For U.N. Peacekeeping, Smaller Is Looking Better—Again

An Italian U.N. peacekeeping soldier looks through binoculars on a road that leads to a U.N. post along the Lebanese-Israeli border, in Naqoura, Lebanon, May 4, 2021 (AP photo by Hussein Malla).
An Italian U.N. peacekeeping soldier looks through binoculars on a road that leads to a U.N. post along the Lebanese-Israeli border, in Naqoura, Lebanon, May 4, 2021 (AP photo by Hussein Malla).
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Can we predict the future of United Nations peacekeeping by looking back at its Cold War origins? Over the past two decades, the U.N. has prioritized large, complex blue helmet operations in countries like Mali and South Sudan. But these missions seem to be in slow decline. The Security Council last mandated a big blue helmet force in 2014, in the Central African Republic. The U.N.’s largest operation, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is very gradually winding down after more than two decades. In parallel, some experts on peacekeeping are taking a fresh interest in the organization’s longstanding missions […]

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