WORLDVIEWS

Unprepared and Unprotected: UN Peacekeepers’ Lives Must Be Saved

The 15 deaths and 43 injuries to United Nations troop personnel in the North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in December would not, sadly, have surprised those of us who have served in peace enforcement missions with the UN. These are difficult and dangerous places, where rebels have many advantages of … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

China’s Notions of UN Reform: Filling the Growing Vacuum Left by the US

China has presented its position on United Nations reform, and it aligns with Secretary-General António Guterres’s own agenda. It pushes for practicalities, such as a transparent process, a stronger peace and security pillar, streamlined internal management and more geographic diversity in hiring practices in peacekeeping and the UN Secretariat. “The world is undergoing major developments, … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Words Ring Hollow From the UN After Attacks on Peacekeepers

The horrific attack on United Nations peacekeepers from Tanzania in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in early December and the ensuing hours-long battle was a severe blow to one of the UN’s more prized forces, leaving 15 soldiers dead. But the UN was already so concerned with a rise in peacekeeper fatalities — almost … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

The Art of Infinite Patience: Searching for Peace in South Sudan

The South Sudan Council of Churches is an umbrella organization for seven Christian denominations — African Inland Church, Catholic, Episcopal, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Evangelical Presbyterian and Sudan Interior Church — working on peace and reconciliation in South Sudan and based in Juba, the capital. The country has been fighting a civil war for exactly four years. … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The UN Secretary-General’s Disappointing Peace-Building Proposal

Since the end of the Cold War, a diverse group of countries at low levels of development emerged from intrastate conflicts and embarked on a complex transition to peace, stability and prosperity. All aspects of such transitions are closely interrelated and reinforce each other. Simultaneous security, political, social and economic activities compete for scarce resources … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

After 50 Years of UN Sanctions, Is the System Broken?

With only few of the current United Nations sanctions cases accomplishing their political objectives, it is not unreasonable to wonder why the system seems broken. As the 50th anniversary of the first use of this important political tool is duly noted, the short answer is that nothing is wrong with sanctions. The problem is with the … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Keeping a Close Eye on the UN’s Use of Unarmed Drones

In 2007, for the first time in history, United Nations forces operated an unmanned aerial vehicle — a small prototype for a short period by the UN mission in Haiti. In 2013, the UN officially launched drones (formally known as unmanned aerial systems, or UAS) for surveillance in a peacekeeping mission. Despite the controversies around … Read more

UNGA72

Trump Blows Up the UN, Metaphorically Speaking

Can a rebuttal happen before an event occurs? United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres took pre-emptive strikes against President Donald Trump in his speech at the opening session of the 72nd General Assembly, on Sept. 19, 2017. Rumors were rampant that Trump would deliver a strongly nationalistic speech, reportedly written by Stephen Miller, author of Trump’s … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

North Korea and the UN: Agony and Ecstasy

If you are reading this, it must mean we have not been annihilated by a nuclear war between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Not that Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, will be able to take much credit — not because she didn’t try but because she … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

UN’s South Sudan Experts Criticized for Weapons Claims Amid Larger Problems

A hard-hitting report published in April 2017 by the United Nations Security Council sanctions panel monitoring South Sudan was potentially marred by weakly sourced allegations about arms sales from Egypt and elsewhere, according to a senior Egyptian diplomat and two former UN sanctions experts. The perceived flaws in the South Sudan panel’s work are “a … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Despite the Terrorist Attack on Our Beloved Malian Resort, We Will Come Back

It always took me ages to hit the road to the Kangaba camp. Leaving downtown Bamako can be tricky, especially if your place is baco fé — on the far bank of the Niger River — as they say in Bambara, the local language. The traffic is a nightmare. On weekends, dozens of old yellow Mercedes … Read more

GOINGS-ON

The UN Formalizes Its Partnership With Sant’Egidio, the Rome-Based Mediator

The United Nations has formalized its relationship with the Community of Sant’Egidio, the highly regarded Catholic membership organization based in Rome that has been focusing on conflict prevention and resolution, primarily in Africa, for 30 years. A community of 60,000 laypeople founded in 1968, Sant’Egidio has been working with the UN on mediation prospects in … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

The Debate on Trump’s Budget Ignores Serious Global Cuts

When the White House sent its proposed 2018 budget to the United States Congress on May 23, it was apparent that not only would a hawkish, nationalistic focus on military expenditures come at the cost of international aid and support for the United Nations. Worse, the Trump plan would also sideline discussions on global issues, … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

What Defines a Fragile State? It Depends

It will come as no surprise to regular consumers of news that in the new Fragile States Index, published on May 15, South Sudan is at the top of the ranks of endangered countries and tranquil Finland is the most stable of all nations. But the grading and analysis of 178 nations compiled by the … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

UN Is Examining Its Security Policies After Murders in Congo

A board of inquiry looking into major gaps or flaws in United Nations security policies that might have contributed to the murders of two UN experts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was set up May 1, according to documents not released to the public yet. The board is to travel to the Congo … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Is Global Cooperation Over? Midwesterners Assess the Trends

We stand on the shoulders of those who created the international order, which has prevented world war for more than 70 years. “American leaders who laid foundations of the contemporary world order envisioned a world in which all peoples might pursue shared peace, prosperity and dignity. They hoped to forge a global community under the … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Rape by Terrorists: A UN Report Documents Sexual Attacks in War

Moving away from strictly categorizing rape and other sexual abuse against women as a weapon of war, a new report from the United Nations addresses the increasing use of rape as a weapon of terrorism. The report also documents how mass migration has led to further sexual violence against women through human trafficking by extremist … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

Nikki Haley’s ‘Historic’ Debate on Human Rights Left a Small Impression

Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, presided over what she was determined to sell as “an historic meeting exclusively on human rights” in the UN Security Council. But her brief speech in the April 18 meeting fell far short of introducing innovations to confront violations of human rights or prevent them … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Demand for Lower Peacekeeping Dues to Pit the US Against the UN

The Trump administration, buoyed by a powerful anti-internationalist movement among conservative Republicans in the United States Congress, is headed for a new confrontation with the United Nations over who decides how much the US should pay for peacekeeping. With a tentative US budget deadline of April 28 fast approaching, it is almost certain that American … Read more

In South Sudan Camps, Radio Is a Powerful Tool

Jess Engrebretson is a different kind of humanitarian-aid worker. As an American journalist and Thomas J. Watson Fellow, she has worked with local radio projects in Indonesia, Rwanda and Liberia on post-conflict resolution and human-rights reporting. From 2014 to 2015, Engrebretson helped develop radio infrastructure in a camp for displaced people near Malakal, South Sudan. … Read more

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