Editor’s note: Guest columnist Jim Della-Giacoma is filling in for Richard Gowan, who is on leave until early April.
Peace and the United Nations go together; at least that’s what its founders intended. But in the meeting rooms of the organization’s New York headquarters, diplomats often argue over the buzzword vocabulary of compound words and phrases for advancing the U.N.’s peace mandate. They parse whether an operation is a special political mission or a peacekeeping mission. They worry that calling something a “peace operation” is too imprecise. When they cannot agree whether something should be peace building or “sustaining the peace,” they compromise by using both terms.
Maybe it’s time for the semantic arguments to be replaced with a focus on results.