Follow this road map. It can take Haiti from violent chaos to progress and peace

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Photo of Police Nationale d'Haiti wall with bullet holes Poynter/AP Photo/Megan Janetsky

The rudiments of a loose international plan for Haiti are emerging — centered on providing increased support for the Haitian National Police, nudging political factions to coalesce around a governing pact and offering humanitarian assistance.

But will it be enough, given the multiple complex problems Haiti confronts?

As three long-term observers of the country, we argue that a more assertive international response is needed and offer the following road map to help Haiti reset.

On the security front, there is vocal political resistance within Haiti to another international intervention. Some see it as a violation of sovereignty; others as a means of potentially propping up an interim prime minister viewed as politically illegitimate. This provides easy cover for international actors who prefer not to act. Realities on the ground should convince Haitian leaders and foreign governments to overcome their concerns.

Given the power of Haitian gangs, a minimal approach will almost surely fall short of restoring the public order upon which all else depends. A robust multinational security response that is carefully planned, explained and executed is needed. While a conventional peacekeeping mission may not be viable, past assistance efforts in fragile states offer a basket of creative options. Such a response would require leadership from the United States, which uniquely possesses the tools and capabilities for such a mission.


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