Maximizing the Multilateral Response to International Crises

Posted by Mark Schlachter
July 24, 2013
Secretary Kerry Meets With International Humanitarian Agency Heads

Yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed nearly a dozen senior figures from United Nations and other international organizations working to address the humanitarian crisis associated with the conflict in Syria.  Such an impressive gathering happens rarely, and highlights not just the commitment of the United States to the Syrian people, but also the central role being played by the United Nations and other organizations in responding to the humanitarian needs of people around the world.  In the case of Syria, the needs of those affected are daunting: medical care, childhood immunizations, clean water, food, housing, education, and more.

As the Secretary commented prior to the meeting, “I was in the Zaatari camp in Jordan, which is overloaded with people from Syria, just two days ago.  They need the help of the world, and it’s my privilege to meet today with the people who are providing that help.”  Complex humanitarian crises such as the situation in and around Syria require not just immediate response, but sustained, collaborative international action. 

It is just such circumstances that vividly remind us of the crucial value of the United Nations -- of multilateral means of responding to crises, natural and manmade, and of the vital role the United States plays in propelling and sustaining the global response to humanitarian needs.  Unfortunately, we have frequent occasion to see these responses in action.  In recent years we have witnessed coordinated international responses to natural disasters in Haiti and Pakistan.  We have seen the international community rally quickly to aid the victims of tsunamis and catastrophic flooding.  Further from the headlines are the more enduring humanitarian challenges around the world where international organizations, such as the World Food Program and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), work tirelessly to improve the prospects for the most vulnerable populations. 

Of course, the United States uses all channels to reach populations in need, including the UN, NGOs, and community-based partners.  In Syria, this effort means we are reaching more than 3 million people in need.  As yesterday’s meeting with the Secretary underscores, that effort can be amplified and maximized by supporting UN and other international organizations on the ground.



Henry M.
California, USA
July 24, 2013
Of course, the United Nations also called for a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Syria, and the U.S. State Department, following the lead of the British Foreign Office, rejects that, being happy only with a military solution. Which in turn, of course, creates the need for all that humanitarian aid.
Eric J.
New Mexico, USA
July 26, 2013

Folks say Syria is "complicated" and offer that as what appears to be an excuse for paralysis by the international community lacking the political will to physicly intervene in order to stop Assad's genocide of the Syrian people from continuing.

While it is true that great strides in international crisis management and response have taken place in the last decade; the lack of consistant political leadership and pralysis in the UN sec council "resolving" this matter in Syria has tuned this crisis into a text-book examply of why the international community should just ban dictators altogether and collectively remove them before they have the chance to make war on anyone, or destroy their own nation in the process of retaining power against the will of the people.

 While the Syrian military blindly supports and takes part in genocide, the Egyptian military is offering a fair example of of an institution bound to serve and protect the Egyptian people, in making sure the office of the President is not ursurped by those who would not respect the will of the people.

 Took only 31 days to gain UN Sec Council approval to prevent Ghaddafi from slaughtering the citizens of Bengazi and enforcing a "no-go zone" for his forces...that is the gestation period of a rabbit.

 The gestation period for diplomacy in Syria's case has been longer than that of a blue whale and is looking to give birth to a still-born , dead on arrival conference that folks talk about wishing would happen, but probably lacks for any willingness to on the part of the parties in conflict.

 Rather than arm the opposition which is debatably problematic on a number of levels and/or not going to be effective swiftly or even by itself to end hostilities and force Assad's capitulation or help create the peace in the aftermath of his fall from power, one must consider whether more lives would be ultimately saved over the long term knowing the lethality of the regime's intent; to simply tell the opposition to hunker down while the "friends of Syria" take the military steps neccessary to eliminate the Assad regime's capability to make war. Collectively declaring war formally on Assad and his government for committing genocide and becoming an imminent threat to the peace of nations.

 Assad is doing as he pleases at this time, and untill there's the political willingness to do what it takes to physicly stop the slaughter, there is and can be no diplomatic solution.

 Folks have let this crisis get so far out of hand over the last few years that nothing short of the complete occupation and disarming of Syria , along with a Marshal plan to rebuild a nation that now looks similar to post WW2 Germany in the levels of destruction on population centers, and at least a decade of democratic political therapy can begin to bring Syria out of the dark age of Assad family rule.

  There's one more reason to intervene...that left unchecked those state and non-state actors that wish to initiate a full-blown regional Suni/Shiite conflict in the region may actually succeed in doing so, unless non-Muslim nations have something to say about that, and can back their words up with deeds in support of moderate leadership throughout the region, struggling to contain such a conflict that would put their people at risk.

 While it is true that we are sic of war after more than a decade on...and it is time for other nations to step up to reality and face the consequences of inaction, unless the US is willing to intervene, no one else will without us.

  Except those who are already intervening on the side of Assad, with boots on the ground.

  I read through the various "options" the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs offered to Sen. Levin and basicly the only option that will actually simplify the quandry of "what to do about Syria?" that stands a chance of restoring peace is to create the peace from scratch in the middle of conflict by denying the regime safe haven or the legitimacy of negotiation. We don't negotiate with terrorists. Nor should we, as we did not with Hitler, attempt to negotiate with a genocidal dictator after he's  been proven to be such.

  And know that if folks do not remove Assad's regime, it'll only get a lot worse, so like fighting fire with fire, sometimes it becomes neccessary to declare war in order to end a war sooner, rather than later and save lives by "regime replacement therapy".

  That's different from the tired old worn out phrase "regime change" ...besides, one would hope we've become somewhat proficiant at removing tyrants and terrorists from the world stage by now.


Eric J.
New Mexico, USA
August 4, 2013

"If you want an adequate response, you shouldn't speak the language of sanctions, you should speak the language of respect."- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

I think this probably justifies a response by the White House, and/or the Sec of State...but if they want a citizen's response to go by, then maybe this'll suffice;

 It would be illogical to speak in terms of  "mutual respect" when the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been sponsoring chants of "death to America" every Friday at prayers...for the last 33-34 years. 

 Once the government of Iran declares this to no longer be their official foreign policy goal, and ceases all activity in support of it, including meeting its "obligations" to the international community and abandoning its nuclear weapons program verifiably...then maybe we will have seen a sincere effort to respect the will of the international community and America to give Congress a reason to lift sanctions.

  We should be clear about the terms of "respect" from get-go....and that only because America respects the people of Iran has it yet to make war on their government for being hostile and disrespectful to the peace of the American people.

  And the newly chosen puppet dancing on the ayatollah's strings wonders why his nation's inflation rate is running @ 40%???

  In fact to truly cut through the "false narrative" of victimhood the Irainian "negotiating style" has been played on the P5+1 all these years...what I said above may stand as a pretty fair multi-lateral response to the Iranian government's hypocracy.

  The alternative is to send them a very large bill for the offense of seeking our demise as a nation(33 Trillion + compounded daily interest over all those years?), and threaten to come collect, being its better to bankrupt them rather than have to bomb them and remove that government as a threat to anyone, and if it's to be the latter no matter what, the American public's going to want to know how were going to pay for it, so better to send the Iranian government the bill first, suggesting they arrange for perfered payment options.

  This way you'all  make it abundantly clear what the terms of "mutual respect" are..


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