go to top

Diplomatic Fallout: U.N. Grasps for Diplomatic Openings in Syria, CAR

Monday, Oct. 14, 2013

If you had to make a reckoning of the United Nations’ failures in recent years, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Syria would both rank high on the list. The U.N.’s setbacks over Syria have been extensively chronicled. The trouble in CAR is less well-known, but equally depressing. In March this year, U.N. political officers in the persistently unstable country were caught off-guard as rebels advanced on its capital, Bangui. Their reports to New York were delayed and got no serious response—U.N. personnel were evacuated just in time, as the rebels triumphed and launched a reign of chaos that still continues.

The two cases pose different but significant threats to the U.N.’s credibility. Syria is a first-order crisis that has damaged the organization’s status. By contrast, CAR’s agonies have few geopolitical implications, as even diplomats who worry about the country admit. Its suffering is instead treated as a disturbing adjunct to the higher-profile humanitarian crises in neighboring South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. But if the U.N. can’t get a grip on the situation in CAR, its reputation will suffer. The country is just the sort of second-order trouble-spot that the Security Council and U.N. officials are meant to prevent from escalating into greater calamities. ...

Want to Read the Rest?
Login or Subscribe Today.
Get unlimited access to must-read news, analysis and opinion from top experts. Subscribe to World Politics Review and you'll receive instant access to 9,000+ articles in the World Politics Review Library, along with new comprehensive analysis every weekday . . . written by leading topic experts.

YES, I want to subscribe now.