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About this book

In this thoroughly revised edition of his bestselling 1999 volume Why Peacekeeping Fails, Dennis Jett explains why peacekeepers today are dying in record numbers while engaged in operations that either are bound to fail or make little contribution to peace. The original book compared a wide range of peacekeeping experiences, including the unsuccessful attempt at peacekeeping in Angola with the successful effort in Mozambique in the early 1990’s, to argue for the importance of peacekeeping and suggest ways to improve its chances for success. Nearly two decades later, the number of UN peacekeepers has risen to 100,000 from 15,000; and yet, after years of expansion, support for peacekeeping seems to be diminishing. This thoroughly revised and updated 20th anniversary edition—half of which is completely new material—provides a timely update to Jett’s previous volume, examining why the dramatic growth in peacekeeping has occurred, how it is now being used, and why the challenges peacekeepers face cannot be dealt with alone. Also considering the impact of terrorism on both recent and longstanding peacekeeping operations, this book will assess the prospects of peacekeeping in an era in which the United States seems to be withdrawing from the world.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
With approximately 100,000 peacekeepers engaged in 14 different operations, the United Nations spends nearly $7 billion annually in attempting to create a lasting end to conflicts around the world. But those conflicts have evolved in ways that has made the work of the peacekeepers far more difficult and dangerous and greatly diminished their chances for success. This book will explain why that is the case. In the first edition of this book, which came out in the late 1990s, the focus was on the difference between the successful peacekeeping mission in Mozambique and the failure of the one in Angola. The principal conclusion reached was that there were three main factors that determined the success of peacekeeping following the civil wars in those two former Portuguese colonies. The first, and most important, was the resources of the country and whether they were easily converted to cash. If those resources, like oil and diamonds in the case of Angola, generated huge revenues, they provided both the means and the motivation for the fighting to continue. The second was the involvement of the country’s neighbors, the regional and major powers and whether their interests were served by peace or by continued war. And finally, the political leadership within the country and whether they really wanted peace or cared more about their own political power than ending the war for good.
Dennis C. Jett

Chapter 2. A Brief History of UN Peacekeeping

Abstract
In the years since the creation of the United Nations in 1945, peacekeeping has gone through eight distinct phases. The phases reflect a repeated ebb and flow as a period of little to no new peacekeeping activity was followed by a period where new operations were launched and the number of peacekeepers grew. Each period is described in this chapter, but they all reflect the same trends. Peacekeeping expanded or contracted not just because there were wars to deal with, but because it fell in and out of favor. The use of peacekeeping was determined by factors like the level of competition or cooperation between the two Super Powers, the interests of other major countries, the evolution of conflicts and whether peacekeeping’s more notable failures were still fresh in the minds of the international community. The first two expansion periods came about mainly as a response to wars in the Middle East. Tension between the two Super Powers brought both of them to an end and ushered in eras where peacekeeping was confined almost solely to the continuation of ongoing missions. A third cycle of expansion began in 1988 with the end of the Cold War when greater cooperation between Russia and the USA became possible. It also became necessary as the collapse of the Soviet Union led to new conflicts within the countries that once made it up. This period was marked by increasingly ambitious mandates as the UN tasked the peacekeepers with dealing with civil wars.
Dennis C. Jett

Chapter 3. Failing Before Beginning

Abstract
The success or failure of a peacekeeping operation can be preordained even before the blue helmets arrive on the scene of the conflict. These predeployment factors can be either particular to the UN and the way it operates or specific to the conflict in question. Among the former are the UN’s process of deciding where to intervene, the mandate given the peacekeepers, who is chosen to lead and participate in the mission and how it is planned. The latter factors, the conflict-specific ones, will be examined in the next chapter. In PKOs initiated prior to the end of the Cold War in 1991, there were three sources of requests for UN peacekeeping missions: Security Council initiatives to quell a conventional conflict, independent requests from the local parties, and agreements brokered by third parties who then sought UN assistance in implementing those agreements. The Security Council initiatives before 1991 were all begun in response to wars in the Middle East and represented about a quarter of PKOs undertaken. Requests from local parties made up another quarter. The remaining half resulted from requests to help implement brokered agreements between the parties in a civil war. Since 1991, the sources of requests for peacekeeping missions have changed dramatically as a result of the changing nature of war.
Dennis C. Jett

Chapter 4. Failing While Doing

Abstract
Today the UN tries to deal with three different types of conflict with three different types of peacekeeping. The oldest type is classical peacekeeping, which the UN has been doing since 1948. It requires the UN to insert peacekeepers between the armies of two countries that have reached a cease-fire following a war between them over territory. The second type is multidimensional peacekeeping. This is the kind of peacekeeping operation that follows a civil war and is multidimensional because it requires multitasking. The peacekeepers are attempting to help establish a government that has both stability and legitimacy. The third type of peacekeeping is the newest and most difficult. It involves “stabilization,” which means the peacekeepers are expected to protect civilians from abuse by armed factions and also to help extend the government’s control over its own territory. This amounts to peace enforcement rather than peacekeeping and has become common enough that the UN has taken to referring to these actions as “peace operations” rather than peacekeeping since there is generally no peace to keep. All three types of peacekeeping have distinctly different challenges, but all provide sufficient difficulties that the UN can fail.
Dennis C. Jett

Chapter 5. Angola and Mozambique: Similar Histories, Different Outcomes

Abstract
This chapter looks at two case studies—Angola and Mozambique. Since they are decades old, they may seem like an exercise in ancient history, but it is useful. They demonstrate what UN peacekeepers can achieve, what they can only influence, and what they cannot control. While multidimensional peacekeeping is almost nonexistent at the present time, it seems certain that the UN will be called upon to engage in again in the future. If the civil wars in Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, and elsewhere are ever brought to an end, there would likely be calls for peacekeepers to be sent into help make the peace permanent. If peacekeepers are deployed, their chances for success depend in large part on a number of factors particular to each conflict. They include the conflict’s history, what kind of peace there is to keep, how that peace was negotiated, and the intentions and good faith of the parties. But the most important are the resources of the country in question and the roles played by other states, which are difficult to impossible for the UN to control. Mozambique and Angola differed significantly in all of these conflict-specific factors, even though both countries were Portuguese colonies that obtained their independence at the same time and in the same way.
Dennis C. Jett

Chapter 6. The Real Reasons Peacekeeping Fails

Abstract
Previous chapters have largely focused on the way the UN conducts peacekeeping and the limitations the organization faces as it attempts to be successful in those operations. While those internal factors affect how well the peacekeepers do their job, this chapter will argue that the most significant obstacles to success are the external factors that are beyond the scope of the peacekeeping mission. They can be influenced by the UN, if it has political will and the support of the member states, but are beyond the UN’s control. The three most important of these external factors are the conduct of the parties to the conflict, the attitude and interests of other countries and the resources of the country where the conflict has taken place. To look at these external factors systematically requires considering separately each kind of peacekeeping that have come about in response to wars between states over territory (classical peacekeeping), civil wars (multidimensional peacekeeping), and violent extremism (protection and stabilization missions).
Dennis C. Jett

Chapter 7. Humanitarian Aid and the Failure of Peacekeeping

Abstract
When a war creates hundreds of thousands of victims among the civilian population, a common response of the international community is to furnish humanitarian aid to those affected. When large numbers of refugees or internally displaced people are created, such aid can mean the difference between life and death for them. The goal of the international effort is to ensure they have the most basic human needs met—security, water, food, shelter, medical care, and sanitation—until they can return to their homes. Humanitarian assistance is considered to be unquestionably beneficial by those who are in the business of providing it because it is designed to alleviate the suffering of noncombatants. Many consider humanitarian action to be impartial, neutral, and independent from political, religious, or any other extraneous bias. Humanitarian assistance does not always have positive effects however. This is particularly true when it comes to the impact on peacekeeping. How peacekeeping affects humanitarian aid, and vice versa, depends on which of the three types of peacekeeping and conflict are being considered—classical peacekeeping in response to an interstate war, multidimensional peacekeeping after a civil war or a protection/stabilization mission in response to violent extremism.
Dennis C. Jett

Chapter 8. Getting Out and Afterward

Abstract
This chapter discusses how peacekeeping missions are brought to a conclusion and what happens, or fails to, at that point. Because there is no standard definition of success that fits all three types of peacekeeping, each of them will be considered individually. One way to define success is the fulfillment of the PKO’s mandate. Since mandates are vague, focusing on them exclusively ignores the common purposes of PKOs and limits comparisons among them. Some have argued that better indicators of success are whether the PKO limited or prevented hostilities and succeeded at conflict resolution. The two are not the same. The war can end, but the conflict can go on. There will be a greatly reduced level of violence, but the country’s people will still suffer from poverty, corruption and repression by the same ruling elites. There are essentially three possible outcomes for a peacekeeping operation: outright failure, indefinite extension and a declaration of success. Under the first outcome, the peacekeepers leave voluntarily, or are forced out, after they fail to achieve all of their objectives, as happened in Somalia and Rwanda. The second outcome could be termed a non-exit strategy, as it describes a situation where a PKO is simply not terminated. The third outcome is when the UN declares victory and departs.
Dennis C. Jett

Chapter 9. “Inconclusion”: Why Real Reform Might Not Be Possible

Abstract
There are many nonfiction books that describe a problem and then conclude with the author’s recommendations on how to resolve that problem. This chapter will take a different approach. It will describe some of the solutions that have been proposed. It will then explain why those suggestions are largely unworkable and describe where the real possibilities for improvement lie. It will also assess why the obstacles to those chances for improvement are unlikely to be overcome. Since the creation of the UN at the end of World War II, peacekeeping has gradually become more necessary, more possible, and much more difficult. The decolonization that began after the war, as European countries gave independence to countries in Africa and elsewhere, followed by the breakup of the Soviet Union, created a whole host of nations. They had their freedom, but they also had weak economies and political institutions. How weak was a function of who the colonial power was, how much that power cared about educating and training the local population, and whether the transition to independence was gradual or abrupt. Ready or not, these new nations were much of the reason why the UN went from its original 55 countries to the 193 member states today.
Dennis C. Jett

Backmatter

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