or no credibility in the southern, Pashtun areas of Afghanistan, where the Taliban mainly operate, and from where they draw ethnic support.

A quote from mentioned article of Mr. Hassan:

The Afghan army is useless and the police are corrupt,” says Dan Plesch, director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the School of Oriental and African Studies. “So what does McChrystal propose? More useless troops and corrupt police. It’s a counter-intuitive solution.” According to Plesch, there is a yawning gap between Coin theory and practice. “It’s all fine on paper, but that doesn’t translate into success on the ground,”

According to a recent statistics, one gallon oil costs the invading troops $ 400 and annual expenditure of one soldier is almost one million US dollar. They have to pay $ 30 billion more per year for the troops surge recently announced by Obama. The administration already planned to spend $73bn on Afghanistan in the fiscal year 2010. Now the total will be over $100bn.

To these numbers, add a shadow footprint consisting of tens of thousands of private contractors – 73,968 according to a September 21, 2009 Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report as of June 2009. Included are familiar names like Kellogg, Brown and Root, Fluor Corp, Lockheed Martin and hired guns like DynCorp and Xe (formerly Blackwater USA) costing tens of billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan for lack of oversight so scandalous that rampant waste, fraud, and abuse go unmonitored and will worsen with more troops. Additionally the infamous Blackwater, now called Xe, is at work for the CIA, which is spearheading the covert Pakistan war, and this all costs money, big money. So, fortunately, the agency still has the opium crop to cover the shortfalls in budget or cash.

President Karzai said that Afghanistan would not be able to pay for its own security until at least 2024, underscoring his government’s long-term financial dependence on the United States and NATO even as President Obama has pledged to begin withdrawing American troops in 2011.

Against whom?

Afghanistan is no longer home to al-Qaeda (Pakistan is), and al-Qaeda doesn’t need Afghan territory to be a threat. Nor is it certain the Taliban would invite al-Qaeda back in if it had the chance. President Barack Obama’s description of the al Qaeda “cancer” in that country left out one key fact: U.S. intelligence officials have concluded there are only about 100 al Qaeda fighters in the entire country. With 100,000 troops in Afghanistan at an estimated yearly cost of $30 billion, it means that for every one al Qaeda fighter, the U.S. will commit 1,000 troops and $300 million a year.

A powerful grass roots movement has blossomed in Afghanistan, giving its people new hope, self-esteem and a sense of belonging. The problem for US is that this movement is the Taliban. The Taliban and their allies have shadow governments in 33 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. There is a fear among Western military officials and diplomats that the Taliban insurgents are doing much more than the Afghan government to establish good governance and accountability. The Taliban aid groups also coordinate widely their activities with the Taliban in remote areas, so the Taliban can claim the credit and not the government. In the remote provinces, the Taliban’s efforts have reinforced two images: on the other hand an absent and/or corrupt Afghan central government and effective and accountable Taliban administration on the other. It seems logical that what Afghanistan needs is not solutions from the top down but from the bottom up. Now it seems that the Taliban — a dispersed people’s movement, spanning thousands of villages, through which the Afghan people can regain a sense of control over their government – is answering better the to the needs of ordinary citizens than US and their puppet government in Kabul.

If local commitment or participation to “new” strategy is weak I think that it does not have any possibilities to realize. Speaking about local motivation to help Yanks to implement their task it might be good idea to recall a couple of years old CBS documentary – “Bombing Afghanistan“- A little comparison of the Russian past and current practice of a Yank in Afghanistan. A couple of extracts:

“During the Russian invasion we have not heard of 10 members of one family being killed by Russians in one incident. But the Americans did that, “remarked a Villager.

“We used to hate the Russians much more than Americans,” replied the Villager. “But now when we see all this happening, I am telling you Russians behave much better than the Americans.”

Instead of terrorists or Al Oaeda US seem to fight against just ordinary citizens.

For whom?

If it is difficult to find the real enemy for new US strategy in Afghanistan the better question could be for whom the strategy will be implemented. Given the influence of military-industrial complex in US (foreign)policy the answer may be found from that direction.

The vital interest of US could be to ensure that Pakistan does not become a failed state with, in the worst case, its nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists. Ironically the US provides one-third of the entire budget of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence, which e.g. India consistently highlights as the mastermind of terrorism in the region.

One can have an reasonable understanding that the core issue in this war is not Afghanistan or “defending the American people” — but establishing a stable U.S. domination over a broad and highly strategic swath reaching from Iran (east of Afghanistan) to Pakistan (west of Afghanistan).

Equally, there is better awareness in Delhi that the war in Afghanistan is not merely about hunting down Osama bin Laden but is also a war with an agenda towards Central Asia, Russia, China and Iran.

US military-industrial complex has been shaping the country’s economy and affecting its foreign policy. the last decade of military adventurism A recent count found the Department had 47,000 primary contractors, or over 100,000 firms, including subcontractors, and if a full tally of the Federal money headed their way were made, it would lift the published defense budget by about two-thirds, or $300 billion. The avalanche of money sustains and coopts everyone from Halliburton ($6 billion in one recent year) to Electronic Data Systems Corporation ($2.4 billion) to Verizon ($277 million) to Proctor & Gamble ($362 million) Even academia is in tow, with about 350 colleges and universities agreeing to do Pentagon-funded research. Amid all this waste the Pentagon spares no effort to keep the media on its side, both in the US and elsewhere. Believe it or not, the military allocated at least $4.7 billion this year to “influence operations” and has more than 27,000 employees devoted to such activities.

Besides military industry also energy sector has its interests in Afghanistan. In his article “The Great Game – The War For Caspian Oil And Gas” Christopher Bollyn describes following:


Those that control the oil routes out of Central Asia will impact all future direction and quantities of flow and the distribution of revenues from new production, Enron, the biggest contributor to the Bush campaign of 2000, conducted the feasibility study for a $2.5 billion Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, which is being built under a joint venture agreement signed in February 1999 between Turkmenistan and two American companies, Bechtel and General Electric Capital Services. Enron, a Texas-based gas and energy company, together with Amoco, British Petroleum, Chevron, Exxon, Mobil and Unocal are all engaged in a multi-billion dollar frenzy to extract the reserves of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan.

Noble rhetoric about fighting for justice and democracy is masking a less noble struggle for control of an estimated $5 trillion of oil and gas resources from the Caspian Basin .,” The Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline is slated to be completed in 2014, with $7.6 billion in funding from the Asian Development Bank.

EU as bystander – Russia proposes Security Treaty


From an European perspective has it has been humiliating to wait months what President Obama will decide about Afghanistan – where is the EU alternative given the praise above in my quote? There is much talk in EU of civilian crisis management skills and soft power to resolve conflicts. If such expertise exists why there is no alternative strategies prepared in EU, why EU is outsourcing strategical planning to USA.

I am not saying that an Afghanistan strategy prepared in EU machinery or by European think tanks would be better than that now planned in Pentagon. What interferers me is that there is even try to make it. There is some civil-military co-operation models in Europe, some experience about implemented missions, some studies about “comprehensive approach”. Why EU’s machinery has not developed a program for Afghanistan with its own LogFrame methods?

How the EU’s role in international politics can grow if it does not create alternative models from EU’s own strengths. and not anticipated the initiative to implement them?

More over EU foreign policy possibilities e.g. in my article “Could EU lead the 3rd way out from confrontation

There is also possibilities for wider preparation to deal with international conflicts by developing the ideas proposed Russian President Medvedev. From my point of view his Treaty of European security –draft should be given the change. In his speech in the Serbian Parliament 20/10/2009 he summarized as follows:

Preparing and signing a European Security Treaty could be a starting point for creating a common security zone in the Euro-Atlantic region, and would provide equal and reliable guarantees to all states.

The idea is to build an international cooperation mechanism under UN Security Council responding to threads and challenges in the security sphere. I think that now it is time at least discuss about lessons learned, develop, copy and apply better practices and the forum should be much more wider than Pentagon only. Will the outcome be a new structure or updated old one shall be seen but even more important is to start process itself.

A guestion of Pashtunistan?

Pashtunistan is not on any map, but it’s where leaders of Al Qaeda and the Taliban both hide. It straddles 1,000 miles of the 1,600-mile Afghan-Pakistani border. It is inhabited by the ethnic Pashtuns, a fiercely independent people that number 12 million on the Afghan side and 27 million on the Pakistani side. They have a language (Pashto), an elaborate traditional code of legal and moral conduct (Pashtunwali), a habit of crossing the largely unmarked border at will, and a centuries-long history of foreign interventions that ended badly for the foreigners. Today, the enemies of the United States are nearly all in Pashtunistan, an aspirational name coined long ago by advocates of an independent Pashtun homeland.

The Americans can fight openly only in Afghanistan, not in Pakistan, and the Taliban know it. What to do with Pakistan, bomb it to stone age or what? I hope that planning of Pakistan case has started and is going on with higher standards that Afghanistan case has implemented.

Grass root approach needed instead top to bottom

A revolutionary war is 20 per cent military action and 80 per cent political is a formula that reflects the truth.” (David Galula, Counter-Insurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice, 1964)

U.S. spending in Iraq 2003-2006 was 1.4% civilian, 98.6% military” (Dan Sullivan, Sep 2006)

The strategy which Obama now selected has been in public more than three months. I really wonder how the brainstorming during this time has not better outcome than to continue strategy which President Bush already began years ago.

In my previous article “Afghanistan – to be or not” I present other options and summarize my idea as follows:

My conclusion is that the core question is not in or out. I would see the word with as best practice for future relations between the US / EU and Afghanistan.

The civil component and its use is a core question related to further developments in Afghanistan. Normally in US operations the numbers of civilians are normally a tiny fraction of what the military surge numbers are. Capacity building is critical not just in Kabul or inside military compounds, but out there in the field at the district and local levels.

Without local commitment any solution – military or civilian – is not sustainable. Of course if the perspective is only to next U.S. election campaign then real solutions are not the core question.

Bottom line

15. Do not try to do too much with your own hands. Better the Arabs do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them. Actually, also, under the very odd conditions of Arabia, your practical work will not be as good as, perhaps, you think it is.” (T.E.Lawrence, “Twenty-Seven Articles”, 20.08.1917)

This is a 10-year, trillion-dollar effort and does not match up with our interests,” Obama said while receiving a memo over costs of McChrystal plan. I agree and have doubts whether the new strategy will serve only to guarantee the wins of military-industrial complex.

The Taliban wrote in a statement emailed to news organizations that they have “no agenda of meddling in the internal affairs of other countries and is ready to give legal guarantee if the foreign forces withdraw from Afghanistan,”

Critics of the new focus on counter-insurgency theory claim it is a tactical gimmick that enables policy-makers to avoid thinking long and hard about what the endgame in Afghanistan will actually look like. It is not a recipe for winning the war in the long run, they say; it is only for avoiding defeat in the short run.

Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War following: “Strategy without tactics is the slow road to victory, but tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” I agree and would add that if there is no vision about endgame one does not even know is the road leading to victory or defeat.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed…. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people…. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. (President Dwight Eisenhower)



$1tn G20 deal vs. MI(MA/E)C

April 6, 2009


While world is glowing with enthusiasm after G-20 efforts to restore world economy with an US$ 1.1 trillion program it may be some idea to put this act to scale with other ongoing program.The other one in my mind is expected to cost US$ 1.5 trillion in 2009.As side-effect consumption of the services and products of this later programme there is unforeseen amount of deaths and destruction worldwide.

The other programme – world’s annual military expenditures – is closely linked to interests of military-industrial complex.It is not once per life project, it seems to be never-ending story with steady growing some 6 % yearly.Besides gaining strength by itself MIC is today expanding with new forms for wider influence.

MIC

Militaryindustrial complex (MIC) is a concept commonly used to refer to policy relationships between governments, national armed forces, and industrial support they obtain from the commercial sector in political approval for research, development, production, use, and support for military training, weapons, equipment, and facilities within the national defence and security policy. It is a type of iron triangle. (More Wikipedia).

New MIC forms

Today’s MIC is expanded from its Cold War original to MIMAC (Military-Industrial-Academic-Media Complex), MIMEN (Military-Industrial-Media-Entertainment-Network) or to some other combination.

In Academic world neuro-weapons and diverse applications of numerous branches of research that blur the distinctions between government, military, and medical, technological and scientific research. (More e.g. in Leslie, Stuart W: The Cold War and American Science: The Military-Industrial-Academic Complex at MIT and Stanford. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993)

One example of Academic connection is Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh is one of the largest academic military contractors in the country. Many of the software guidance systems, general communications networking systems and robotics technology used in Iraq were developed at CMU. So much so that some have nicknamed CMU, Carnegie Military University.

Connections to media can be e.g. like General Electric-NBC –relation or wider to some specific sector like computer war games. (More e.g. Der Derian, James:Virtuous War: Mapping the Military-Industrial-Media-Entertainment Network. Boulder: Westview Press, 2001).Growing contingent of corporate, entertainment, academic, media collaborators are bringing war-making systems near everyone’s lives. (More Nick Turse: The Complex – How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives, 2009)


And the relevance with EP election is…

Are MEPs and EP still in future dealing with eco-bulbs and curvature of cucumber or can they find issues which really matters?

More about topic read/listen Masters Of War by Bob Dylan


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