Enforcing the Peace

Enforcing the Peace: Learning from the Imperial Past

Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Enforcing the Peace
    Book Description:

    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.

    Drawing lessons from this provocative comparison, Kimberly Zisk Marten argues that the West's attempts to remake foreign societies in their own image -- even with the best of intentions -- invariably fail. Focusing on operations in Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and East Timor in the mid- to late 1990s, while touching on both post-war Afghanistan and the occupation of Iraq, Enforcing the Peace compares these cases to the colonial activities of Great Britain, France, and the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. The book weaves together examples from these cases, using interviews Marten conducted with military officers and other peacekeeping officials at the UN, NATO, and elsewhere. Rather than trying to control political developments abroad, Marten proposes, a more sensible goal of foreign intervention is to restore basic security to unstable regions threatened by anarchy. The colonial experience shows that military organizations police effectively if political leaders prioritize the task, and the time has come to raise the importance of peacekeeping on the international agenda.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50921-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. 1-20)

    In the weeks and months following September 11, 2001, the citizens of New York City found themselves surrounded by United States military personnel as they went about their daily lives. Soldiers guarded every bridge and tunnel leading into the city. As police pulled over cars and trucks on the George Washington Bridge for routine inspections, military teams took part. Uniformed National Guard troops stood at every airport security gate in the metropolitan area, and pairs of soldiers carrying automatic rifles walked through the passenger waiting area at Newark Airport during the holiday season that December. Throughout lower Manhattan, military personnel...

    (pp. 21-58)

    The American platoon, wearing Kevlar helmets and bulky flak jackets over their camouflage gear, left their humvees and moved out on a foot patrol. These patrols happened several times a day in Vitina, now a relatively peaceful town in the American-led military peacekeeping sector of Kosovo. Soldiers armed with large automatic weapons walked at the edges of the main patrol, scanning the surroundings for trouble.

    Today was Wednesday, market day. Hundreds of townspeople milled around the soldiers, seemingly without fear. Most of the people were on foot, but some drove trucks or tractors. One tractor pulled an open trailer, on...

    (pp. 59-92)

    A country torn apart by war, and ruled by an oppressive regime for many years, is now beginning political reform under foreign supervision. The ultimate goal is for the country to be a self-sufficient and independent democracy. Meanwhile, foreign administrators are helping locals to set up the basic building blocks of a parliamentary and judicial rule-of-law system. The country’s social institutions, ranging from primary education to health care, are all being overhauled, so that they can be brought closer to developed world standards.

    This foreign effort is supported by a large deployment of military personnel. In part the soldiers are...

    (pp. 93-118)

    Throughout the summer of 2002, fighting between rival warlords continued as it had for almost thirty years. The private armies of the warlords sometimes numbered in the tens of thousands, and huge caches of arms were found throughout the countryside. In an effort to stop these clashes, the United States began to train a new national army, hoping that it would be able to reestablish the peace. But the largely illiterate soldiers of this new army were not well paid and had a tendency to desert their posts. The warlords refused to let their best men join the national force,...

    (pp. 119-144)

    “I know this is a frustrating time for you and that the high crime rate makes everything worse,” said L. Paul Bremer III, Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, in his weekly radio address on Aug. 3,2003.“We understand the desire of you, the Iraqi people, to end your fear of both political oppression and the depredations of common criminals. We are going to remove that fear from your lives.” ¹ But it remained unclear how these brave words would be translated into practice.

    Some 139,000 U.S. troops remained on the ground, three months after President George W. Bush...

    (pp. 145-166)

    In recent years a new trend has emerged in world affairs. The United States, usually with the support of a few selected allies, has gone to war far from its borders for the explicit purpose of replacing existing political regimes with ones more congenial to U.S. interests and values. Whether the stated goals were humanitarian, as in Kosovo, or designed to protect Americans from the threat of terrorism, as in Afghanistan and (according to President George W. Bush) Iraq, these military interventions have gone forward without United Nations Security Council authorization.

    Yet despite deep-seated official U.S. skepticism about UN capabilities...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 167-192)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 193-204)