• Now Media

    Wikileaks, Assange and the UN, an example of propaganda

    The Wikileaks community and Wikileaks watchers are actively and likely inadvertently the myth that Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder and front-man, is giving a “keynote” at the UN this week. They are forwarding a Tweet from @Wikileaks that includes a link to a Reuters “Factbox” article that appears to indicate Assange is speaking at the UN. In fact, he is not giving the “keynote” or otherwise speaking at the UN Human Rights meeting but at a press conference put on by the International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights (IIPJHR), a nongovernmental organization registered in Switzerland. A minor detail.

  • 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

    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…

  • Africa,  China,  Peacekeeping,  Public Diplomacy

    Chinese Public Diplomacy via UN Peacekeeping

    The Chinese state media has highlighted an interesting point as part of their growing public diplomacy campaign to win the hearts and minds of the world, and not least of the impovrished and non-G8 that have important resources China needs. In the last six months, China has had generally 1,000 troops or police on United Nations peacekeeping missions. A Chinese scholar said Tuesday that China has sent out more than 3,000 troops and policemen to United Nations peacekeeping missions since the late 1980s, reflecting its firm support of the UN’s role in maintaining world peace and security.  "China has contributed the largest number of troops to UN peacekeeping operations among…

  • Private Military Companies

    Potential Cost of Private Military Companies

    The recent AEGIS video possibly showing inappropriate behaviour (allegations until proven) is further opening the eyes of the public on private military companies. One proported reason for the expanded use of these companies is  that private enterprise can provide services quicker and at lower costthan public enterprises is rooted in the American corporate experience. However, the “low-cost” advantages of private military forces fail to provide net cost savings when the entire engagement is included in the calculus. Consider the value of military procurement when the two options are private firms or public agencies and the private pitch is high efficiency at a lower face value than public agencies. Not included…

  • Peacekeeping,  Private Military Companies

    Accountability of Non-State Force

    The growing use of private military forces has distinctly increased its and breadth since 9/11 with an estimated 20,000 private contractors operating in Iraq alone, more than double the United Kingdom’s 8,500. Often operating without direct military or civilian monitoring or control, questions about their accountability generally focus on their status as private business or "modern" mercenaries.