Spring/Summer 2006

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Letter from the Editor

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Events Are in the Saddle, Riding our Nations

Paraphrasing American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, who warned that “things are in the saddle, and ride mankind,” events seem to be driving history faster than the leaders trying to manage it. Lately, the EU and the United States have seen many well-laid plans go astray – at least plans that seemed well-laid, until they backfired. The turn of events has instilled apprehensions that policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic are losing control over the forces unleashed around the globe.

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Contemporary Peacekeeping Is State-Building: The UN Embraces “Robust Peacekeeping,” Including Use of Force

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Jean-Marie GuéhennoA Conversation with Jean-Marie Guéhenno

Jean-Marie Guéhenno, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, likes to stress that his work includes a growing share of “peace operations” that go far beyond traditional “peacekeeping.” Nowadays, UN peacekeeping no longer means just patrolling ceasefire lines but frequently involves using military force and starting the work of nation-building to restore countries devastated by internal conflicts. This shift brings new functions (and new complexities) to contemporary peacekeeping, which has become an increasingly powerful tool of global security.

 

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Humanitarian NGOs Must Not Ally With Military

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At a roundtable with NATO policymakers, I was asked whether during crises in which both military forces and humanitarian organizations are present, there is a way to coordinate their efforts without compromising the primary security function of the former or the independence of the latter.

From the perspective of Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and other humanitarian NGOs, I think the short answer is: No, you cannot do this. Furthermore, you should not try to, particularly in conflict situations. There is a fundamental incompatibility between waging a war (using military or other means, including distribution of relief supplies) and conducting humanitarian action.

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Peacekeeping in Afghanistan Is Modern Crisis Management

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Dutch Parliamentary Debate on Troops for Afghanistan

After an intense debate in February, the Dutch government gained parliamentary approval for sending 1,400 additional troops to Afghanistan to help extend NATO peacekeeping into the southern provinces. This is part of a wider international effort, that includes big commitments by Britain and Canada, to expand the work of the UNmandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which is expected to double in size this year to about 17,000 troops. ISAF may face combat with Taliban units that have been operating more aggressively in southern Afghanistan from their sanctuaries in Pakistan’s mountainous border zone.

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The Peace Corps Remains Relevant and Independent

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Gaddi H. VasquezWhen President John F. Kennedy called for the Peace Corps during the presidential election in 1960 and then founded it in 1961, there were many who thought it would be a disaster, a public diplomacy nightmare. But 45 years later, over 182,000 Americans have served in 138 countries around the world and have built one of the most powerful American legacies that this nation has ever witnessed. Today we continue to be the largest organization of its kind in the world because Americans still embrace that vision to promote peace, friendship and understanding.

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