Peacekeeping Book Review

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Providing Peacekeepers: The Politics, Challenges and Future of United Nations Peacekeeping Contributions edited by Alex J. Bellamy and Paul D. Williams, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. pp.447

Peacekeeping is one of the most unsettled notions in international relations and has a direct bearing on the functionalities of the law of international organizations. Its nature has evolved dramatically from being just a peace building mechanism to dealing with other ancillary issues. It now implies establishing setups for administrative purposes, human rights monitoring, humanitarian aid, demining etc. What makes peacekeeping all the more interesting is that it is not just United Nations (UN) which is responsible for undertaking
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Smith in his chapter on the United States of America (US) brings out the paradox of US involvement with peacekeeping. With an air of American exceptionalism Smith brings forth varied conduct of US with essential role of funding, capacity-building and training initiatives on one hand and reluctance to contribute its own troops on the other. In his analysis this role of US will continue in times to come given the culture and politics of American ambivalence coupled with institutional roadblocks. Paul Williams writes about United Kingdom (UK) and assesses its metamorphosis from top contributor in mid 1995 to an entity more interested in wielding strategic influence as a member of Security Council and thereby aligning more with non-UN frameworks like NATO than the UN itself. According to Paul, UK has developed a degree of skepticism about the effectiveness of UN multidimensional peacekeeping, especially related to questions concerning force structure, command and control, rules of engagement and national caveats. Out of the discussion in Paul’s work, a picture so emerges that UK is in a mode of catching up with the influence exercised by US by striding on the same trail that US has left behind. As for China, Gill and Huang elucidate that how the country has altered its approach from initial skepticism to multidimensional participation in peacekeeping. Citing various normative and practical factors behind these alterations the authors posit that such participation…show more content…
However, as the first entry in its genre it would have been perfect on the part of editors if they would have trimmed the number of individual nations’ analysis and roped in some entries on the ‘ought to be’ imagination of peacekeeping contributions. Although, in the concluding chapter editors do suggest some future strategies for UN but they make the proposition in a formalistic way wherein ethical adaptations are lacking. For instance, in the chapter by Donald Daniel, one of the pools of the three identified pools is OWAC (Overlapping Western Agendas Cluster) which is directly related to the short mentioning of internalization of UN and Non–UN partnerships later in the concluding part of the book. A comment on the lines that UN Peacekeeping should essentially have a singular agenda of bringing peace and security rather than catering to political agendas of some block could have been an important input given the fact that the book by its title itself purports to deal with the ‘politics’ and ‘challenges’ of peace providing. Also, suggestions like pre-deployment orientation of the troops and a model contract for fixing the state responsibility in case of wrong committed during peacekeeping operations by the troops of the lead nations, if included, could have formed a

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