• Peacekeeping

    AP’s new math declares Security Council as top contributor to Peacekeeping

    Briefly, in an article on UN peacekeeping titled UN says still trying to get peacekeeping right, the Associated Press’s John Heilprin writes that “U.N. figures show the 10 biggest troop-contributing nations to U.N.-mandated operations are the U.S., Pakistan, Bangladesh, Britain, India, Italy, Germany, France, Nigeria and Nepal.” This is completely false, unless perhaps the author includes the peacekeeping operations before the end of the Cold War, for which I have not analyzed the data. Even then, I doubt the author is correct. The article also fails to properly attribute failures in UN peacekeeping as it glosses over “controversies” while ignoring the underlying systemic problems. The top 10 “troop-contributing nations” look…

  • Peacekeeping,  Public Diplomacy

    Tom Barnett on the next generation of UN peacekeeping

    A subtle evolution of United Nations peacekeeping operations is underway. If the first of these missions kept an agreed-upon peace, and later missions sought to make peace, several countries now use these operations to advance their foreign and economic policy agendas, and raise their global profile. This shift, selective as it is to date, may potentially raise the standard of conduct in U.N. peacekeeping operations increasingly fraught with charges of criminal behavior, corruption, lack of accountability, and general ineffectiveness. However, there are significant downsides to this approach.

  • Peacekeeping,  Public Diplomacy

    UN Peacekeeping as Public Diplomacy

    Certain countries, China in particular but also potentially Brazil and India, are increasingly leveraging UN peacekeeping as an opportunity to engage local populations to further national interests.  China, for example, has followed through on its word to increase its UN activities to further its image as a responsible power and to create awareness and connections with individuals and countries alike.  At World Politics Review (subscription required), I have a short article that explores what may be the third transformation of UN peacekeeping.  From its inception as means to keep an agreed upon peace between two warring parties (hence the name), to peacemaking, some countries are using opportunities facilitated by wearing…

  • In the News,  Peacekeeping,  Public Diplomacy

    U.N. Peacekeeping as Public Diplomacy

    U.N. Peacekeeping as Public Diplomacy by Matt Armstrong, 19 May 2010, in World Politics Review. A subtle evolution of United Nations peacekeeping operations is underway. If the first of these missions kept an agreed-upon peace, and later missions sought to make peace, several countries now use these operations to advance their foreign and economic policy agendas, and raise their global profile. This shift, selective as it is to date, may potentially raise the standard of conduct in U.N. peacekeeping operations increasingly fraught with charges of criminal behavior, corruption, lack of accountability, and general ineffectiveness. However, there are significant downsides to this approach. … These same conditions create opportunities to increase…

  • Peacekeeping,  Private Military Companies

    Beyond Government Accountability: a challenging look at Peacekeepers

    My article in Serviam, the magazine dedicated to “Stability Solutions in a Dangerous World,” is out.  I mentioned it before, but now you can read the whole thing.  It’s intended to be thought provoking, which it is.  By the way, it was vetted and approved by an international lawyer and a consultant to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.  There will be more on the subject of the lack of accountability of peacekeepers by others.  In the immediate future, it sounds like you can catch more in the upcoming HBO movie The Greatest Silence (and/or listen to this NPR interview with the filmmaker).  From Beyond Government Accountability: …If holding nonstate soldiers…

  • In the News,  Peacekeeping

    Beyond Government Accountability: a challenging look at Peacekeepers

    Beyond Government Accountability: a challenging look at Peacekeepers by Matt Armstrong, 8 April 2008, at Serviam Magazine (magazine website no longer available). The relationship between peacekeeping forces (PKFs) and the U.N. Security Council mimics the relationship between a private military or security company and the country in question. The Security Council negotiates with U.N. members to contribute to PKOs, most often in the stead of the five permanent Security Council members who actually make the decision to deploy military observers, police, and troops. The General Assembly does not authorize or oversee PKFs, but it is tasked to operate on the behalf of the Security Council. Forgotten is Article 43 of…

  • Peacekeeping

    The Future of U.N. Peacekeeping

    Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, will be speaking Thursday, 27 March 2008, at 1:00p as part of CSIS’s Smart Power Speaker Series: UN peacekeeping is today the flagship enterprise of the United Nations and has become a central element of the international community’s response to complex emergencies. During his eight year tenure as chief of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Guéhenno has seen the number of deployed UN troops double to over 100,000 with an annual budget of around $7.5 billion in order to protect vulnerable populations and help local communities transition from a post-conflict to a development environment. I wonder if some critical truths of…

  • Peacekeeping

    Who are the UN Peacekeepers?

    Additional commentary will follow later.  Raw facts to consider now: As of Dec… Total  U.N. Peacekeepers Top 7 Contributing Countries Top 7’s % of Total 2001 47,108 Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, India, Jordan, Ghana, Kenya 52.8% 2002 39,652 Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, India, Ghana, Kenya, Uruguay 52.0% 2003 45,815 Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, India, Ghana, Nepal, Uruguay 51.7% 2004 64,720 Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jordan 51.3% 2005 69,838 Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Jordan, Nepal, Ethiopia, Ghana 55.7% 2006 80,368 Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Ghana, Nepal, Uruguay 50.9% 2007 84,309 Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Jordan, Ghana, Nigeria 51.2% The "total peacekeepers" above includes military, military observers, and police.  And what about the Security…

  • Peacekeeping

    When an international force is only international and not a force

    Kings of War highlights a central problem to all international missions in talking about Europe’s endeavor in Afghanistan: Our European partners are simply not pulling their weight in AFG. The NATO Secretary General has repeatedly asked the European allies to provide more resources and, crucially, to remove national caveats that prevent their forces from entering the fight. Indeed, just four days ago, the ISAF Commander, Gen. Dan McNeil, complained that some NATO member states have not even provided the troops they had promised to deploy in Afghanistan. Moreover, he was damning on the issue of caveats: “When countries say their forces can only operate in certain ways and in a…