Magazine article The Futurist

Civilian Peacekeepers: A New U.S. Operation Hopes to Stop Wars before They Happen

Magazine article The Futurist

Civilian Peacekeepers: A New U.S. Operation Hopes to Stop Wars before They Happen

Article excerpt

U.S. military officials do not hope that a new volunteer force will help them win wars. They hope it will prevent wars from starting in the first place.

The Civilian Response Corps, a body of U.S. government employees with vital professional skills, deploys to troubled parts of the world to consult local officials and help develop sagging infrastructures. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hails the new corps as a means to a more peaceful future.

"In a world as increasingly interconnected as ours, the international state system is only as strong as its weakest links," Rice says. "We cannot afford another situation like the one that emerged in 2001 in Afghanistan."

Corps members are now serving in Afghanistan as well as Chad, Iraq, Haiti, Kosovo, Lebanon, and Sudan.

Rice argues that achieving lasting stability in zones that had experienced violence was a job that the military could not do alone; civilian experts have an important role to play.

The corps includes 250 active members who would deploy within 48 hours to the scenes of crises and 2,000 standby members who would be called up as needed. All members hold permanent jobs in other government agencies as doctors, lawyers, engineers, agronomists, police officers, public administrators, and other important roles.

Rice has consistently opposed missions in which military personnel take responsibility for peacekeeping and stabilization. During the 2000 presidential campaign, she sparked fierce denunciations in Europe when she said that then-candidate George W. …

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