ACCESSION NUMBER:294730 FILE ID:POL304 DATE:07/14/93 TITLE:COLLECTIVE MEANS OF PEACEKEEPING ESSENTIAL TO U.S. (07/14/93) TEXT:*93071404.POL COLLECTIVE MEANS OF PEACEKEEPING ESSENTIAL TO U.S. (Wisner, Inderfurth testify at Senate hearing) (710) By Wendy S. Ross USIA Congressional Affairs Writer Washington -- The Clinton administration is reviewing ways to help the United Nations strengthen its capacity to plan and conduct peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations, say two top administration officials. Frank Wisner, undersecretary of defense for policy, and Karl Inderfurth, U.S. alternate representative to the United Nations for special political affairs, testified July 14 before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Coalition Defense and Reinforcing Forces. They told the panel that the National Security Council has assembled an inter agency task force to review U.S. participation in multilateral peacekeeping and enforcement operations, including U.N. financing and budget management reforms. That review, begun in February, is nearing completion, they said. "If we do not want America to be the world's policeman, we must find new collective means of preserving peace, and the best arsenal available to us 1s the arsenal of peacekeeping" and of collective security, Wisner said. He said the United States "is the central element" in this process, and "is truly unique" in the skills it can bring to the peacemaking process. It is clearly in the interest of the United States to assist in the training and equipping of U.N. peacekeeping and peacemaking forces and in providing them intelligence, logistics and lift capacity, he said. The United States is also prepared, he said, on a case-by-case basis, to join with other nations in providing combat units. "We have now done so in Somalia and Macedonia," he pointed out, but he made clear that "the central authority over United States troops will be retained by the leadership" of the United States. "We have to tread a fine line," he said, "making certain the United Nations has effective military control" while at the same time ensuring that ultimate authority lies with the president and secretary of defense. The importance of U.N. peace operations to this nation's foreign and defense policies cannot be overstated, Inderfurth said. "Getting peacekeeping right is one of the most challenging and critical tasks" facing the United States in the post-Cold War world. "We know the peacekeeping system is in need of major reform," he said, "but we also are confident that with American leadership and the dedicated participation of other governments, the means to create a viable peacekeeping system can be found." But he said the United States is not supporting the creation of a permanent or standing U.N. army. "All troop contributions to U.N. peacekeeping operations," he said, "are and will remain at the discretion of each government." Inderfurth said Somalia and Cambodia are examples of successful U.N. peacekeeping actions. If a poll were taken in Somalia, he predicted, the majority of the people would show support for a continued U.N. presence there despite the ongoing fighting in Mogadishu. Wisner reminded the senators that without the U.N. humanitarian action, tens of thousands of Somalis would have starved. "The new multilateral security system is on trial. It has had a fairly good record in the gulf war, in Cambodia and Somalia, but a miserable one in Yugoslavia," said retired Ambassador Jonathan Dean, who now is the arms control adviser for the Union of Concerned Scientists, a private non-profit organization which advocates stronger measures to control weapons proliferation. "Today in hindsight," he said, "it is widely agreed that if NATO or the U.N. had intervened at the outset of the fighting in Slovenia, early in the Croat-Serb conflict in Croatia, and early in the Bosnia conflict, that these interventions could have blocked further fighting." The United States and other industrialized nations, he said, "must be willing to lead, to frame the issues for their publics, and to place their armed forces in harm's way in order to prevent or stop organized killing." Subcommittee chair Senator Carl Levin said a lot of issues remain to be worked out on the peacekeeping issue. He said his subcommittee wants to take a lead role in meeting this challenge. "We want to work with the administration to make it possible to move multinationally" when possible "to avoid broader wars," he said. 1NNN .