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Multilaterianism Essay, Research Paper

When President Bill Clinton was inaugurated in 1993, he stressed a new policy

concerning a revived United Nations and the actions that would be taken by the

United States concerning the ?New World Order,? a term coined by his

predecessor George Bush depicting the post-Cold War international arena. Clinton

had campaigned on the need for a multilateral organization to share costs and

share risks of any peacekeeping venture. The Clinton Administration had made

multilateralism a campaign issue and put it in the forefront of their foreign

policy agenda. However, with the problems occurred during the initial trial

period of this assertive multilateralism, exemplified by US military blunders in

Somalia, Clinton and his advisors now found themselves questioning their own

policies and preferences in foreign affairs especially in terms of multilateral

peace operations. This case study delves into these issues and how Clinton and

his administration sought answers to this problematic puzzle. The main

operations of the United Nations are humanitarian relief efforts, peacekeeping

by invitation and peace enforcement. The latter entails the most danger and

conflict situations. These are soldiers trained to fight, not make peace. This

is, and always will be, an enigma for those associated with peacekeeping

operations. The same forces that are meant to keep the peace for a UN

peacekeeping mission have been trained all their lives to make war, not peace.

Your warmakers are your peacemakers. This will always cause confusion and

disruption in any relief efforts involving peacekeeping operations. The case

study attempts to explain the problems encountered during multilateral peace

operations. Certain issues must first be addressed. The national interest of the

United States is first and foremost. This is the key to making peace or to

making war. The issue of whom is in command and who is in control is also an

important factor as is the time frame in which the US will remain involved.

Certain issues that became hot topics of debate among Clinton?s advisors were

those of the Rapid Reaction Force and the idea of private UN forces. The latter

fell into ill favor with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell, who did

not like the circumstances of a separate US military entity solely used as a

mechanism of the UN. The benefits of a Rapid Reaction Force were many. They

could be deployed quickly. They would also alternate countries. A database would

be created; therefore the US would not always have to go on the respective

missions called on by the UN. The case study completes while examining the

choices Clinton finally made regarding multilateral peace operations. He used

the advice of his two closest cabinet members to this issue in an attempt to

reach a resolution: Powell and Secretary of State Madeline Albright. Albright

wanted to practice assertive multilateralism and use the UN forces only when it

benefited the US. She said that the US should always try a multilateralist

approach to the respective situation, and if there is no sharing and they

receive no international support but the issue at stake is in it vital national

interest, the US will go on alone. Powell was against the practice as a whole.

He did not look too kindly on the idea of the US engaging in an unknown war, at

an unknown time and under an unknown command. Powell also hesitated to support a

military venture with unknown goals, unknown missions and an unknown in the

controlling offices. The finality of the situation was that the Clinton

Administration was way too optimistic on the idea of world peace. They were not

realistic. Multilateralism can work, but it mustn?t be the centerpiece of a

foreign policy agenda as Clinton had sought it to be. The reasons why Clinton

eventually took this approach were three-fold. The military, exemplified by

Powell?s emphatic stance, were against the entire idea. Congress, after

Somalia, was weary of further intervention, as was the public. This case study

details the problems that can occur within an administration when ideological

differences abound, particularly between military and political players.


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