For U.N. Peacekeeping at 70, Decline or a New Lease on Life?

U.N. peacekeepers stand near people queuing to enter a mosque during the visit of Pope Francis, Bangui, Central African Republic, Nov. 30, 2015 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).
U.N. peacekeepers stand near people queuing to enter a mosque during the visit of Pope Francis, Bangui, Central African Republic, Nov. 30, 2015 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

Birthday parties can be moments for both celebration and introspection. While it may be fun to mark life’s milestones, they can inspire soul-searching about the meaning of aging. There were understandably mixed feelings at the United Nations last week, as the organization marked peacekeeping’s 70th birthday. The Security Council sent military observers to the Middle East in 1948 to supervise the end of the first Arab-Israeli war. Pedants can debate whether this represented the birth of peacekeeping—the interwar League of Nations had deployed multinational forces—but it was the first of over 70 U.N. missions that have become the organization’s trademark. […]

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