In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s Editor-in-Chief Judah Grunstein and host Peter Dörrie discuss the major trends that shaped 2015, a year marked by the re-emergence of borders and national approaches to transnational problems. Listen: Download: MP3Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Trend Lines is produced, edited and hosted by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focussing on security and resource politics in Africa. He can be followed on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.
International conflict management is not necessarily a rewarding occupation for people who have neat and orderly minds. Well-made plans tend to fall apart in fast-moving crises. As I noted in a chapter in a book on the Security Council published earlier this year, the recent history of United Nations peace operations is basically a story of “one damn thing after another.” U.N. forces have repeatedly been caught off-guard by upsurges in violence and entangled in intractable struggles that they can help mitigate but cannot resolve. This is not only true for the blue helmets. In the United States, analysts once […]
The United Nations should be pleased by recent progress in three of its hardest conflict-resolution efforts. It’s not yet time for a victory lap in Yemen, Syria and Libya: All three conflicts continue to rage on the ground, and the prospect of international peacekeepers enforcing a negotiated settlement remains distant at best. But peacekeeping is always the final stage of a lengthy diplomatic process, and some deeper appreciation for the work of the U.N.’s high-level diplomats in defining a process for resolving the three conflicts, among the world’s nastiest, is warranted. In quick succession in the final weeks of the […]
People who write about international politics inevitably make a lot of incorrect predictions. It is sometimes useful to look back and ask why our prognostications were wrong. At the start of this year, I asked, “Where will international stabilization forces intervene in 2015?” My best guesses were Ukraine, Nigeria, Libya and Syria. There has been much talk about deploying peacekeepers to these war zones over the ensuing 12 months, but markedly less action. In retrospect, it seems clear that governments and international organizations have taken a cautious approach to mounting new missions in high-risk environments in 2015. But there are […]
World leaders are convening in Paris this week for COP21, the 2015 U.N. Climate Change Conference, in hopes of reaching an agreement on how to slow global warming. Although momentum toward clean energy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions has increased around the world, a real shift will require more coordination, better-enforced legal frameworks and a renewed focus on innovation. All of the articles linked below are free for nonsubscribers until Dec. 17. What’s at Stake in Paris? In Climate Talks, as in Syria, Half-Measures Must Do for France’s HollandeFrom managing security measures following the Paris attacks of Nov. 13 to […]
Current ambitions to stabilize and reshape fragile states are of very recent origin. Most of the techniques and tactics that are now fashionable were unheard of a decade ago, and virtually none of them predate the end of the Cold War. As author and researcher Graeme Smith has noted, that makes international development and security assistance akin to pre-modern medicine, “when the human body was poorly understood and doctors prescribed bloodletting, or drilled into skulls to treat madness.” Of late, the patients of international intervention have not been doing well. In late 2012, a military coup in Mali made a […]