World Peace Through World Force--Creating the UN Army
--Carl Teichrib
© 2000 Discerning the Times Digest and NewsBytes


The concept is simple: just as the local community needs law enforcement to "guarantee the safety of its citizens," so too must the global village possess an "adequate" means to do the same. This ability to "enforce world peace" has been a long-standing dream of the international community. President Theodore Roosevelt, in his 1910 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech called for a world league to ensure peace "by force if necessary." In 1948, Trygve Lie, the United Nations first Secretary-General, proposed the creation of a "small guard force…recruited by the Secretary-General and placed at the disposal of the Security Council." A similar "Peace Force" proposal was made by Secretary-General U Thant in 1963. Indeed, the concept has rolled around for quite some time.

While the idea of a UN military force is not new, it is receiving renewed interest at both federal and international levels. Serious propositions have recently been tabled in Congress. What is more, a UN military force under the acronym of SHIRBRIG is already in existence – America just doesn’t know it, yet.

On the national level, Congressman James P. McGovern (D-MA) has initiated House Resolution 4453 — The McGovern-Porter United Nations Rapid Deployment Police and Security Force Act of 2000. This legislation calls for the creation of a military force under the command and control of the United Nations Security Council. This force would be rapidly deployable and act as a "vanguard" unit – being the first troops sent to "contain conflict and stabilize the political situation, while giving regular peacekeeping units from member nations sufficient time to deploy."

In an attempt to overcome the political obstacles of US military involvement within UN operations, the McGovern act makes it clear that no American troops would serve in the UN Rapid Deployment Force. In fact, UNRDF wouldn’t be staffed by troops from any country – hence no national troop casualties would be incurred. Instead, to fill its ranks, 6000 "international volunteers [would be] employed directly by the U.N." This force would be "trained as a single unit, appropriately equipped, expressly for international peace operations including civilian policing" [emphasis mine]. The UNRDF would be, in reality, a United Nations mercenary unit – an international private army.

At this point H.R.4453 has been co-sponsored by 25 members of Congress, including numerous Republicans. It has been referred to the House International Relations Committee and the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights.

Of particular significance, the World Federalist Association (WFA) and its sister organization, the Campaign for UN Reform (CUNR), have taken up the cause of promoting H.R.4453. The WFA is the largest "open" world government organization in the US, working closely with its international counterpart, the World Federalist Movement (WFM). All three bodies directly pursue empowering the United Nations towards the ultimate goal of world government. The "success" of the World Federalists within the global political arena is cause for concern. Unknown to most, the International Criminal Court is one of their success stories, with the WFM playing the central role in its creation. The WFM also played a key role in the recent United Nations Millennium Forum, and its American affiliate, the WFA, heavily influenced this event. It was at this UN Forum that a CUNR summary of H.R.4453 was circulated. McGovern, whether he realizes it or not, has the backing of a very influential group of world government supporters who understand the full implications of a UN standing army.

But while H.R.4453 is of grave concern, it pales in comparison to SHIRBRIG.

On December 15, 1996, the Ministers of Defense for Austria, Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Sweden signed a Letter of Intent, thereby creating the Stand-by Forces High Readiness Brigade (SHIRBRIG). Much more than a concept or piece of legislation – such as H.R.4453 – SHIRBRIG is a physical reality and has an operational headquarters at Hoevelte, approximately 20 kilometers north of Copenhagen.

The history of SHIRBRIG can readily be traced throughout the 1990’s. In 1992 UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali penned his Agenda for Peace, which called for a fresh look at creating a common security system. In response to the Secretary-General’s request, the Canadian Senate released its report on peacekeeping the following year and stated that a "permanent force – or standing UN army – would serve either as a deterrent or to meet threats posed by a ‘military force of a lesser order’" [bold in original]. By 1995 two major reports, Towards A Rapid Reaction Capability For The United Nations, and Report by the Working Group on a Multinational United Nations Stand-by Forces High Readiness Brigade, were released by the Canadian and Danish federal governments, respectively.

Canada, in developing their report, appointed a committee of international specialists, including members of the Ford Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations, various ambassadors, special advisors, and a host of political and military personalities. The result; recommendations that included the establishment of a "permanent UN operational-level headquarters," a Rapid Reaction military unit under the direction of the Secretary-General, international troop training standards, a "permanent standing UN police force," regionally based operational headquarters, advanced intelligence and surveillance capabilities, and an eventual United Nations Standing Emergency Group – in essence, a "standing army."

The Danish proposals were more tightly focused on the legal and technical structures necessary to achieve a UN Rapid Reaction military regime. It recommended that Member States form an affiliation under the present UN Stand-by Agreement, resulting in the creation of a UN High Readiness Brigade. According to the Danish report, this force would come under the direct authority of the Security Council and would be "available for use world wide."

As a result of both reports and the efforts of supporting nations, SHIRBRIG was officially established. On September 2, 1997, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan inaugurated its Planning Element, which would develop operating procedures, conduct operational and logistic training, and support the UN with tactical mission planning. At this point contributing countries – those who signed the Letter of Intent – are preparing troops for placement in SHIRBRIG. Once completely operational, SHIRBRIG will be, in essence, a United Nations "swat force" embodying the vanguard concept.

Although the US has not endorsed the Stand-by Forces High Readiness Brigade, global political will has been staging itself to take advantage of any favorable change within US/UN relations. The Canadian report made it clear that current political conditions "are not immutable" and recommended "seeking to engage the debate on what may be desirable in the longer term." As Michael Oliver, president of the United Nations Association of Canada said in a 1995 interview regarding UN military empowerment, "When there’s a shift in the U.S., we’ll be ready."


Carl Teichrib is the research associate with Hope for the World ( and has attended many of the UN meetings that are dealing with the effort to achieve global governance.