Saturday, June 21, 2008

UN Carrying the EU’s Security Piss Bucket

But that doesn’t stop them from fooling themselves:

Western analysts take a dim view of UN forces: heavily reliant on Asian and African troops, they are low-tech and do not match visions of twenty-first century warriors.

Yet these are often the only forces available for trouble-spots like Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Darfur. And so they keep on being deployed. The UN's peacekeeping budget has reached $7 billion a year, two-fifths of it paid by EU members.
And the reasons for that are quite clear. Except for the long-term entanglements that France and the UK have taken up in Africa Only the smaller EU member states commit to anything significant outside of Europe. In Afghanistan, they’ve proved more than willing to see The US, Canadians, and Dutch take the hits, and will even make preposterous claims like this:
But the EU's support for the UN is not solely financial. The European Council has mandated a series of ESDP operations to work alongside the UN, ranging from emergency military interventions (such as 2003's Operation Artemis in the eastern Congo) to smaller-scale police training missions. Outside Europe, there is currently not one ESDP operation that is not co-deployed alongside some form of UN presence.

It's hard to imagine ESDP having got anything like as far as it has without the UN as a partner. The UN and EU are the Obelix and Asterix of international security: one handling big, slow missions while the other concentrates on smaller, flexible, operations.
Which is funny that they would be able to know WHO is Asterix and WHO is Obelix, because they are only planning a few things here and there, and as far as anyone can tell the ESDP predecessors, have only made a handful of observation and monitoring style deployments outside of EUFOR in the Balkans.

The article makes them sound like General Washington’s 1st Engineers reminiscing about all of those old campaigns. In reality, it’s a PR send-up to cover for the European yearning for a “peacy” image and have a military that a culturally suicidal pacifist can be proud of, but yet has so far been dependant on forces from Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Brazil, Fiji, and the like.
So ensuring that a European sits at the top of the UN peacekeeping pyramid is not enough. As the UN's leading donor, the EU needs to investigate how to ensure that UN missions get the high-end assets, like helicopters, that it needs in a place like Darfur.

France and Britain recently suggested creating a pool of helicopters for NATO and EU missions – it should be possible to do something similar for the UN, and at lower cost.
They go on to laud the EU as the UN’s leading doner. Hardly – the members are doing up the döners, and the US with 2/3 the population of the EU covers 27 percent of the peacekeeping budget versus 41% covered by the EU states, a sum equal to the “stingy” US by population. All the while these UN deployments in Africa are being depended upon to protect Fortress Europe from the flotsam and jetsam of other people’s conflicts. The US, on the other hand doesn’t derive any such direct benefit from either “Asterix” or “Obelix”.

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