Peace & Stability Journal Volume 7, Issue 1 - Page 19

bolstered its political and economic power in relation to Greece and Turkey. 20 Whether by accident or design, Cyprus holds the key to the eventual inclusion of Turkey into the EU, while Greece’s profound economic problems underscore the impor- tance of Cyprus’s sympathetic, but distinct, voice within the in- stitution. 21 During the long lull in fighting on Cyprus, tempers have cooled between Greece and Turkey, while more immediate concerns – such as the current refugee crisis affecting the region – bolster cooperation between these two erstwhile foes. 22 Among the island’s own communities, a new generation of leaders have emerged on both sides of the divide, just as the benefits of EU membership and the recent discovery of sub- stantial offshore oil and gas deposits provide incentives for resolving the conflict. 23 While the Cyprus problem has foiled negotiators many times in the past, the current confluence of interests and opportunities indicates that the time may be ripe for a long-awaited settlement. If Cyprus’s reunification comes to pass, it will reaffirm the value of the U.N.’s enduring, patient commitment to peacebuilding as an alternative to violence and a tool for conflict resolution. What Cyprus Can Teach U.S. Foreign Policy Makers As a durable settlement appears increasingly likely, the de- cades-long Cyprus experience presents a counterpoint to recent examples of U.S.-led, combat-oriented efforts to resolve compli- cated disputes among feuding communities in the Middle East and Afghanistan. In those conflicts, U.S. policy makers and planners intended to intervene briefly, achieve victory on the battlefield, develop a workable governing coalition, and depart, without adequate planning for the stability operations and long occupations that typically follow contemporary international conflicts. – and which, in fact, came to pass. In this context, Cyprus embodies the lengthy, frustrating gap between the ces- sation of hostilities on the battlefield on the one hand, and the achievement of durable peace on the other – a distinction that U.S. policy makers rarely acknowledge, and which U.S. military doctrine tends to gloss over. US political and military leaders alike tend to pay inadequate attention to the post-conflict stabilization period, focusing instead on deterrence and especially the active combat phase of conflict, upon which American military culture and doctrine tend to fixate. U.S. involvement in post-conflict stabilization and peacebuilding remain difficult objectives around which to mobilize American public opinion and military culture, yet they are vital to bridging the gap between war and lasting peace. In the words of military strategist J. Boone Bartholomees, "The United States is developing a reputation much like Germany had in the 20th century of being tactically and operationally superb but strategically inept. Often stated as a tendency to win the war but lose the peace... we simply do not really understand what victory is and how it happens. Worse, we do not have the necessary intellectual framework to think about the problem." 24 This poignant description reflects the fact that virtually every recent military conflict in which the United States has become embroiled also requires lengthy and costly commitments that resemble peace operations. As compared to the decades-long U.S. presence on the Korean peninsula, its posture during the Cold War, and in discrete, time-honored commitments in areas such as Kosovo and Sinai, the U.N.’s modest international investments in such activities over the years in Cyprus may even- tually prove to be more durable, successful, and cost-effective in the long run. Furthermore, the potential resolution of the Cyprus conflict demonstrates how the U.N. and other regional organizations are able to use non-military elements of power to broker a lasting settlement, albeit over an extended time horizon. As a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. has long provided funding, legal authorization, diplomatic support, and civilian personnel to the international effort to resolve the Cyprus conflict. However, peace operations remain a niche ca- pability within the standard U.S. foreign policy toolkit. To the extent that the United States military forces will no longer be sized to conduct extended stability operations, as expressed in recent Defense Strategic Guidance, 25 alternatives such as U.N. peace operations provide other viable operations. However, for such efforts to succeed, U.S. civilian and military policy makers, when planning for post-conflict periods, must make a concerted effort to engage with international partners, under the aegis of the U.N. These imperatives underscore the importance of Pres- ident Obama’s September 2015 policy update on U.S. participa- tion in U.N. peace operations. 26 It remains to be seen whether Obama’s successors will attach the same importance to peace operations in their policy toolkit. Conclusion The decades-long conflict in Cyprus stems from its history as a crossroads among cultures, continents, and empires. With the third-longest-serving U.N. peace operation, UNFICYP, continuing ́́ѼɕٕЁ٥ɕɸѡո)Ѽѡqɵѥϊtɕ͕̀Ёє) ́́Ѡѡ́ѡͥѥ́)ѕɹѥЁɕͽѥ́܁Ѥ)ɕѥ́͡ѡձѥ́ȁ ɥ́ѡ)ѕɅѥ̰́չѥ́Ѡͥ́ѡ)٥ͱɕɐѡɔݥѠɕݕѥʹȁѡ(