July 26, 2006

HARRISONBURG—Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, debated Martin Bell, an ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), live on BBC News 24 today at 9:30 p.m. UK Time (4:30 p.m. Eastern U.S. Time). The television program was later rebroadcast worldwide on the BBC World satellite channel. The two sparred on the regard of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the future role for the world organization in light of the current crisis and the deaths of several UN observers yesterday.

Bell, who worked for three decades as a BBC foreign correspondent before serving one term as a maverick independent member of the British House of Commons, defended the UN force “is the only hope” for the situation. In contrast, Dr. Pham, who co-authored a commentary highly critical of UNIFIL earlier this week, argued: “While we regret the loss of life yesterday, if the so-called peacekeepers had done the job they were sent to do twenty-eight years ago—‘restore international peace and security’ to the southern Lebanon and ‘assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring its effective authority in the area’—then we would not have the current conflict. If they cannot or will not do their job, they should get out of the way and let Israel and other democracies which are willing to shoulder the burden do what needs to be done before peace can even be talked about, uprooting Hezbollah’s terror networks.”