Peacekeeping: does it work?

December 10, 2008

unbluehelmet

Human security students will already be familiar with The Human Security Report’s arguments illustrating the positive impact of UN peacekeeping interventions.  The debate continues in the “development” blogosphere with some interesting further discussions about the efficacy of peacekeeping interventions, largely in response to Paul Collier’s Book, The Bottom Billion.  Some of the links to understanding this discussion are below:

  • Paul Collier, The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It (OUP, 2007)
  • Michael Clemen’s review of  Paul Collier’s The Bottom Billion book (Foreign Affairs, Sept/Oct 2007) can be found here.
  • William Easterly’s “Foreign Aid Goes Military!” review of Collier’s book (New York Review of Books, Dec.2008) can be found here.
  • Chris Blattman’s defense of peacekeeping interventions (borrowing from Page Fortna and Andrew Gelman’s analysis ) can be found here.

Page Fortna and Lise Morjé Howard’s “Pitfalls and Prospects in the Peacekeeping Literature” (Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 11, June 2008) provides a further helpful list of research questions (and a review of existing literature on peacekeeping) for those interested in exploring the topic further.  Their proposed questions in need of further research are as follows:

  1. Who should keep peace? Who keeps peace most effectively, the UN, regional organizations, or state-led coalitions? Are different tasks (peacekeeping, peace enforcement, peacebuilding, transitional administration) better performed by different international actors?
  2. The use of force. Is force required to protect vulnerable populations? Empirically, are missions with more robust mandates more effective?
  3. Transitional administration. Can the international community foster sovereignty and democracy by violating sovereignty and democracy? What are the long-term effects of administration by the international community?
  4. Peacekeeping and democratization. Does peacekeeping foster the growth of democracy, inhibit it, or both? What are the long-term effects of peacekeeping on democratization?
  5. Perspectives of the peacekept. How is peacekeeping viewed by decision makers and populations within the countries to which peacekeepers deploy? What are the effects of peacekeeping at the micro level? Can regional variations within countries, or among individuals in war-torn states, be explained by exposure to and interaction with peacekeepers?

Ah, the plethora of  glorious research opportuntities…

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One Response to “Peacekeeping: does it work?”

  1. irishpresidency Says:

    I don’t agree with these sort of missions. A government in a country needs to provide defence, not send theire soldiers to other countries.


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