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You are here: Home > Suggested readings > Marten - Enforcing the Peace - ISBN 0231129122 - 3.5/5

Viewed 232 times | Published on 2018-04-30 11:57:32


Marten, Kimberly Zisk
Enforcing the Peace: Learning from the Imperial Past
BookID 113313438
ISBN 0231129122
(see LibraryThing.com card)
Description (from Amazon)Anarchy makes it easy for terrorists to set up shop. Yet the international community has been reluctant to commit the necessary resources to peacekeeping?with devastating results locally and around the globe. This daring new work argues that modern peacekeeping operations and military occupations bear a surprising resemblance to the imperialism practiced by liberal states a century ago. Motivated by a similar combination of self-interested and humanitarian goals, liberal democracies in both eras have wanted to maintain a presence on foreign territory in order to make themselves more secure, while sharing the benefits of their own cultures and societies. Yet both forms of intervention have inevitably been undercut by weak political will, inconsistent policy choices, and their status as a low priority on the agenda of military organizations. In more recent times, these problems are compounded by the need for multilateral cooperation?something even NATO finds difficult to achieve but is now necessary for legitimacy.
My review: 3.5/5Interesting book comparing peacekeeping in colonial and post-colonial times, with a discussions of plenty of case studies between the 1990s and 2004.

Even more interesting to consider now, as we are living with positive (e.g. the accession of countries that were part of the Balkan Wars to the EU) and negative (e.g. the continued unrest in Afghanistan and the emergence of ISIS taking apart the territorial integrity of Iraq and other states in the region) consequences of previous interventions and ensuing peacekeeping activities.

As a complement, it is worth reading the Nov-Dec 2014 issue of Foreign Affairs: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/issues/2014/93/6

The author closes the book with a proposal to make peacekeeping working by using lessons learned from both old and new foreign interventions:
" the militarily supported peacekeeping mission would have one and only one overarching purpose: to provide security- along a country's borders, in support of humanitarian air delivery, and for the purpose of establishing broad-scale public order- until a new indigenous government can take over those functions itself. The mission would be led by a state who has a strong interest in a stable outcome in the territory. That state would have military troops trained for flexible policing duties, and would reward soldiers and officers with promotin for good performance of such actions. The intervening lead state should furthermore be determined to stay the course until stability is achieved. State leaders must convey to their own public why providing stability to the foreign country in question is in the clear national interest. They must also communicate the expectation that casualties will occur in a difficult environment, and that the loss of soldiers, while regretted, will be accepted as inevitable.

As in the case of the Interfet mission in East Timor, the lead state would be responsible for choosing its partners in the operation, and of assigning the forces of all willing donors to tasks where they would be appropriately used."
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