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Thread: United Nations Peacekeeping (catch all)

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    Default United Nations Peacekeeping (catch all)

    Forward: This is a piece that is composed for a class on insurgency and counter insurgency and as such is limited in its scope to materials specifically related to that class

    The business of peace keeping is one of the most complex and exhausting processes which modern military forces find themselves involved in. Classical logic tells them they have won the war, but in these cases the war may just be a battle in the process of a greater war for the stabilization and development of the country.

    The two perspectives on nation building that are commonly discussed in the western world are the US model of heavy forces, large money and extended deployment versus the United Nation blue helmets minimalist approach.

    The Comparison of the US versus UN Peace Keeping operations is fundamentally flawed. The reason that this is so is extremely simple. The situations into which the UN is willing to intervene are on a whole a lot less unstable and dangerous than there American comparisons.


    To counter balance the UN Peace keepers preference for more stable situations it is common to sque the American data by including Japan and Germany as successful operations. While these may have been successful reconstruction operations, there was no internal conflict in these countries, not to mention the fact that they had been extremely successful economic players on the world scale prior to the war. They where then brought to the table of unconditional surrender, the conflict had ended and been resolved, it was not stalled in flux. The countries they are being compared to are fundamentally divided be it by a civil war, an internal power vacuum, or a tyrannical leader oppressing his people.

    The other interesting point when considering the literature is that there seems to be a constant statement that just a little more money and a few more soldiers could have gotten so much more done, which is likely inaccurate. I can understand the reasoning from a systemic perspective for a constant lobby for expanded capabilities but this constant if only statement doesn't delve into the actual situation. It instead glosses over the subject and defers discussion. If there was a finite need for more soldiers or more money it would be amazing for there to be a reason listed.

    All in all I found the literature to be plauged by these and other problems, including an extreme lack of bipartisan ship, making dispariging comments about early war on terror tactics while celebrating the same tactics when carried out by the UN.

    Dobbins, James. America's Role in Nation-Building; From German to Iraq. RAND. 2009.

    Dobbins, James. United Nations's Role in Nation-Building; From Congo to Iraq. RAND. 2009.

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default

    MAB,

    Please post an introduction in the appropriate thread.

    After that, please give us some more detail on what you are trying to accomplish with this thread. Are you critiquing Dobbins?

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    Default Apples to Mushrooms

    The problems with comparisons to Japan and Germany are numerous.

    Most important was the concept of complete capitulation. Those countries were totally defeated, yet educated, effective, and in need of rapid humanitarian and capital assistance. The peoples were largely responsible for stability and reconstruction.

    In Iraq, we defeated the leadership, not a country. Then, took a thin occupation stance while removing the existing governmental structure. To my knowledge, we never effectively engaged a post-conflict population stabilization and reconstruction effort, which, in part, exacerbated the instability.

    Moreover, unlike Germany and Japan, the UN sanctions did what they usually do---created a huge black market, and very entrenched mafiosi. This, we probably made worse, not better, by bringing back all the exiles as the power base.

    As conditions worsened after occupation, arguably 15%-20% of the population voted with their feet (refugees), compounding instability, and undermining further reconstruction.

    Against all of that, we launched incoherent and uncoordinated stabilization/reconstruction efforts amongst the bullets flying, and never established an effective effort to get basic human and government services re-established under our supervision.

    Been there, done that.

    Is the question really whether, by incorporating traditional (UN style) approaches to post-war conflict, a viable alternative strategy? If so, we might get somewhere.

    Political parties aside, what's the biggest concern of average Iraqi in the past and next election? Establishing basic services.

    But Iraq became Iraq, for its own reasons. It seems that scabbing some UN ideas onto it after the fact is not going to let us refight that war.

    Steve

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    Default Peacebuilding

    The future of peacebuilding under the auspices of the United Nations

    There has been extensive debate on the future of peacebuilding missions, concerning issues such as the role of peacebuilding missions and the length of missions. After flawed peacebuilding missions in the past, as in Liberia in 1997, where hasty elections led to neither free nor fair elections, the United Nations has critically examined its role in peacebuilding. In 2000 it commissioned the "Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations," or the Brahimi Report, to evaluate the UN's current peacebuilding strategy and to list a series of recommendations to strengthen the planning and management of complex peace operations, which were summarized in to twenty objectives.The UN after noticing a gap in the "relief-to-development" continuum continued its efforts by establishing the UN Peacebuilding Commission in 2005, and since then has gathered over $267 million in pledges from the international community to carry out about forty peacebuilding missions around the world. The commission hopes to work towards having developing the best practices for peacebuilding activities and acting in concert with related actors in sectors such as politics, security and development, and to provide continued financial support for rebuilding activities.
    A recent speech from the Norwegian Ambassador to the United Nations offered his suggestions for improving peacebuilding missions, which included increasingly emphasizing national ownership in peacebuilding efforts and relying on locals to help with rebuilding institutions, and increasing training opportunities so that more locals could get involved. The ambassador also emphasized that these efforts "must be done to empower national authorities further, not to replace them." The ambassador confirmed the need for long term recovery efforts, as Roland Paris suggests, but also reminded that there needs to be a distinction made in situations are emergencies and require immediate humanitarian assistance, which the UN calls "quick impact projects," and others which are long term projects.
    Although there has been much work to work on peacebuilding, there are many challenges that are faced in peacebuilding. For example, as with any effort involving many actors, coordination is always an issue and acting under common goals (as each group has their own interests), which the Peacebuilding Commission has done work to reconcile by bringing together involved actors; however it still remains that the coordination effort remains difficult as it involves many people over a long period of time. Aside from the individual actors involved in peacebuilding effort on the ground, even within the UN there are many groups involved in the process, from the Crisis Prevention and Recovery branch of the United Nations Development Program to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, so inter-agency coordination also remains an issue. In order for these current peacekeeping missions to be successful, and in order for the Commission to adequately prepare for future missions, these issues must be given further improved.

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    Default And your point is?

    You also might introduce yourself so we have some idea of where you are coming from.

    Substantively, Peacebuilding is another one of those words that fall within the rubric of the 100 Names of LIC. As such, we already know quite a bit about what works and what doesn't. Development theory and experiencce explains quite a bit, COIN, FID, and SFA still more. Put them together and you have Nation Building, Nation Assistance, and a bunch of other names for the same thing, such as Peacebuilding. A critical problem that won't be solved by any studies or general SC resolutions is that of unity of effort. Since each state remains sovereign, the donors/personnel/force contributors still choose to contribute only what they see as being in their interest and no more. Think too of the cases where the UNSC has tried to direct force contributors to do more than the Terms of Reference (TOR) they agreed to with DPKO said - I am thinking here of the aftermath of UNSCR 938 in Somalia (UNOSOM II) where none of the force contributors had signed up for the 938 mission which differed in significant ways from the 814 mission. Granted, this was Peace Enforcement but it had major elements of Peacebuilding built in. Bottom line problem is unity of effort.

    Cheers

    JohnT

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    Default

    Sorry ja6345a, I find little credibility and ability with the UN, in fact, they are pretty much a joke and I intend no personal affront at all in making that statement. I'm not alone in this opinion, far from it. I saw a TV show last week about the most dangerous places on earth. The UN can't even control City Soleil, a large Haitian slum on the edge of Port-Au-Prince - they had abandoned an outpost somewhere inside the slum and retreated back to the edge and common street thugs still own the streets.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...020900902.html

    This link tells about a raid the UN made in an attempt to capture a thug leader by the name of "Evens" - the UN purports him to be a cannibal. This character is even suspected of voodoo rituals in which cats are killed because Evens regards them as bad luck. He goes by the nickname of Little Knife because he carves the bodies of his victims.

    Taken from the article, the words of the UN mission leader regarding this thug leader: "I don't want to kill him," the U.N. mission chief added. "I just want him to give up, surrender and face justice."

    There ya' have it - the UN can't even take down a common cat killer. Without the will and ability to apply lethal force and having that as a component in any peace mission in this world of ours today, there can be no peacebuilding. Some readers here may have been on hand in Baghdad when the UN declined US security around their headquarters, wanting to project an image of peace in Iraq and a truck filled with explosive rammed the HQ, devastating it.

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    Council Member Kiwigrunt's Avatar
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    Thumbs down

    Ohhh, don’t get me going on the UN. IMO one of the worlds biggest black holes of resources. Now, I’m sure a lot of people within the UN do good work but it appears to me that the excessive input in money and energy bears no resemblance to the outcome/effect of their missions. (O.K., I do realise that that is hard to measure).

    My first eye-opener was the three days I spent in Dili, capital of East Timor, during my leave in 2001. The few buildings (colonial mansions) that were still intact had been occupied by numerous UN departments, with nice ‘golden’ plaques at the gates. Their brand-new 4WD were parked on the lawns and hardly ever saw the road…….the population would throw rocks at them.

    I was in Kathmandu two years ago (holiday) and the hotels were full of UN officials ‘monitoring’ the elections etc. Many of them were there for some two years. Speaking to a few of them, some had no idea why they were there and invented reasons. Also heard rumours (can’t confirm) that the danger-pay there went up from $150 to $200 per day. Yes…..danger-pay….in Kathmandu hotels! They too had nice big shiny 4WD that they used to ferry themselves from hotel to hotel, while cheap taxis waited outside for work.

    WHO is another example. Again, I’m sure they do a lot of good stuff, but consider this: 85 % of the money that comes in the front door at HQ Geneva never leaves the building, that is, it gets used to pay the wages of the staff. How much of the remaining 15 % that feathers out to countries that need it disappears as a result of corruption is another story.

    It appears to me that these monsters have become so large and unwieldy that they have become self fuelling gravy trains. Someone on another thread not long ago used the term ‘self licking ice-cream cones’.
    Last edited by Kiwigrunt; 04-24-2009 at 02:07 AM. Reason: spelling error
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    Default Credibility Remains a Serious Issue With the UN

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,518345,00.html

    "Report: Unlicensed U.N. Doctors Administer and Take Controlled Narcotics

    A group of largely unlicensed doctors and nurses at the United Nations are distributing controlled narcotics including Valium, Diazepam and Demerol, and in some cases they are self-medicating themselves with the drugs, according to a published report.

    Serguei Oleinikov, deputy director of the U.N. Medical Service, recently approved the "disposal" of dozens of unexpired Valium tablets from the fifth-floor department within the United Nation's headquarters in midtown Manhattan, Inner City Press reports.

    Ruth Martin Agwai, one of the unlicensed nurses reportedly connected to the scheme, is married to Martin Luther Agwai, a Nigerian general who is the commander of the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur. According to Inner City Press, Agwai has used the diplomatic pouch and privileges granted to her by the Nigerian Mission to the U.N. to take medical equipment overseas."

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    Council Member MattC86's Avatar
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    Default Dallaire: The Blurring Line Between Peacekeeping and COIN

    FP.com had an interesting interview with Gen. Romeo Dallaire, who I'm sure you all know better than I was commander of UNAMIR in 1994. Some interesting stuff - or so I thought - on, for example, ". . . a need for a new doctrinal basis and new structures for the protection of civilians."

    Check it out here.

    FP: It sounds like what you're talking about is almost a fundamental retooling of the world's militaries. What would that look like?

    RD: The big players are still basing a lot of their security on the classic use of force. And in the last two decades, except for twice in Iraq or in Kuwait, we haven't been using the classic use of force. We're still learning how to handle Afghanistan -- we haven't got that thing solved. We're still trying to work out how humanitarians, the diplomats, the nation-builders, the security people, police, and military -- how are all of them working at the same time to bring about [peace] instead of blowing the place up and then throwing in a bunch to rebuild it.

    There is a need for a new doctrinal basis and new structures for the protection of civilians. [It's about] using that force as part of your prevention tools. We're not going in guns blazing. There's a whole bunch of stuff that you can do before you use that force. But it's important to make sure that people know that as you're going through these stages, if it doesn't work, ultimately, we'll use the hammer. That makes [the use of force] much more powerful.
    Matt
    "Give a good leader very little and he will succeed. Give a mediocrity a great deal and he will fail." - General George C. Marshall

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    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Default

    Mat,

    If you haven't read "Shake Hands With the Devil," I'll recommend it. His efforts were, quite literally, heroic. I'll also recommend Tom Odom's book, "Journey Into Darkness." Some additional sources on this topic (for you or others) are the Lester B. Pearson International Peacekeeping Training Centre (PPC) and the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.

    The clear impression I was left with (relevent to your post) is that Western militaries were reluctant to get involved because it wasn't the kind of "warfare" they understood, while Western nations were reluctant because there were no clear natioonal interests. Based on all the discussions on this board, those are still the critical issues.

    I'll read the article when I get time, but for now "...new doctrinal basis and new structures for the protection of civilians" sounds exactly right for addressing the first problem. The second is that we need a 'new political basis and new structures for the protection of civilians.'
    John Wolfsberger, Jr.

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    Council Member MattC86's Avatar
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    Default Haven't read Tom's book . . .

    But I did read Dallaire's.

    I would agree with the need for a political basis, as well. But I guess my question off the top of my head would be "have things really changed that much since 1994?"

    We're doing some "peacekeeping"-like work in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. But I would argue we're doing it as a necessary tactic, I suppose, for the accomplishment of the missions which began as definitely something other than civilian-protection.

    Would western militaries be anymore willing or able to take on such a task today than they were in 1994?

    Matt
    "Give a good leader very little and he will succeed. Give a mediocrity a great deal and he will fail." - General George C. Marshall

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    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Default I don't think so.

    Quote Originally Posted by MattC86 View Post
    ... But I guess my question off the top of my head would be "have things really changed that much since 1994?"

    We're doing some "peacekeeping"-like work in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. But I would argue we're doing it as a necessary tactic, I suppose, for the accomplishment of the missions which began as definitely something other than civilian-protection.

    Would western militaries be anymore willing or able to take on such a task today than they were in 1994?

    Matt
    We got into A'stan and Iraq because of circumstances that were clearly in the province of National Interest: in A'stan because they harbored people who attacked us; in Iraq because we had intelligence (faulty, as it turned out) that they were pursuing WMDs which we believed would dramitically destabilize an already unstable region.

    If I could rephrase your second question, "Would western governments and their militaries be anymore willing or able to take on such a task today than they were in 1994?" To answer that, I'd say look at the Western/US response in Darfur, to the piracy off the coast of Somalia, to the list of crises in central Africa, etc. With those in mind, I'd have to conclude the answer is "No."
    John Wolfsberger, Jr.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Interventions post-Rwanda 1994

    MattC,

    I am sure there have been some, but too late tonight to Google to get confirmation. So how about the UK in Sierra Leone in 1999 (partly to rescue a UN expedition), Australia & allies in East Timor in 1999, the French in 2002 then others in the Ivory Coast and mmmm.

    On my limited knowledge each has threatened to be "hot" and each has used a level of that lovely military term 'force projection'.

    Incidentally do read Tom Odom's book, I recommend it; grim in places.

    davidbfpo
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-23-2009 at 11:52 AM. Reason: Add dates for the interventions

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MattC86 View Post
    But I did read Dallaire's.

    Would western militaries be anymore willing or able to take on such a task today than they were in 1994?

    Matt
    Matt,

    There are of course an infinite number of answers to that question; all are in fact irrelevant because the militaries do the mission the politicians hand them. We get to shape that process and we may influence the mission design. But ultimately they make the critical decision.

    The driving issue in the Clinton Adminstration was the idea that all things African in April 1994 were the same as all things in Somalia in October 1993. The Nat Security Directive that came out of the Somalia episode stated the US would not commit forces in areas that did not concern our national interests. Chief advocate for that position was Richard Clark and he was the one who pushed the do nothing, don't say genocide, and push for a full UN withdrawal. I am not a fan of Madelaine Albright but in the case of Rwanda she was the person who as US Ambassador to the UN stood up and refused to push the UNAMIR withdrawal any further.

    My issue with General Dallaire has always been that he did not understand how a UN peacekeepibng mission was at its very core a political animal, not a unified military force that he could actually command to do the things he wanted to do. I do not think the Belgian government would have allowed a preemptive operation as Dallaire proposed and as the UN Peacekeeping Office refused.

    That said, a single brigade combat team with a mission to use force to stop the slaughter could have halted the genocide in its tracks in April 1994 on into May. Afterwards I am not so sure as the war was fully raging by then and the genocide much more widespread. Our own JTF came in Opn Support Hope with a clear get in and get out mandate; the chain of command wanted no mission creep and the opening Disney-like plans to get all the refugees back into Rwanda soon met reality.

    For the next 18 months I watched and warned that a new, worse war was in the cards unless someone moved to checkmate what was happening in the camps. My fears and predictions came true a few months after I left.

    Are we better today? Yes. No. Maybe.

    Yes we are better at interagency, combined irregular warfare.

    No because we still have a fundamental imbalance between our departments in the application of power, soft or hard, kinetic or non-kinetic, military, economic, or diplomatic.

    Maybe because it all goes back to that fundamental: the decision to act comes from the politician, so whether we act or how we act is fundamentally changed every time we go through the decision process. Look at us right now in regards to Afghanistan.

    In the end, I hope fervently that when we face another Rwanda we are allowed to act.

    Tom

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    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    My issue with General Dallaire has always been that he did not understand how a UN peacekeepibng mission was at its very core a political animal, not a unified military force that he could actually command to do the things he wanted to do.
    Tom,

    You were on the ground, so I'll defer to your evaluation. However, I had the impression Dallaire thought he'd been sent on a political mission, realized that a military mission was needed, and tried to get the mandate changed and resourced. Did I misunderstand?
    John Wolfsberger, Jr.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger View Post
    Tom,

    You were on the ground, so I'll defer to your evaluation. However, I had the impression Dallaire thought he'd been sent on a political mission, realized that a military mission was needed, and tried to get the mandate changed and resourced. Did I misunderstand?
    Somewhat but keep in mind I was in Zaire while he was hip deep in Rwanda. I draw my conclusions from his writings--especially his book.

    He was from the very beginnig selected to command a UN peackeeping force. He and his cohorts helped craft what they thought they needed only to have the UN cut it to the bone. The initial misread was therefore at the UN in seeing UNAMIR as a low risk, purely political mission, even though the mandate included inherently risk laden military tasks.

    Dallaire as the good soldier does took what he got and tried to make it work. And he had to fight all along to get the resources he needed. He believed that his request to preempt the genocide through targeted raids was within his mandate. Nonetheless he sought permission to do so and was denied. My ambassador later told me that he told Dallaire that in his opinion Dallaire had all the authority he needed without asking permission from the UN.

    My issue is simply that even with UN permission it is nearly impossible to take a UN force on an offensive against elements of the host nation and hold that force together. Advocating and even getting a stronger mandate does not change the politics involved in conducting UN operations. Dallaire and his deputy Anyidoho essentially ignored UN orders to draw down even further than they did. Anyidoho ignored the orders of his own government as well. He was very much a hero and was largely ignored.

    Does that clarify it?

    Tom

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    Council Member MattC86's Avatar
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    Tom/J,

    I understand, obviously, the mission does not begin with the military and, as they say "theirs not to reason why," etc., but you don't think military unwillingness plays a role in a politicians' willingness to commit? It's like Scheuer's quote that Clinton would ask for ideas for using Special Ops in Afghanistan, and an unwilling Hugh Shelton would provide "plans that looked like the Invasion of Normandy."

    I think a military's unwillingness to do something is very much a part of this question - not just the political will of civilian leadership. Bill had no stomach for Rwanda after Somalia, but I'm sure you know better than I just what the Army thought about sending, say, that single brigade to Kigali.

    I feel like media campaigns, outpouring of sympathy/support, etc, can get an administration moving on something it doesn't necessarily want to do. But Dallaire seems to be rightly concerned about creating a military structure and culture that embraces this sort of mission and doesn't pose a massive obstacle to successfully taking it on.

    Perhaps I'm way off base and out of line with that, but I feel like that's where he gets near fanciful.

    Matt
    "Give a good leader very little and he will succeed. Give a mediocrity a great deal and he will fail." - General George C. Marshall

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Matt

    You said:

    I understand, obviously, the mission does not begin with the military and, as they say "theirs not to reason why," etc., but you don't think military unwillingness plays a role in a politicians' willingness to commit? It's like Scheuer's quote that Clinton would ask for ideas for using Special Ops in Afghanistan, and an unwilling Hugh Shelton would provide "plans that looked like the Invasion of Normandy."
    I said:

    all are in fact irrelevant because the militaries do the mission the politicians hand them. We get to shape that process and we may influence the mission design. But ultimately they make the critical decision.
    I would say we are in agreement. It is an iterative process up until the point the politician gets to decide. Even then the ways and means decisions that flow from a decision to act continue that iterative process.

    As for Dallaire's force, it is fanciful and I don't think it will happen. I love the Canadians for their efforts in sustaining peacekeeping under the UN banner. I just don't see the UN model as an effective combat force necessary in an enforcement mode.

    Best
    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    As for Dallaire's force, it is fanciful and I don't think it will happen. I love the Canadians for their efforts in sustaining peacekeeping under the UN banner.
    Slightly off-topic, but you may need to frame that in the past tense.

    Between past NATO peacekeeping in the Balkans, followed by the huge demands of the Afghan deployment on the relatively small Canadian military, we've had a sharply declining presence in UN missions. As of August, we had some 177 Canadian forces on deployment to UN PKOs, placing us 56th among troop contributing countries (somewhat behind Mongolia at 49th).

    It remains to be seen whether, post-2011 termination of our Afghan combat deployments, we'll reemphasize UN missions or not. Much may depend on the party in power, with the current Conservatives noticeably cooler to the idea than the Liberals.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


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    Default The will to intervene

    The background to Dalliare's comment is that he is the co-director of a Canadian think tank, which has recently released 'Mobilizing the Will to Intervene': http://migs.concordia.ca/W2I/documen...2IAugust09.pdf

    It is a long paper (160 pgs) so not read beyond the summary.

    KOW have a rather sharp riposte: http://kingsofwar.wordpress.com/2009...anadian-style/

    There you go MattC86 - a little reading inside the Beltway.

    davidbfpo

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