The Lessons From the Ghosts of Peacekeeping Missions That Never Were

The Lessons From the Ghosts of Peacekeeping Missions That Never Were
United Nations peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix is welcomed by U.N peacekeepers upon his arrival in eastern Congo, Dec. 19, 2017 (AP photo by Al-Hadji Kudra Maliro).

Editor’s note: This is a special Wednesday edition of Diplomatic Fallout. Judah Grunstein will return with Balance of Power next week.

There is a long history of bold ideas for peacekeeping missions that never quite took off.

In 1936, British officials considered deploying 10,000 peacekeepers to the Rhineland as a buffer force between France and an increasingly aggressive Nazi Germany. In 1969, the Irish foreign minister called for a United Nations force to counter mounting sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland. London said no. In January 2009, in one of its very last foreign policy initiatives, the outgoing George W. Bush administration pushed for a blue helmet force to stabilize Somalia, to counter rising Islamist forces. The U.N. secretariat resisted, and the incoming Obama administration nixed the idea. African troops went into battle instead.

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