Small Wars Journal

The Institute of Peace is Successful Against ISIS - The U.S. Must Fund It

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 5:27pm

The Institute of Peace is Successful Against ISIS - The U.S. Must Fund It by James F. Jeffrey - The Hill

Many Americans have never heard of an organization called the U.S. Institute of Peace, nor of a federal budget proposal to eliminate it. But as a U.S. diplomat I have seen — in Iraq for example — that our country increasingly needs this specialized institute. Its work to reduce violence abroad that imperils U.S. interests cannot be duplicated by government agencies. The proposal to shut USIP is not well thought out, and should be dead on arrival in Congress.

As the United States seeks cost-effective national security, it’s a sensible idea to consolidate functions where that consolidation can work. But USIP, which Congress created as an independent, non-partisan institute, goes beyond what agencies such as the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) legally and institutionally can do to advance peace and stability. 

Now, as most warfare involves domestic disputes abroad, and as the United States turns more to military solutions for wont of diplomatic capacity, USIP is even more important.

In 35 years in the Department of State, and five more at a foreign policy think tank, I have seen USIP contribute directly to American success overseas. As our country seeks more efficient ways to prevent violence and extremism, USIP provides deep expertise in locating the real roots of international conflicts. The institute also operates long-term projects that help stabilize countries facing violence and local initiatives for political and societal reconciliation. It also provides independent analyses of U.S. foreign policies related to conflicts abroad.

This success is due in large part to the institute’s unique capabilities. Free from the bureaucratic and security strictures of U.S. government civilian operations, USIP’s personnel remain longer, and range further, in conflict zones. Its status independent of any given U.S. administration helps it speak and earn respect in circles distrustful of the United States. Its nonpartisan leadership and its funding by Congress allow it to experimentally develop and use “best practices,” through its work in the field, in a way we could not in government…

Read on.