Did the U.N. Security Council squander a chance to strengthen peacekeeping in December? 2018 was meant to be a big year for intergovernmental talks on how to improve U.N. operations. Yet Russia and the U.S. joined forces to torpedo a council resolution on potential reforms as the year ended. Why?
Technical issues like reforming peace operations might already appear less pressing, given the council’s torrid start in 2019. Its permanent members are split over how to respond to the escalating crisis in Venezuela. Headaches from Iran to North Korea are likely to dominate the agenda this year.
Nonetheless, a new report from Security Council Report, an independent think tank, raises uncomfortable questions about the council’s oversight of blue-helmet missions. The story of this otherwise overlooked diplomatic spat offers interesting lessons about the state of politics at the U.N., and perhaps the U.N.’s relevance to international security more generally.