Since the Russian Federation sent tanks, troops, and planes slicing into Georgia, commentators have reached for a variety of historic parallels. 1968 and the Soviet Union snuffs out Prague Spring. 1939 and the Nazis thrust into Poland. 1938 and the Czechoslovaks are sacrificed to the unwillingness of democracies to confront evil. None of these supposed parallels catches the current situation. A better – but still imperfect – parallel is 1914, when an assassination in a remote corner of the world set larger and destructive events in motion. The trigger-event with outsize results this time was Georgia’s attempt with military force to reoccupy South Ossetia.
A 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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