Thank you very much.
First of all, I must apologize. It was impossible for me to send my text in advance so that it could be translated and distributed. But I have given copies to the clerk in order to facilitate the simultaneous interpretation.
I know it's not optimal, and I apologize, but I hope the interpreters will be able to follow my text. The text will be available after, but I don't have a translated text, and it cannot be circulated at this point.
Thank you very much. I'm very pleased to be here.
My text is entitled, “Is it time to take a hard look at NATO's second pillar: crisis management?” That's a pillar in terms of the strategic concept of core tasks.
In a nutshell, my thesis today is that NATO is not the UN and should not be wasting valuable time, effort, and resources trying to duplicate the UN role in crisis management. Instead, NATO members should be looking hard at how they can best support the hard end, the military role of the UN in crisis management, through re-engaging with boots on the ground, making advanced operational capabilities more consistently available to the UN, and of course leading stabilization efforts mandated by the UN where appropriate.
My second point is that had Canada and other NATO countries stayed more fully engaged in UN blue helmet peacekeeping—some NATO countries did, but not most—the international approach to stabilizing Afghanistan, for example, might have been quite different.
Let us briefly recall the wording in Strategic Concept 2010 and in the Chicago Summit declaration on NATO's crisis management role.
Basically what NATO is saying is that to manage conflicts, and certainly to prevent them or to deal with the aftermath, the military role is not enough. This is what led NATO to adopt the comprehensive approach and bring the full range of political, diplomatic, police, development, and other tools to bear in resolving conflicts. But for NATO to do this, in my humble submission, and I'm talking as someone who has spent the better part of the last 10 years working with NATO, is to have the tail wagging the dog. That's because NATO is, first and foremost, a military organization, although of course it has an important political oversight structure. There will be lots of arguments about whether it's primarily military or primarily political. I would say that the value added to peace support operations and stabilization operations is very much the military component. I would argue, then, that the lead cannot be military when the solutions are pre-eminently political, albeit often with an extremely important military support component.
To be blunt, 28 nations are not 193 nations. The North Atlantic Council is not the UN Security Council, even if some members overlap. The NATO International Military Staff is not the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The NATO political advisers are not the UN Department of Political Affairs.
NATO's value added is its military capability, as so many witnesses before me have pointed out.
Any effort, however well intentioned, to duplicate the UN's pre-eminent role in international peace and security writ large, including in particular crisis prevention, crisis management, and post-conflict peace building, is highly problematic, especially when it drains the most professional military resources away from UN-led operations.
Perhaps this is why previous speakers, such as Paul Chapin, and in the paper that he co-authored with David Bercuson, have talked about how this enhanced crisis management role for NATO was at the edge of the comfort zone—these are Paul Chapin's words—for many in Europe, even before the financial crisis hit.
The very difficult saga of NATO in Afghanistan, I would suggest, has not quieted their fears.
To go back for a moment, I might note that when Jill Sinclair, the assistant deputy minister, policy, from the Department of National Defence was here testifying, she summarized NATO's crisis management operations and missions as Afghanistan, Libya, Kosovo, counterterrorism in the Mediterranean, the NATO training mission in Iraq, and then she also talked about civilian emergency planning, so that's where NATO has done this, and now of course, with the new strategic concept, or the summit declaration out of Chicago, there is an even further emphasis on the aspect of preventing conflict.
As I said, some speakers before me have talked about how this role is at the edge of the comfort zone for many in Europe.
I want to talk a little about UN-led peace operations. The great tragedy for Canada is that having been such a pre-eminent UN peacekeeper for so long, our disengagement from UN blue helmet operations post-UNPROFOR, the protection force in the former Yugoslavia in the early nineties, has left us institutionally almost completely unaware of the transformation in planning, conduct, and management of UN-led operations since then. Fundamental review has been carried out, and key lessons identified or re-identified.
New command and control structures and sophisticated integrated planning mechanisms and field support structures for missions have been put in place. Sadly, the message has not got through to the military structures of many NATO members, removed as they are from this UN activity. That, of course, means all that hard military expertise is removed from this UN activity.
I would like to recall the words of James Appathurai speaking from NATO about NATO's—he called it NATO's pre-eminent role regarding UN peace operations. He said, and I'm quoting from his testimony to you:
NATO is uniquely capable as an organization to generate, deploy, command, and sustain large numbers of forces in multinational operations. No other organization can do this....
Today NATO has over 150,000 troops...in a variety of operations.
Compare this to the fact that the UN currently has over 82,000 military forces engaged in some 16 peace operations, as well as 3,000 military observers, 14,000 police, and 13,000 civilians.
The point I want to make is that the majority of these blue helmet missions are not light operations. They are mandated under chapter 7 of the UN charter, the same as the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan. To be blunt again, if the UN were relying mainly on NATO-led missions, huge swaths of the globe would be abandoned.
The political dimensions of peace operations are what I want to focus on. The central lesson of the Brahimi report, which was this big report reviewing hard lessons on failed UN peacekeeping in particular—and I would argue that this applies also when we're talking about what NATO calls crisis response operations, or conflict management operations—is that peacekeeping cannot substitute for an effective political process. If we are to match politics to peacekeeping, the peacekeeping operation must be in support of a credible peace process, if not ideally a peace agreement to be implemented.
Credibility implies both internal support and legitimacy with respect to the parties to the conflict. It also implies broad external backing in the form of a common political or strategic framework. I would suggest that the problems inherent in many of the current UN-led blue helmet operations, but also, and this is what is so relevant for us here today, for UN-mandated, but not UN-led...in other words, NATO-led peace operations. The problems with those missions reflect the failure of the international community, certainly the UN Security Council, to heed the lesson that military activity has to be in support of a credible political framework and peace process.
I would suggest, for example, that Haiti exemplifies an incomplete peace process—elections do not include its largest political party. A range of rebel groups remain outside the agreements negotiated in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Afghanistan, where NATO has been leading the stabilization force, the Security Assistance Force, the international community developed a common framework for its engagement there with selected internal actors, without due attention to a process that might ensure broad political inclusion. Increasingly, UN peace operations have, as one of their core functions, extension of state authority, which is essentially what it ended up being in ISAF in Afghanistan.
How can the UN peacekeeping mission operate in the context of a variety of non-state actors opposing it, especially where some or all of them have external backing, as MONUC faces in the Democratic Republic of Congo? I would say that's a question that NATO could ask itself in Afghanistan. How far can the UN mission operate contrary to the will of the host government, as UNAMID must in Darfur? How successful could ISAF be in Afghanistan within a political framework where the international community, intentionally or not, in effect, took sides in a civil war?
Of course, there will always be spoilers who will remain outside the agreement, but the starting point must be to develop as inclusive a political framework as possible so that spoilers can be effectively isolated.