Past failures undermine the credibility of U.N. peacekeeping missions in Africa and demonstrate the struggles experienced by the blue-helmets are caused by both the context in which they operate and a long process of transition towards new forms of peacekeeping that contradict their core principles.
It is questionable whether the UN can really afford to shift political responsibility to local actors while renouncing to vigorous political initiatives as a mediator. To leverage its global legitimacy, the UN will need to take into account the inherently partiality of military tools and to work around its implications, insisting that politics need to come first.
The global women, peace, and security agenda exists to promote and fulfil the human rights of women and achieve gender equality, as part of efforts to build more peaceful and stable societies. The link between equality and improvements for women in the defence and security sector is clear and well researched. For many U.N. member states, national action plans provide the strategic framework to address gaps and deficiencies in the meaningful representation of women in national institutions and in peacekeeping. Given that conflict most often arises in countries with high levels of gender-based discrimination, a culture of valuing the contribution of women is an essential element of suitable peace and security efforts.
There are several bilateral and multilateral agreements among nations to support inter-intra agency coordination and cooperation. There are also global security institutions such as United Nations Counter Terrorism Centre and its sister agencies such as United Nations Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force. However, many of these agencies continue to operate independently. This is apparent in the case of the United Nations Security Council designated Counter Terrorism Directorate and the United Nations Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate that have few operational partners within the European Union and yet to begin meaningful interactions with NATO.
The question that must be faced is this: Can the EU manage its vast resources to maximise its information sharing with partner agencies and tighten its grip around radical Islamic factions returning to Europe? To answer this question and provide an appropriate response to various other underlying questions, we must better understand foreign fighter factions, their agenda, and their operational mechanism.
The trinity is a useful tool to conceptualize the chaos of war and has been described as the tension between three fundamental elements of war: the government, the people, and the army. The legal discipline, whether intentionally or not, reflects this trinity in the development of the modern day law of war. Contemporary law of war reveals a sort of legal trinity in which legal documents seek to regulate each point of Clausewitz’s paradoxical trinity. In the legal trinity, the Charter of the United Nations holds the position of the government, the Geneva Conventions represents the people, and the Rules of Engagement cover the military.
In late 1993, a reinforced Swedish-Danish-Norwegian mechanized battalion (Nordbat 2) deployed to Bosnia as part of an ongoing UN peacekeeping mission. The battalion was under Swedish command, and with the exception of a Danish tank company and a Norwegian helicopter detachment, was comprised of Swedish former conscripts, led by active-duty officers. The former conscripts had volunteered to return from civilian life to serve in a professional capacity. These Swedish troops, coming from a nation that had not experienced war for almost 200 years, faced a rigid UN bureaucracy, an unclear mandate, and the UN-imposed rules of engagement bordered on the absurd. However, the Swedes had one thing the others didn't: a culture of mission command that had grown and developed for decades.
Historians, novelists, journalists, and filmmakers continue to examine the legacy of the Holocaust to draw lessons for the present generation. In the same way, it is important that we continue to examine the implications of the 1994 Rwandan genocide in order to draw out its lessons for the international system going forward. Let us hope that David Kilgour (ex-Secretary of State for Africa) is wrong when he states, ‘What we seem to have learned about Rwanda is that we have learned nothing about Rwanda’.
In late 2016 the United Nations Special Adviser for the prevention of genocide warned the international community that potential existed for ethnically fueled violence being perpetrated in South Sudan ‘to spiral into genocide’. In parallel, the #Neveragain social media campaign sought to link a perceived lack of international empathy for the plight of refugees, and increasingly restrictive border controls, with post-Second World War international commitments to never again allow genocide to occur. Indeed, even here at The Strategy Bridge there has been increased interest in seeking to understand the political calculus of mass murder and how it might explain the actions of the Islamic State. Yet for all this discussion, it appears that interested observers are actually no closer to understanding how to recognise if and why genocide is, or is not, occurring. This confusion stems from the fact that the actual recognition of genocide is inherently difficult. It is this difficulty that will be examined here, through the prism of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
In the Kantian framework, different kinds of agents pursue democracy at three levels: the individuals within a nation, the states in their relationships with one another and also with their citizens, and humankind. In this post we shall look at how individuals within a nation should behave if they want to truly abide by democratic principles. Should they rebel and when? Should they support war, and which type of war if any?