Most countries speaking backed sending the police force. The brilliant Roberto Alvarez, foreign minister of the Dominican Republic, gave an impassioned presentation. Unpacking the Russian and Chinese positions, we find:
- They reflect Russia’s being involved in a proxy war with the United States in neighboring Ukraine, and China’s alarm at recent U.S. moves on Taiwan. As both of them consider themselves targets of U.S. military involvement, neither is eager to endorse it elsewhere. Haiti pays the price for quarrels it has nothing to do with
- Despite occasionally raising questions, both Russia and China have backed U.N. missions to Haiti for thirty years. BINUH, the U.N. office in Haiti, was recently unanimously renewed for a year by the Security Council . This thirty-year record of concerted action by the Security Council is an achievement of international cooperation that should not be discarded lightly
- Over ten years ago, China sent a competent and well-regarded police training mission to Haiti. The Haiti Democracy Project itself had a chance to speak informally with members of this mission in 2010 during a visit to the electoral Tabulation Center in the industrial park. The conversation was friendly, if superficial. At the same time as receiving this assistance, Haiti continued to recognize Taiwan which it does to this day. So China had to eat some crow, to put it bluntly, to send its mission.
- Russia for its part requested and was denied a U.N. peacekeeping mission in 1991 when trouble broke out in Transnistria. It ended up sending its own troops. It also had to send them to Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. In yearly approving the missions that the United States wanted and getting none in return Russia, too, had to eat its share of crow.
- The coalition of the willing that the United States and the U.N. secretary-general are organizing outside the Security Council, but running by the council for discussion, seems to be a vehicle for circumventing a Russian or Chinese veto. The Russian representative said Russia could not support the force, but did not say it would veto it. We’re not conversant enough with the protocol to know if that could be an abstention or was a euphemism for a veto. Thus we don’t know if the United States has genuinely attempted to negotiate the issue with these two countries, or simply decided to cut them out. The actual Russian presentation at the Security Council was neither factual nor convincing because it did not state the real reasons for Russian skepticism
- Coalitions of the willing are a poor substitute for a Chapter 7 U.N. peacekeeping mission. They don’t have the same legitimacy or staying power. President George W. Bush, after sending a hasty coalition of the willing to Haiti in 2004, quickly segued into a full-scale U.N. peacekeeping mission that stabilized Haiti for thirteen years.
- If a coalition of the willing is the only way it can be done, then it should be done