The Morality of Peacekeeping

The Morality of Peacekeeping

Daniel H. Levine
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 376
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  • Book Info
    The Morality of Peacekeeping
    Book Description:

    Peacekeeping, peace enforcement and ‘stability operations’ ask soldiers to use violence to create peace, defeat armed threats while having no enemies and uphold human rights without taking sides. The challenges that face peacekeepers cannot be easily reduced to traditional just war principles. Built on insights from care ethics, case studies including Darfur, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti and Liberia and scores of interviews with peacekeepers, trainers and planners in the field in Africa, India and more, Daniel H. Levine sheds light on the challenges of peacekeeping. And he asserts that the traditional ‘holy trinity’ of peacekeeping principles – consent, impartiality, and minimum use of force – still provide the best moral guide for peacekeepers.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-7590-6
    Subjects: Philosophy, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-xiv)
  4. Part I General Considerations
    • Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION
      (pp. 3-19)

      At least since the 1990s, the question of whether and how to use military force to end violence and protect human rights has been a common topic of policy, legal, and philosophical analysis. Whether under the term “humanitarian intervention” or the newer responsibility to protect (R2P) concept, a phenomenal amount of ink has been spilled on the question of whether military intervention to protect human rights could be justified under the principles ofjus ad bellum; particularly whether the defense of human rights could ever constitute a “just cause” for war. But within that literature, relatively little attention has been...

      (pp. 20-70)

      In the introduction, I argued that the defining feature of peacekeeping is that it is a kind of military operation in which force is used only tactically, not strategically. That may seem like a subtle distinction between peacekeeping on the one hand, and other operations from peace enforcement through counterinsurgency to warfighting on the other. But its implications are far-reaching. The idea that peacekeepers have no enemies is both the central problematic and the first principle of the rest of this book.

      Over the course of this chapter and Part II, I will lay out a broad framework for thinking...

  5. Part II The Holy Trinity
    • Chapter 3 CONSENT
      (pp. 73-101)

      The first of the “holy trinity” principles to consider is consent. Roughly speaking, respect for consent means that the PKO should not operate in an area where the political community does not accept its presence. This is tied to the idea that peacekeepers have no enemies; the PKO is intended as a way of assisting a political community (or two or more that have been in conflict) in getting back on its feet after being riven by violence and conflict, not as a way of forcing change on or destroying a community. Even “robust” action taken against sub-state spoiler groups...

    • Chapter 4 IMPARTIALITY
      (pp. 102-131)

      The concept of impartiality may in some ways be the most changed of the “holy trinity” principles. Consent is rendered compatible with peacekeepers taking action against the will of parties to the conflict only if we can find some explanation of how that action represents fidelity to some higher concept – in the previous chapter’s terms, some common valuation – and not merely the peacekeepers becoming a party themselves. And impartiality is deeply tied to issues of use of force for similar reasons; if peacekeepers have no enemies, a concept of impartiality is needed to explain why force is being used against...

      (pp. 132-192)

      The use of force by peacekeepers is one of the most fraught topics, both practically and morally, in the analysis of peacekeeping. Practically, the capacity for military force is one of the sharpest gaps in capacity peacekeepers experience. In one group interview, a Ghanaian officer lamented that, when it came to physical protection, there was often nothing he and his fellow peacekeepers could do besides “be affected” and appeal to the conscience of the armed factions (in Lebanon, in this case), because they were physically overmatched by the other actors in the theater.¹

      Morally, the use of force is tied...

      (pp. 193-212)

      Ultimately, despite my argument that some form of the “minimum use of force” standard should be retained/reclaimed, peacekeepers will face situations in which they are called on to use force. One reaction to this is to dismiss it as an oxymoron, which amounts to simply dismissing the peacekeeping project. Another is to see peacekeeping as a limited form of war, distinguished from other forms of warfare by its object rather than by its nature.

      Obviously, this book will not take the first approach. But, on the latter view, it is easy to ignore the practical and moral downsides inherent in...

  6. Part III Protecting Civilians
      (pp. 215-257)

      This chapter begins the book’s discussion of Protection of Civilians (PoC), the use of military force to deter and/or halt violence and human rights abuses against civilians.¹ While PoC has always been a concern for PKOs, it has taken center stage in many discussions of peacekeeping in recent years, and has shown itself to be one of the most difficult challenges peacekeepers face – when people speak of peacekeeping failures, they are often speaking of failures to protect civilians. As a result, PoC merits specific discussion, alongside earlier chapters’ more general discussions of the moral framework for peacekeeping.

      This chapter will...

      (pp. 258-286)

      MONUC’s support to the FARDC military operations against the FDLR throughout 2009 – operation “Kimia II” – is an interesting case for thinking about protection of civilians. On paper, Kimia II may have looked like a prime example of what advocates for more robust protection have called for. The FDLR were (and are) involved in serious human rights abuses in the DRC, and their core leadership is made up of former members of the Rwandan regime that perpetrated the 1994 genocide there – a very attractive target for aggressive peacekeeping operations. In addition, a partnership between the UN and local forces, with locals...

      (pp. 287-322)

      A PKO arriving in the field will not find organized armed factions set against an undifferentiated mass of civilians. Even at the “grassroots” level, the mission’s focus will most often be on grassrootsleaders(see the discussion in Lederach 1997: 42– 3). Peacekeepers will find themselves having to take into account not just what civilians are doing, but particular, active civilian groups. Peacekeepers may find “traditional” organizations like hierarchical community structures – it is no easier to talk to “the community” than it is to talk to “civilians” – as well as informal social groups, religious organizations, western-style NGOs, and state structures...

    • Chapter 10 CONCLUSION
      (pp. 323-326)

      The complex nature of peacekeeping means that even a book-length discussion like this one will end up leaving things out. There are certainly peacekeeping missions that could have been discussed, which raise unique issues. And there is much more to be said about the PKOs, like AMIS, MONUC, and UNOSOM, that I have spent time talking about here. There are entire issues that arise in the context of PKOs that I have not been able to delve into in any detail – intelligence, DDRRR, Security Sector Reform (SSR), child protection, the focus on “winning hearts and minds” imported to peacekeeping from...

  7. Part IV Appendices
    (pp. 336-357)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 358-362)