Recently, the new US House voted to cut all of the United States Institute of Peace’s funding. All of it!
To put it mildly, this is a stunning development that could prove to be a serious setback for the work of peacebuilding around the world and a blow to the growing movement we've been seeing for peacebuilding investment in our government.
The United States Institute of Peace Act, passed by the Congress and signed into law in 1984, established the Institute as a publicly funded national institution. Congressional leaders spearheading the charge to eliminate USIP wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that USIP is a “waste of taxpayer money.”
The funding in question, $42 million, is change by Federal Government standards. $42 million Is one tenth of one percent of the State Department budget, not even enough funds to support 40 troops in Afghanistan for a year, nor to pay for three hours of the Afghanistan War. Yet this small investment in USIP is one of the smartest investments the US government can make. As one of the only institutions in Federal government working to support peacebuilding, the Institute desperately needs our support.
Iraq would have further spiraled out of control had USIP not existed.
When the situation on the ground in Iraq seemed it could not get any worse, our country turned to USIP for answers. USIP President Richard Solomon writes: “When Congress needed a forward-looking bipartisan commission to evaluate U.S. options in Iraq, they turned to USIP. Under the co-chairmanship of former Secretary of State James A. Baker and Rep. Lee Hamilton, we gathered input from many organizations to produce what became a widely recognized guide to dealing with Iraq: The Iraq Study Group.”
USIP has also played a critical role in Afghanistan. According to General David Patreus: “USIP’s work on the informal justice system has been invaluable as we work toward improving rule of law at the provincial level. Their plans for reconciliation efforts at the community level on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border are likewise a potential key to success in the enormous challenges we face.”
USIP has a proven track-record as the pioneering US institute advancing peacebuilding on our behalf, a bright light emanating from our nation throughout some of the darkest corners on the planet. USIP’s budget ought not to be cut. It ought to increased!
Prevention and nonviolent intervention pay off. There is a temptation, and it far too often turns out to be the reality, that we cut prevention and intervention programs first when budgets get tight. That's true from the community level all the way up to national - and it's exactly the opposite of what we should do, both from a fiscal and moral perspective. This is an issue we must stand behind. We cannot allow the USIP to slip away. Please work with us. Take action today!
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It is true that war against terrorism which US is fighting in Afghanistan made a hole in US economy plus it has not achieved desired result.
We can not deny the efforts of US a to establish peace and in disturbed country like Iraq , Afghanistan, Pakistan,lot of money and energy has invested to bring peace in this region but so far not achieved as US and world desire.
There is a great need to make a joint efforts by following the path of nonviolence,and positive approach to the core problems, religious tolerance is greatly needed to solve all the problems .We have to understand that no religion is above then brotherhood of all we human being . No religion has created us we human being but we created religion for what? for wellbeing of human being there is a need to understand our consciousness and act according to time need .
Being a conscious human being our responsibility is to look after the wellbeing of all living life ,and stop loss of this huge money on weapons and fighting with each other.
USIP represents global peace and there is no gainsaying about this fact. This is evident through the organisation's work whose impact is felt and is being felt in many conflict and post conflict States globally. Any right thinking person can only think of better ways to help support this noble work of USIP in the area of peacebuilding and development, and not to think of killing its very existence and initiative that has brought so much succour to the world. Congress men, think well, act well, think peace, think USIP and support it all the way.....Thats the surest way to demostrate your support for international peace and security.
Monica Emmanuel, Nigeria.
A Bad News for the People Workig for Peace
Investment in peace is not a business through which US Government will earn anythnig immediately. I am one of the direct witness of very impressive work of USIP in Nepal. USIP helped Nepal and many war/conflict affected countries by giving hope for peace and better future.
In my recent (2009-10) business trip in Afaghnistan, Pakistan, Nepal, North India, and Sri Lanka , I found that people in this region are not happy with the US investment on 'War on Terror' but they are asking to increase investment for education, health, livelihood, infrastructure. They need resource to strengthen healthy civil society, good governance and power/energy.
But sadly, US Government is chooping out its valuable institution and fuling courage to the fundamentalists and orthodox leader's belief on 'power comes from the barrel of gun not from peaceful means'. I believe US Citizens are asking to stop financing for war and increase budget for humanity.
I vote for increase funding for USIP and hope that US politicians still have the wisdom to retain this valuable agency in which every citizen can be proud of.
Raj Kumar Dhungana
Although I am not a citizen of the USA, but I must say emphatically that partial or total cut of funding to USIP by the US House would amount to leaving taps open when trying to mop up the floor. USIP has done much for the world (most especially in the past 10 years) to the stability of the socio-welfare of the world by building and preventing peace, so also sensitizing and educating government, non-government and individual including myself.
As a Nigerian, and a peace advocate, the knowledge and skills I got from their training has contributed (to a large extent) to some regional peace we are experiencing now in Nigeria. Partial cut or total cut of USIP funding will amount to US House denouncing world the peace it needed. Instead, appropriate to them more fund to take their program to places where peace is fundamental.