The Militarization of Peacekeeping

This article was part of the Briefing Book prepared for the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations by IPI and CIC. UN peacekeeping has come to dominate the field of international conflict resolution and the mediation of peace settlements, to the extent that the UN has even grown accustomed to boasting about how it deploys more military forces globally than any country except the US. But why should the US “empire of bases” be considered a legitimate comparison for an international organization supposedly devoted to peace? This speaks to just how far militarization and imperial ambition has overtaken peacekeeping. UN peacekeeping is in danger of being locked into perpetual expansion: the more it does, the more it is expected to do. It is high time this blue helmeted leviathan was scaled back, in order to allow alternative, more authentically pacific peace-providers and peace-making entrepreneurs to emerge, and for greater political experimentation and creativity to flourish in the provision of peace-making services. Why should the peace-making potential of good offices functions, technical commissions and ceasefire observation missions be monopolized by this aging relic of the Second World War? In the post-Cold War world, the impartiality of UN peacekeeping has been hollowed out as it has been scaled up into nation-building and become the military arm of the Security Council. This is shown by the fact that UN and its assorted agencies and peacekeepers are increasingly considered targets in the world’s war zones. In such a world, it is likely that there will be other actors – states and non-state peace-providers – who could develop a more credible reputation for authentic...

Can UN Peacekeeping Enter the Digital Age?

Technology and Human Rights Can UN Peacekeeping Enter the Digital Age? By Camilla Wood July 3, 2015 The problem of inadequate access to, and use of, information and communications technologies by UN peacekeeping operations is not new. Though recommendations to modernize were already brought up by the Brahimi report, peacekeeping has failed to keep pace with technological innovation. While the HIPPO-report endorses the February 2015 report of the Expert Panel on Technology, reform proposals to upgrade peacekeeping technologies might become marginalized in the expansive agenda. Furthermore, such progress might be blocked due to the political issues the technological empowerment of peacekeeping forces raises. The upcoming Peacekeeping summit will be decisive in determining opportunities for correcting the technological backwardness of peacekeeping operations. Read...
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