Vulnerable Countries Part III

By | October 21, 2021

7: What should the international community do?

The first step must be to learn from the interventions that Western countries have already been or are involved in. An important aspect of this is to keep in mind that there is a large gap between our Western models of society and local conditions in Eastern Congo and the Sahel. , Syria and Iraq. Experience has shown that there is little reason to believe that our way of organizing societies can be transferred directly to such societies.

We must therefore build efforts in vulnerable countries on real knowledge of the areas we are to operate in and not base plans and strategies on vague wishes about what the world should look like. This means that aid and international operations must emerge from the isolation bubble they are currently in. There we are building ever larger walls between international personnel on the ground and the civilian population for which we should in theory be present.

Congo is one of several examples of just this. The UN ( MONUSCO ) is present, but as one Congolese reader put it: “The UN does not live in Congo”. The isolation may create a semblance of relative security for UN staff. But for a UN operation between an undisciplined and unmotivated government army, the civilian population and a myriad of rebel movements, this only means that the UN is unable to read or understand the lines of conflict on the ground. The result is, unfortunately, that the UN, without knowledge and will, has at times become part of a dirty conflict over power, over land, over natural resources and over who has the right to belong in Congo.

How wrong it can go, the UN ( MINUSMA ) in Mali is an illustration of. As of today, this is the UN operation that is experiencing the largest losses , and it is exposed to almost daily attacks. The operation is another example of a UN operation that is a poorly thought-out attempt at crisis management. It was launched when the Malian country was in danger of collapsing due to a combination of internal unrest, military coups and uprisings (both more secular and Islamist) in the northern part of the country.

Here, according to howsmb, the UN was thrown into a conflict and a country they had little insight into. The picture does not get nicer because this operation, like several others of more recent date, is actually underfunded . It lacks a sufficient number of soldiers and other personnel; it has too little logistical equipment such as planes and helicopters. At the same time, this, like all other recent interventions, has a very ambitious mandate . This is a calculation that can not possibly go up.

8: Harder, more complex and multipolar world

The world picture is characterized by a number of major and minor crises, and this will continue in the future. The liberal optimism that prevailed at the turn of the century has been replaced by a general perception that we live in a harder world. The world is changing. It is more multipolar and accommodates large geopolitical shifts. Power is shifting and flowing around in a world that has become significantly more complex politically, socially, economically and militarily. This creates crises that have cross-border consequences , and they must be dealt with.

The number of violent conflicts is not necessarily more, but the ones we are facing – as in the Sahel and Iraq-Syria – are extremely complicated and unfortunately with the prospect of becoming very long-lasting . There will therefore be a need for international efforts in these countries in the foreseeable future, but this must more than ever be based on insight, knowledge and understanding that solutions cannot be transferred from a Western world of ideas to a local context without significant adaptation based on a real local ownership. Then more long-term thinking is needed, and the international effort must be based on mandates that are locally feasible.


The individual indicators in the vulnerability index

The index is designed to measure the conditions that matter most to the stability of a country. The indicators cover a mixture of social, political and military conditions. The higher the score on the indicators, the more vulnerable, vulnerable and risky a country is:

  1. High population pressure? Population growth, natural disasters, “youth wave” …
  2. Many refugees and internally displaced persons , who stress the public resources?
  3. Conflict between groups – do some group interests come out far better than others as a result of discrimination of an ethnic or religious nature?
  4. Brain drain? Emigration of human capital and important skills?
  5. Unbalanced economic growth and distribution?
  6. Economic downturns and poverty ?
  7. Do the country and those in power have legitimacy? Corruption? Power struggles between rival elites?
  8. Public services – the public sector is able to provide important services – security, health, education, infrastructure
  9. To what extent are human rights and the rule of law being respected?
  10. Is the country able to maintain a monopoly on coercive power ? Rebellion or militant protests? Civil War?
  11. How cohesive or fragmented are the elites ? Is there electoral fraud?
  12. Interference from abroad ? International operation, sanctions ?

Vulnerable Countries 3