So, about that trope that national security and defense is a “man’s” issue (we see you GQ 👀). Last week’s midterms in the U.S. blew that out of the water. Among the record number of women coming into Congress this January, many also happen to be national security and defense experts.
The women with natsec and defense experience:
- Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) is a former Navy pilot
- Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) is a former Air Force Captain
- Elaine Luria (D-VA) is a Navy veteran, who we would like to point out beat Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA), a former Navy SEAL 👊💥
- Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) is a former CIA analyst
- Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) is a former CIA officer
They join a few other female veterans who are already serving: Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), House Rep. Martha McSally (R-Arizona) and House Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, (D-Hawaii).
How will they make a difference?
For one, national security and defense will finally breakout of a narrow straitjacket. National security is no longer just bombs and soldiers: Today’s threats come from pandemics such as Ebola, extremists that have become radicalized as a result of poverty and devastation, and global warming. And as the earth temperature rises, we are faced with the danger of food shortages, forced migration as a result of flooding, and extreme weather. Case in point: Hurricanes Sandy and Maria.
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In 2000, the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1325. That resolution recognizes the role that women play in the “prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction.” In short, when it comes to war, women matter. Here are the stats:
According to our pals at the Women in Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations (Rachel Vogelstein and Jamille Bigio): “The participation of women and civil society groups in a peace negotiation makes the resulting agreement 64 percent less likely to fail and 35 percent more likely to last at least fifteen years.” This past week, Melanne Verveer and Anjali Dayal discussed the importance of increasing women’s participation at every stage of peace negotiations.
64 percent less likely. So what was that about women don’t have a role in war? 🤔
In 2011, the U.S. adopted the National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security. It joined numerous countries that launched plans to increase women’s participation in conflict resolution and peace negotiations, including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Rwanda. Sixty-nine countries have signed onto national action plans to date. (Fun fact: The United Nations has 193 member states.)
The U.S. has been slow to actually act on the matter, but that’s set to change. Last year, Trump signed into law the Women, Peace, and Security Act. (We didn’t believe it either, but it’s true.) That act requires the U.S. government to increase women’s participation in peace talks and conflict resolution. Our pals at Our Secure Future have a great guide on the act – and also point out that this act, along with the plan, are the framework for a feminist foreign policy. The new crop of Congresswomen presents an opportunity to help shape what that participation means and, more importantly, ensure that we get there.
YOU can have an impact too: Call your congressional representatives and request that the Congress call for a hearing on the state of the President’s government-wide strategy to implement the WPS Act of 2017.
- Last Sunday’s WWI centennial commemoration exposes ominous rifts in our new world order, says Anne Applebaum. (Washington Post)
- This African country wants to be recognized as the place where World War I really ended, says Lynsey Chutel. (Quartz)
- Merkel calls for a ‘real, true’ European army, an idea that Trump decried as “very insulting!” Marie Julien reports. (Yahoo News)
- As if Europe is in a position to have its own army, says Judy Dempsey (which has to be one of the best lines this week.) She reflects on Macron’s call for European boots. (Carnegie Council)
- Trump is driving Europe away. But to where? Frida Ghitis explores. (Politico)
Read the rest of FP Interrupted here.
This was republished with the permission of FP Interrupted.