GEOPOLITICS

Kofi Annan’s Path to Humanitarian Intervention

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who died on Aug. 18, in Switzerland, was deeply committed to peace and the UN Charter, as well as human rights and humanitarian action. He led a debate about harmonizing these principles and rebalancing the sovereignty of countries with the rights of people within them. During his 10 years as secretary-general, which … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The UN’s Emphasis on Prevention Could Use Lessons From the Case of Guinea

Historically neglected, gender-based violence is now becoming broadly recognized as a legitimate and urgent agenda item among the United Nations member nations, notably in the UN’s most powerful forum, the Security Council. But the future of the agenda is uncertain, as priorities remain unclear and inadequate methods for preventing sexual violence against women keep us … Read more

BOOKS

The Rules of War Need a Major Overhaul

Donetsk People's Republic fighters in Ukraine

Evidence is piling up: the global security framework that emerged from the ashes of World War II is no longer capable of pursuing international peace. The arrangement, conceived by the major powers that won the war, has expanded into a grab bag of rules and institutions that the crises of our own era have gradually … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Next Best in 2016? The UN Secretary-General Must Be a Reformer

GENEVA — For only the second time — the first was in 1996 — the electoral campaigns for the American president and the United Nations secretary-general are running in parallel. Both promise to be long and protracted. Each already has a growing slate of presumptive candidates pounding flesh and employing lobbyists. But the next two … Read more

 

WORLDVIEWS

The Business and Politics of Good Samaritans

Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan

“Humanitarian” and “business” are juxtaposed in the title of my new book, “Humanitarian Business,” for two reasons: provocation and accuracy. It jars those who idealize the humanitarian enterprise because the adjective has uncontested positive connotations while the noun is associated with wheeling and dealing and thus at odds with the self-image of true believers. The … Read more

Deep Flaws in UN Response to Sri Lanka Include R2P Failure

Tamil Tiger cadres loading up in Sri Lanka

The United Nation’s internal report on its role during the final stages of the prolonged civil war in Sri Lanka was unusually critical of the Secretariat and highlighted major shortcomings in the UN’s response to the fighting. The report, which was leaked to the BBC days before its official release on Nov. 15, forced top … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Protecting Civilians: How It Works

A girl in Freetown, Sierra Leone

CANBERRA, Australia — A steady rise has been occurring in the last two centuries in the proportion of civilians killed in armed conflict, either from direct violence or conflict-related hunger and disease. The international community has responded to the calls to protect innocent victims by developing two parallel principles, the protection of civilians and the … Read more

BOOKS

Kofi Annan: Lessons in Futility

Kofi Annan

  Kofi Annan‘s existential crisis during his decade as United Nations secretary-general was without question related to the US-led invasion of Iraq. But the most fascinating part of his new memoir, “Interventions: A Life in War and Peace,” is the account of his numerous attempts to nudge the world toward a Middle East peace deal. … Read more

 

WORLDVIEWS

What the General Assembly Wants From the Secretary-General

General Assembly president and Ban Ki-moon

BERLIN — When the United Nations has been fortunate to have a secretary-general who has great charisma and skills in settling conflicts, the world tends to consider him a figure with his own political status and powers. People like this idea because in difficult times they want to have an authoritative mediator, a moral guide. … Read more

GOINGS-ON

Edward Luck, Responsibility to Protect Expert, Returns to Academia

Edward Luck

Edward Luck, who has been the special adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the responsibility to protect doctrine within the prevention of genocide office since 2008, will become the dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego, a private Roman Catholic school, on Aug. … Read more

The Responsibility to Protect Gets a Checkup

When the carnage of the 1990s wound down, with more than a million people dead in massacres and brutal ethnic or political wars in and around Rwanda, the Balkans and elsewhere, nations that had failed to act to stop such tragedies began seeking ways to prevent future catastrophes. From this terrible decade, the long-postponed creation … Read more

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