U.N.’s Preventive Diplomacy Deserves More Than Just Lip Service

U.N.’s Preventive Diplomacy Deserves More Than Just Lip Service

This Thursday, the United Nations Security Council will hold a special session on preventive diplomacy -- the art of averting imminent wars, coups and massacres. The event will be attended by heads of state and foreign ministers, currently gathering in New York for the annual opening of the General Assembly. Their minds will almost certainly be elsewhere, as the Palestinian drive for recognition as a state is completely dominating U.N. diplomacy.

So the Security Council session is unlikely to generate anything more than well-aged truisms: Prevention is better than reaction; diplomacy is better than force, and so on.

Nevertheless, even if Thursday's debate turns out to be turgid, the subject matter is worth taking seriously. Over the past year, the major powers that sit in the Security Council have been caught off-guard by a series of conflicts that they theoretically had the leverage to prevent. These range from the outbreak of ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan in mid-2010 to December's post-electoral violence in Côte d'Ivoire to government-directed atrocities in Libya and Syria, the latter still ongoing.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.