National Security Experts

Contributor

Daniel Serwer

Biography provided by participant

Daniel P. Serwer is vice president of the Center for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations and the Centers of Innovation at the United States Institute of Peace. He coordinates the Institute's efforts in societies emerging from conflict, especially Afghanistan, the Balkans, Haiti, Iraq, and Sudan. He also leads the Institute's innovative programs in rule of law, religion and peacemaking, sustainable economies,media and conflict, and technology and peacebuilding. Serwer has worked on preventing interethnic and sectarian conflict in Iraq, and he has been deeply engaged in facilitating dialogue between Serbs and Albanians. He came to the Institute as a senior fellow working on Balkan regional security in 1998-1999. Before that he was a minister-counselor at the Department of State, where he won six performance awards. As State Department director of European and Canadian analysis in 1996-1997, he supervised the analysts who tracked Bosnia and Dayton implementation as well as the deterioration of the security situation in Albania and Kosovo. Serwer served from 1994 to 1996 as U.S. special envoy and coordinator for the Bosnian Federation, mediating between Croats and Muslims and negotiating the first agreement reached at the Dayton peace talks. From 1990 to 1993, he was deputy chief of mission and charg� d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, where he led a major diplomatic mission through the end of the Cold War and the first Gulf War.

Recent Responses

September 7, 2010 08:13 AM

Predicting anything in Iraq and Afghanistan is perilous. Predicting troop levels is just impossible. That said, we do know some of the relevant parameters. The President says he wants all the U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011, and the American public supports that. But we also know that Iraq will not have completed the rebuilding of its air force and navy by then, even if the Iraqi public might like them to. There may also be residual terrorism issues. I find it difficult to imagine that the U.S. would refuse an Iraqi request to keep some troops there in order to complete the training and equipping process. Would we really want the French or the Chinese to step in where we leave a vacuum? Will the Iraqis ask some Americans to stay? That depends on who is in the next government--and it is too early even to predict that. But if the government includes both current prime minister Nuri al Maliki and former prime minister Iyad Allawi, a request to the Americans for continued assistance is likely.

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August 5, 2010 03:28 PM

I’ll speak up for Perry-Hadley, but caveat emptor: I work at the United States Institute of Peace, which not only uses your tax dollars (at the rate of well under $100 million per year) building peace but also facilitated the Perry-Hadley effort. I won’t attempt a broad defense, which would go well beyond my personal competence, but I think they got it right on state-building and the comprehensive approach, so I’ll say so. I also think they got it right in advocating a broader definition of national security that transcends current institutional boxes, so I’ll say a final word about that as well.

The critics would like state-building to go away. Too expensive, too far removed from vital U.S. interests. Ditto all the presidents since the fall of the Berlin Wall: Bush 41 wanted only to feed Somalis, Clinton hesitated 3.5 years before fulfilling his campaign promise to intervene in Bosnia, then promised not to do it again before taking on Kosovo, Bush 43 derided state-building and then got us into Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama wants to finish

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April 14, 2010 05:17 PM

I get that Michael Scheuer doesn't like Obama, but in what universe is he living that he can write that the President is "so far over his head in international affairs, and so thoroughly indoctrinated as a Pacifist, that some of our enemies might well have a growing sense that they could kick us hard." Is it a universe in which American drones are daily taking out targets in Pakistan? A universe in which the same President announces a big new deployment to Afghanistan on his way to accept the Nobel Peace Prize? A universe in which the President agrees with the likewise pacifist-indoctrinated Henry Kissinger, George Shultz and Ronald Reagan on the need to set as a long-term goal the zero option for nuclear weapons? A universe in which the President demonstrates his mastery of nuclear security issues in front of four dozen or so of his counterparts and gets them to prioritize a major (if not THE major) US national security concern?

It must indeed be an alternate universe, since it is one in which, according to Scheuer, American nuclear weapons are to be kept u

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March 8, 2010 03:20 PM

Gordon Adams is right: the Europeans are on to something. Their civilian capacities are much greater, relative to the Americans, than their military capacities. The European Union has deployed 22 crisis management operations in recent years, drawing on a reserve force of more than 11,000 civilian experts. A dozen missions are ongoing. Europeans also lead civilian UN efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the overall civilian efforts in Bosnia and in Kosovo, where the EU maintains an 1800(!)-civilian rule of law contingent. While Europe’s military forces are still mainly national, the bloc’s civilian capacities are substantial.

There is a good deal of ad hoc cooperation between European and American civilians once in the field, but there is relatively little concerted effort at coordinating activities “up stream.” The EU and the US often fail to scan the horizon for emerging conflicts jointly, plan interventions together, train their staff in one place and conduct joined-up civil-military operations. This needs to change. America and Europe s

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March 3, 2010 05:49 PM

The issue is not how long our military can last, or even how long domestic support can be maintained, but how quickly and effectively we can deploy the kind of civilian support and assistance that Afghanistan desperately needs. The Obama Administration has been relatively successful in deploying increased numbers of civilians, but we are still well below the numbers and quality needed to handle the "hold and build" phases that come after the "clear" operations the military is able to conduct.

This war will not be won by military means alone, which is vital to providing security but will have precious little direct impact on delivering what Afghans want next: justice and jobs. It's an old story: the short pole in the tent of civilian/military cooperation is on the civilian side. When will we learn?

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February 24, 2010 02:14 PM

Brenner is wrong again. And again not about the details: I could cite many more negative statistics about Iraq since Saddam's statue fell.

But I have also visited Iraq, four times last year. I know something about Iraqis' interest in living freely and well. Sure they complain, and some wish we had never invaded. But none I know (and that includes quite a few who would associate themselves with what they term "resistance") want the US to leave without fixing as much as possible. And even while insisting on shedule for our drawndown, the Iraqi government has made it clear that it wants a close, long-term partnership with the US.

Yes, humanity should be the ultimate measure. What does Brenner think would happen to real human beings if the US pulled the plug on the soldiers who have been preventing Kurdish peshmerga and Iraqi Army forces from going at it? And what does he think would happen if we rejected the idea of a long-term partnership with Iraq?

Iraq has been a long, hard slog, one that now appears capable of getting us som

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February 22, 2010 05:46 PM

Brenner is wrong. Not about the details: for sure the Iraqi government has sometimes abused power, for sure Chalabi exploited the de-Ba'athification committee, and for sure the Iranians were behind the effort. But none of that means that we have definitively failed to build a freer Iraq, or that the Iranians have unequivocally won. Of course the "new dawn" is wishful thinking, but Brenner is guilty of even more hyperbole when he suggests that we are "strutting on a field of twisted dreams in Islamic Asia fixated on the chimera of eliminating the last wouild-be terrorist from the face of the earth."

Fact is, the jury is still out on results in Iraq. Today's news is not encouraging: tit for tat sectarian murders in Baghdad risk reigniting sectarian war. The elimination of key Sunni candidates from the election lists does not bode well. The challenge of forming a government after the elections next month will be enormous.

But there is still the possibility of a credible election March 7. In how many other Arab countries are iss

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