Fighting for Peace
Posted by Suzanne Nossel
Interesting article today about how UN peacekeepers have gotten much more aggressive and willing to use force as they police hotspots like Congo.
The cowering figures of UN peacekeepers at Srebrenica and elsewhere cast a very long shadow, coloring the organization's credibility for more than a decade. The problem was two-fold: unwillingness of the Security Council to vote sufficiently robust peacekeeping mandates to allow for effective peace enforcement and engagement in conflicts where necessary, and inadequate training and equipment on the part of troops contributed for UN missions. As an outgrowth of the 2000 Brahimi Report on peacekeeping reform, both issues are gradually being addressed.
Its not by accident that peacekeeping ranks as one of the things the UN does well. Its because a concerted push for change led to real reform. Let the same be true in areas where the UN does poorly. Apropos of question 3 below about whether the UN can ever truly become an effective foreign policy instrument, this is one area in which the organization's membership overcame inertia and the reification of sovereignty to strengthen the tools the UN has to do its job.