U.N. representative visits campus, discusses world politics with students

Jacques Kline, a special representative of the U.N. Secretary General, spoke Monday at Bracken Library about the role of the United Nations in the changing global environment. There was a strong focus on U.N. peacekeeping operations and the Balkans, but as in any discussion of global politics after Sept. 11, there were many audience questions devoted to Afghanistan and the Taliban.

Political science professor Francine Friedman welcomed Kline to Ball State. Kline is the coordinator of U.N. operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Kline came to Ball State while he was in the United States to give a speech in Washington. In addition to his speech at Bracken, he also will visit Friedman's classes today.

"It is important to get this information out," he said in a meeting with press prior to the speech. "The U.N. has received undue criticism for peacekeeping."

He said he feels that the successes of U.N. peace keepers have been forgotten. In fact, Kline oversaw one such success in Eastern Slavonia.

Kline said there are three requirements for a successful peacekeeping mission: An achievable mission, support of the involved parties and access to the necessary resources. He also said a time limit helps to achieve goals. When these elements are present, Kline said, the U.N. can work "magically."

"The UN is highly effective ... because of its legal and moral authority," Kline said.

Because the U.N. is the broadest, most diverse coalition of nations, Kline said, it is especially effective at peacekeeping, humanitarian aid and state-building.

There are five organizations working in Bosnia to implement the Dayton Accords, the peace treaty signed to end the war in Bosnia. According to Kline, this leads to inefficiency and overlapping goals.

"Dayton was a bad peace to end a horrible war," Kline said. "(But) once we have peace, we will develop institutions to assure freedom."

The U.N. mission in Bosnia involves shrinking and reforming the police forces, Kline said. It will be accomplished by December, 2002, according to Kline. NATO forces, however, may be in the Balkans longer.

"NATO will be trapped for a long time," Kline said. "What we have is one country with three armies. We stopped the violence, but they never stopped the war."

Still, Kline feels that it is important for NATO to remain and keep the war from reigniting. "Bosnia is still important," he said. "If Bosnia fails, the rest of the Balkans fails. This is a scruffy neighborhood."

Kline also shared his personal views on the war against terrorism. He said the UN would be instrumental in rebuilding Afghanistan after the conflict.

Friedman hopes her students will take one particular lesson from the presentation.

"I hope they will learn the importance of southeastern Europe to the stability of Europe as a whole," Friedman said. "Ignorance is the enemy of stability in that region."

Kline phrased the lesson differently. Smiling sarcastically, he said, "Don't travel abroad; it is intrinsically unsafe. You will meet strange foreign people who don't like you.

"You're better off staying in Indiana."


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