Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Brilliant Plan to Finance Peace Operations

There are multiple conflicts occurring all over the world today, ranging from the well known Iraq conflict, to lesser known conflicts.  The problem with involving any type of peacekeeping or military force to resolve the conflict is the financial burden the country or organization incurs.  Case in point, the amount of debt the United States has incurred by involving itself in the liberation of the Iraqi people.  This type of financial burden might discourage other organizations and countries from assisting in conflict resolution.  So, how do we fix this problem?  How can we help bring peace to war-torn areas and throw dictators from their positions of power?  The answer lies in the example set by ivory sales in Africa (please note the sarcasm).

The first officially sanction ivory auction in nearly a decade took place in Namibia today, and brought in $1.2 million.  Supposedly all the ivory sold at auction was confiscated in a legal manner, meaning the elephant died of natural causes (technically I guess if the elephant bled to death from a bullet puncturing its flesh, that might be construed by some as a natural death?).  Technicalities aside, proceeds from the auction are going to elephant conservation.  So, wait, they're actually helping the elephants?  Hmm... Could the same be done with confiscated weapons, whether they be handguns or say weapons of mass destruction to help finance peace?  I might just be onto something here.

Great states like the U.S. and other good guys (we wouldn't want untrustworthy states such as North Korea participating), could use all the weapons that were confiscated both within their countries, and from not so law abiding countries, such as Iran, to sell at auction.  The proceeds could then be used to finance peace operations all over the world.  Darfur, DRC, conflicts throughout the Middle East, they could all be solved.  This auction would have multiple benefits.  Not only would it be financing peace operations, but it would give motive to get even more weapons off the street, making everyone a little safer when they go to sleep at night.  This seems like a brilliant plan!

But wait, could there be some flaws to this brilliant plan?  Let's go back to our model, the ivory sales.  Opponents of the ivory sales argue that the legalization of ivory sales will only encourage the poaching and illegal killing of elephants.  They charge that the sales will stimulate, not satisfy, the massive demand for ivory in countries like China.  Now we all know this is just blasphemy, but could there be a negative backlash with the plan to sell confiscated weapons?  Let's examine.

Just for argument's sake, let's say that it might be difficult to monitor who is buying the weapons and to inspect the backgrounds of the buyers, and that maybe, just maybe, they might fall into the wrong hands and come back to bite the good guys in the ass later.  Oh wait, this kind of happened, I think it might be referred to as the Iran-Contra Affair.  Oh crap, this plan may not work.  Well, before we find any other faults, maybe we should just stop analyzing and go ahead with the plan and worry about the consequences later.  We're great at that.

I guess the guys in the ivory sales are doing the same...

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