UN sending blue helmets to Congo

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http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/03/28/wrd-un-security-council-congo-intervention-brigade.html

The UN Security Council authorized a new "intervention brigade" for Congo on Thursday with an unprecedented mandate to take military action against rebel groups to help bring peace to the country's conflict-wracked east.

The resolution, which the council adopted unanimously, gives the brigade a mandate to carry out offensive operations alone or with Congolese army troops to neutralize and disarm armed groups.

The intervention brigade is unprecedented in UN peacekeeping because of its offensive mandate.

The resolution however states clearly that it would be established for one year "on an exceptional basis and without creating a precedent" to the principles of UN peacekeeping.

Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, the current council president, told a news conference before the vote that the resolution will reconfigure the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo, "recognizing the necessity of decisively countering the destructive" violence that has left eastern Congo in turmoil since the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

[The resolution] demands that the M23 and other armed groups, including those seeking the "liberation" of Rwanda and Uganda, immediately halt all violence and "permanently disband and lay down their arms." It also strongly condemns their continuing human rights abuses including summary executions, sexual and gender-based violence and large-scale recruitment and use of children.

Emphasis mine; more interesting details in the rest of the article, I recommend you check it out.

Unprecedented. With a clear one-year mission and exit strategy. What do you folks think?

Personally, I'm a bit pro towards such interventions and especially regarding giving the blue helmets some teeth. It's a many years-long clusterfuck of mass-murder in that area. One of the most common criticisms against the UN peace-keeping forces is that they are usually used as observers with no mandate for engangements, only self-defense. That they are basically useless in preventing disasters and genocide because the people in question rarely care about international relations or diplomatic and other sanctions. Putting some actual international enforcers on the ground may be what's needed here. Of course, this is all going on with the approval of the official regional governments, so (at least on paper) there's no UN strong-arming going on here. How true that is behind the curtains is a different question.

That seems like a very good development.

Rwanda and Uganda finally earned some much needed international criticism in the last months. It's especially astounding to see such a hard mandate accepted by both Russia and China suggesting that especially Mr. Kagame seems to have crossed a line with his unrelentless (and of course completely denied) support of the M23 rebel-movement. However, the intervention itself is bound to only be a short-lived patch for the problems in Eastern Congo - a country with a history so dire[1] as that of the Congo is not going to be done away with by virtue of such an intervention: Without Rwanda and Uganda completely withdrawing from it's meddling into it's neighbours affairs that has been going on for more than a decade I don't see how this will significantly change things over there - but it seems to be at least a start.

On another note, props go to Mr. Hollande and his government once more, who after their intervention in Mali, seem to have been a driving force in reaching this kind of deal - gotta love the French attitude to actually do something about things when it comes to Africa.

[1] I have written a rather extensive post back in August about this issue and the problems the Congo faces today and there is also a nice article from the Critical Intel series that also highlights the Congo's problems of the past and present

I do not know very much about the problems in eastern Congo. But I have for a long time wished that the UN would give the blue helmets a stronger mandate. They really need to be able to defend themselves and to defend the civil population. And I agree with Chromatic Aberration that Mr. Hollande has been a great force in Mali and in Congo

Hmm, I don't believe I've seen much in the news, lately, regarding the Congo, though, I am glad to hear that the UN is going to intervene. Really, one can only take so many years of watching a self-righteous organisation like that sit back and criticise while not using the tools at their disposal to do something. Sticky as the issue of an offensive mandate surely is, perhaps they'll be able to do some good.

Skeleon:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/03/28/wrd-un-security-council-congo-intervention-brigade.html

Personally, I'm a bit pro towards such interventions and especially regarding giving the blue helmets some teeth. It's a many years-long clusterfuck of mass-murder in that area. One of the most common criticisms against the UN peace-keeping forces is that they are usually used as observers with no mandate for engangements, only self-defense. That they are basically useless in preventing disasters and genocide because the people in question rarely care about international relations or diplomatic and other sanctions. Putting some actual international enforcers on the ground may be what's needed here. Of course, this is all going on with the approval of the official regional governments, so (at least on paper) there's no UN strong-arming going on here. How true that is behind the curtains is a different question.

As the only resident UN fan (apparently), and having only read your emphasised quotes, I feel I should say this:

HOLY SHIT FUCKING FINALLY!

I hope the soldiers don't cock up or UN reform will not happen for a generation.

This could truly be an amazing thing. I was just talking about UN reform and the possibility of UN-owned assets operating on semi-autonomous mandates for humanitarian reasons, but if the SC can actually agree on aggressive military intervention we might actually be able to form a coercive base to international law!

AS WAS FUCKING INTENDED.

Cheers USA for shooting down the original plan of the UN having its own standing army- if one gets built up slowly now it might actually have more legitimacy this way. In B4 paranoia/UN IS SHIT AT EVERYTHING crowd.

(I know it says they don't intend for it to set a precedent, but psh, come on.)

An interesting question is: why did they send in blue-tops and not mandate a group effort (such as NATO in Libya)?

Kasawd:
Really, one can only take so many years of watching a self-righteous organisation like that sit back and criticise while not using the tools at their disposal to do something.

Eh?

The brigade will be part of the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo, known as MONUSCO, within its troop ceiling of 19,815. The United Nations currently has more than 17,700 UN peacekeepers and more than 1,400 international police in Congo.

http://monusco.unmissions.org/

I'm also for it, I think it's good the UN is doing something for once, America needs to stop being the world's peace keeping force and instead have a real world peace keeping force.

Also I'm fucking flabbergasted that the russian ambassador is also for this. Between Russia and China they rarely ever support any type of actual intervention.

dmase:

Also I'm fucking flabbergasted that the russian ambassador is also for this. Between Russia and China they rarely ever support any type of actual intervention.

Congo is mineral rich. It is in everyone's economic interests for the country to stabilise, so they can start extracting its wealth. It's out of Russia's sphere of influence and China will really want the resources.

I mean, that's probably why they're OK with it from an IR realist point of view.

Finally the blue helmets are going to be worth something. Because let's be honest the peacekeeping is usually a joke (Rwanda genocide anyone?).

Skeleon:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/03/28/wrd-un-security-council-congo-intervention-brigade.html

The UN Security Council authorized a new "intervention brigade" for Congo on Thursday with an unprecedented mandate to take military action against rebel groups to help bring peace to the country's conflict-wracked east.

The resolution, which the council adopted unanimously, gives the brigade a mandate to carry out offensive operations alone or with Congolese army troops to neutralize and disarm armed groups.

The intervention brigade is unprecedented in UN peacekeeping because of its offensive mandate.

The resolution however states clearly that it would be established for one year "on an exceptional basis and without creating a precedent" to the principles of UN peacekeeping.

Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, the current council president, told a news conference before the vote that the resolution will reconfigure the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo, "recognizing the necessity of decisively countering the destructive" violence that has left eastern Congo in turmoil since the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

[The resolution] demands that the M23 and other armed groups, including those seeking the "liberation" of Rwanda and Uganda, immediately halt all violence and "permanently disband and lay down their arms." It also strongly condemns their continuing human rights abuses including summary executions, sexual and gender-based violence and large-scale recruitment and use of children.

Emphasis mine; more interesting details in the rest of the article, I recommend you check it out.

Unprecedented. With a clear one-year mission and exit strategy. What do you folks think?

Personally, I'm a bit pro towards such interventions and especially regarding giving the blue helmets some teeth. It's a many years-long clusterfuck of mass-murder in that area. One of the most common criticisms against the UN peace-keeping forces is that they are usually used as observers with no mandate for engangements, only self-defense. That they are basically useless in preventing disasters and genocide because the people in question rarely care about international relations or diplomatic and other sanctions. Putting some actual international enforcers on the ground may be what's needed here. Of course, this is all going on with the approval of the official regional governments, so (at least on paper) there's no UN strong-arming going on here. How true that is behind the curtains is a different question.

Unless they send a regiment of US rangers / French Legioners to carry those blue helmets to victory it's just a pointless PR grab. The bulk of the "blue" UN forces come from 3rd world countries, these soldiers are poorly trained, and extremely poorly armed(both due to mandate and other reasons), and cannot in most cases even protect them selves. This is hardly the force you send for a counter insurgency/guerrilla operations. If the UN was serious about the Congo it would not have sent some rag-tag soldiers from Bangladesh and the Philippines(or which ever 3rd world country decided to outsource their soldiers this time) and a couple of APC's, they would actually use the security council to send a NATO task force to the country.

Finally. I like the UN as well, and hopefully this should bring some slightly longer lasting change in the Congo.

It won't matter, the UN is pointless and they never defend people when they are attacked. They just sit by and watch it happen, complete spineless cowards, bottom line is if you want these genocides to stop you have to get the US or one of the other few nations that have common sense and decency to fight for the people.

How anyone can honestly think the UN gives a damn is beyond me, they have been in that region for a LONG time and just sat there. I recommend you watch the movies "Hotel Rawanda" and "Shooting Dogs", both of which are factual true-based films about this and it shows how useless the UN is.

TheLycanKing144:
It won't matter, the UN is pointless and they never defend people when they are attacked. They just sit by and watch it happen, complete spineless cowards, bottom line is if you want these genocides to stop you have to get the US or one of the other few nations that have common sense and decency to fight for the people.

How anyone can honestly think the UN gives a damn is beyond me, they have been in that region for a LONG time and just sat there. I recommend you watch the movies "Hotel Rawanda" and "Shooting Dogs", both of which are factual true-based films about this and it shows how useless the UN is.

You talk as if the U.S hasn't ever exacerbated the situation...
Before the U.S finally sent troops to clean up agent orange in Vietnam, the UN had people on site trying to clean up the mess the U.S left behind, so I advise against getting self righteous here.

You say they're useless, yet when they announce that they're arming the blue helmets you still say that it's a lost cause. I don't follow your logic.

TheLycanKing144:
It won't matter, the UN is pointless and they never defend people when they are attacked. They just sit by and watch it happen, complete spineless cowards, bottom line is if you want these genocides to stop you have to get the US or one of the other few nations that have common sense and decency to fight for the people.

How anyone can honestly think the UN gives a damn is beyond me, they have been in that region for a LONG time and just sat there. I recommend you watch the movies "Hotel Rawanda" and "Shooting Dogs", both of which are factual true-based films about this and it shows how useless the UN is.

Yes, ONLY THE UNITED STATES CAN KEEP THE PEACE, ARENT WE SO AMAZING!?

USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA

Jayemsal:

TheLycanKing144:
It won't matter, the UN is pointless and they never defend people when they are attacked. They just sit by and watch it happen, complete spineless cowards, bottom line is if you want these genocides to stop you have to get the US or one of the other few nations that have common sense and decency to fight for the people.

How anyone can honestly think the UN gives a damn is beyond me, they have been in that region for a LONG time and just sat there. I recommend you watch the movies "Hotel Rawanda" and "Shooting Dogs", both of which are factual true-based films about this and it shows how useless the UN is.

Yes, ONLY THE UNITED STATES CAN KEEP THE PEACE, ARENT WE SO AMAZING!?

USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA

Well, in fairness, "or one of the other few nations" could include any number of anyone.

TheLycanKing144:
It won't matter, the UN is pointless and they never defend people when they are attacked. They just sit by and watch it happen, complete spineless cowards, bottom line is if you want these genocides to stop you have to get the US or one of the other few nations that have common sense and decency to fight for the people.

Oh for the love of God, the proclivity of people to mouth of on matters they know little about never ceases to astound me. It seems very much a symptom of modern culture.

For starters, you are wrong: http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/fatalities/documents/stats_1.pdf

And that's just the peacekeepers.

The reason why (if you look it up) the USA contributes 0 peacekeepers is because US soldiers are constitutionally barred from serving under foreign generals. It is also why many of the US "Invasions" you will no doubt paint as US heroism are in fact UN efforts.

Yes, there have been a few large failures in UN peacekeeping history, especially around the time it was new. Kosovo and Rwanda being the most famous. This is due to limited mandates: peacekeepers can only act in self-defence, so the easy solution for the enterprising genocidal maniac is just to make sure you don't shoot the peacekeepers. There's been dozens of stories about how the actual soldiers on the ground hated this. You know why they couldn't act? Because the security council said so. That is, your country said so, because they worried it set a precedent for sovereignty-threatening and interest threatening intervention for the future.

I can't understand how you can blame the UN for the genocide. It's like blaming anyone but the rapist for the rape.

I'm not sure you even know how it works or what it is, judging by "You have to get the US or one of the few other nations to fight".

The UN isn't a nation, the UN isn't an army. The UN only ever gets other nations to fight because it doesn't have its own army. You can thank the USA for that, it was primarily the US delegation to the founding talks that shot that idea down because it might threaten US interests.

Did you know the first Gulf War was a UN effort? And the Libyan intervention? Korean War? The country of East Timor only exists thanks to UN peacekeepers and civilians literally being hacked to pieces with machetes for it. The UN has around a hundred thousand peacekeepers deployed around the world?

Don't limit yourself to documentaries: start reading books and looking up data. Here's some suggestions:

International History of the 20th Century and Beyond- Best et al
Globalisation of World Politics- Baylis, Smith, Owens
International Relations Theories
United Nations, a very short introduction
No-nonsense guide to the united nations
Chasing the Flame- Samantha Power

How anyone can honestly think the UN gives a damn is beyond me, they have been in that region for a LONG time and just sat there. I recommend you watch the movies "Hotel Rawanda" and "Shooting Dogs", both of which are factual true-based films about this and it shows how useless the UN is.

1. Because I know a lot of UN people and they do give a damn. Do you really think that these people on the ground enjoy these restrictions? Like I said, in East Timor UN employees, CIVILIAN employees, were hacked to death with machetes whilst trying to evacuate the local population on UN planes by exploiting a loophole in their expenses accounts. They were blown up in Baghdad cleaning up after the US's belligerent dick-waving neocon foreign policy.

2. They have not "just sat there".

3. I'm going to watch those two films now, since almost everyone who has a bad thing to say about the UN cites them.

It's interesting to note that most (at least the most bellicose) objection to the UN comes from the US. Call my a cynic, but that's hardly surprising.

Isn't there already a regiment of UN troops in the Congo, which have been failing terribly against the M23? I read an article from Le Monde about how awful the logistics over there were, and how understaffed the UN force was.

So, I guess it's nice they're getting reinforcements, but given the size of Congo, it seems like they'd need a LOT more than just one more brigade to contain the threat. Congo's a bit bigger than Bosnia, heh.

Danny Ocean:
snip

I wonder if we would've had an East-Timor today if they did not had oil and gas and were setting up an agreement to feed oil and gas to Australia's hungry economy(their are currently the 2nd largest exporter of petroleum products to Australia, and when the new pipeline will be completed will pretty much be their sole source of oil and gas), or you think that the Aussies have been keeping forces there since 1999 just for kicks and giggles...

The UN in it's current state cannot have an army, there are 195 UN members, out them 117 are "democracies" and only about 90 of them are ranked as "free" by organizations like Freedom House. In it's current state especially if the mandate of the UN "Army" will be given to the GA(Or worse to the geographical groups) it will mean that there is a guaranteed majority to pass a resolution to invade any western country heck they could easily pass a resolution to invade the US.
Sadly the UN is only capable of intervening in places where there isn't a conflict of interests between the the US/EU and Russian and or China. Nothing will change that, a UN army under the security council will have the same issues that the UN has now in passing resolutions(Syria?). If it the conflict will revolve around a country where China / Russia have interest and the stronger pull the US will veto and vise verse. Africa is now the new frontier from rare elements to plentiful farm lands(Africa alone can feed the world if they get their shit together) China and Russia have been sinking their teeth in it for over a decade now, and both the US and the EU feel that they need to catch up.

Also US troops can and do serve under "foreign", US troops have been under British command in WW1, and WW2. The Supreme Command of NATO Force in Europe is often a non-American. And I've personally been involved in several training exercises where American soldiers were taking orders from Israeli officers and NCO's.

P.S.
I wonder if you read any of the Anti-UN books I've recommended to you, or are you too busy praying 5 times a day now to bother.

Verbatim:
*snip*

Yes, the security council and general assembly act in their interests most of the time. I am pointing out that the UN (that is, the actual organisation of people who wear UN badges) are not what he thinks they are, nor are they as useless as he thinks.

Of course it can have an army- the bureaucracy is still in place for goodness sake! That's where peacekeeping as a concept came from- all that redundant bureaucracy had to do something so that's what it did- the closest thing it could do to have an army. [1] The only thing stopping it is politics, mostly people who think like you that a UN army will somehow mean the death of the "free world".

And no, that hypothetical army could not and I doubt would even try to invade the US because the 1. US is on the security council, which would control the army. There cannot be some kind of "Coup" of "DEATH TO AMERICAAAAAH" states because the 2. US is on the security council and pays like a fifth of the bills (when it can be bothered). The security council will veto. 3. The US army is way over the top.

Also US troops can and do serve under "foreign", US troops have been under British command in WW1, and WW2. The Supreme Command of NATO Force in Europe is often a non-American. And I've personally been involved in several training exercises where American soldiers were taking orders from Israeli officers and NCO's.

Oh, well that's a surprise. I was misinformed. I'll have to revert back to my previous position of thinking the USA should wear blue helmets more than almost never.

P.S.
I wonder if you read any of the Anti-UN books I've recommended to you

None of the books I've read are 'pro-UN' they are simple factual things. Fuck, almost all of them are textbooks! That last one "Chasing the Flame" which you no doubt think is some UN glory rag, is in fact utterly condemning of the UN structure and advocates reform. However it is in support of the actual workers and, like me, thinks they get an incredibly bad rap from people who know next-to-nothing about the organisation. I have reached my own conclusions, thank you very much.

And yes, the ONE book you've recommended me in a post - UN Voices- which you cited a few times, is sitting on my shelf half-read. Well, you didn't really recommend it if I recall correctly, you just cited it as one of your arguments so I thought I'd read it to prove a point.

Turns out it's a selection of biographies of UN workers. Very interesting. Didn't really support your point though if I remember, but it's so long ago.

Hey if you want to actually recommend some feel free. I've always been open to stuff like that. Hell even Gorfias told me to get a book and I read it and it didn't change my mind, and we disagree on way more than you and I do.

or are you too busy praying 5 times a day now to bother.

Da fuck?

I'm an atheist- you know that. Secular Humanist. And even then, so what If I was Muslim? Are you still in that bizzaro ISLAM vs USA world??

What's wrong with you? Keep up that line and I'll just ignore you.

[1] Source: From the mouth of Dr. Peter Lawlyer. We were talking about the possibility of autonomous UN humanitarian intervention last week.

Danny Ocean:

Yes, the security council and general assembly act in their interests most of the time. I am pointing out that the UN (that is, the actual organisation of people who wear UN badges) are not what he thinks they are, nor are they as useless as he thinks.

Of course it can have an army- the bureaucracy is still in place for goodness sake! That's where peacekeeping as a concept came from- all that redundant bureaucracy had to do something so that's what it did- the closest thing it could do to have an army. [1] The only thing stopping it is politics, mostly people who think like you that a UN army will somehow mean the death of the "free world".

And no, that hypothetical army could not and I doubt would even try to invade the US because the 1. US is on the security council, which would control the army. There cannot be some kind of "Coup" of "DEATH TO AMERICAAAAAH" states because the 2. US is on the security council and pays like a fifth of the bills (when it can be bothered). The security council will veto. 3. The US army is way over the top.

The UN "Peacekeepers" are defacto leased soldiers of member states, in most cases the majority of them come from poor 3rd world countries because the member states do get paid for sending forces to missions(directly or indirectly trough USAID programs, and World Bank/UNDB intensives). And as i said a UN official army will not be any more efficient at enforcing UN resolutions than the peacekeepers now.
UN PK's are illequipped to deal with real conflicts, so unless the UN decide to drastically change it's mandate and start using well armed, well trained personnel with heavy weaponry nothing will come out of it(you don't send girl scouts the clean up a hornets nest).
There is a reason why the US/NATO went into every serious conflict, the US/NATO mission in everyone of those conflicts was completely different than the mission of the UN PK's.
UN PK's are sent to keep the peace(and they oftenly fail at doing that too), the GI's are there to fight the baddies and win.
Not to mention that no matter what kind of army they get the issues with how it's going to be used will still remain the same if not become more aggravated. The UN is not a democratic organization, the GA and every "geographical" group based committees have a guaranteed voting block of the kind of guys you don't want to be running a local crime gang yet alone an army, and the SC will be deadlocked via veto rights.

And the most important thing no one said that individual workers, or UN personnel are worthless. How ever the relevance of the organization today as a whole is clouded with doubt.
Not only be people in this forum(or some of them) but in the real world. The US ties with the UN have been going down the drain for several decades now, the EU is not in a much better positions. Many of their initiatives either turned out to be useless, or became a bashing tool against the west.
The UN would have been a much better organization if it's membership actually required some merit, it started as being mostly democratic and ended up with having countries like Libya and China sit and chair the human rights council and Saudi Arabia being on the UN committee on the status of women.

Also i also truly believe that the UN with it's mandate should not have an army, not because I'm afraid that it will be used to counter western interests. But because arming an organization that it's sole overall goal is to promote peace sounds like an oxymoron to me.

It's also kind of amusing that on one hand you want to give them an army, but on the other hand you don't ask say for the ICRC(Which is one of the strongest arguments IMHO why NGO's are completely capable of taking the responsibility of many of the UN duties) to become a UN mandated organization.

Danny Ocean:

None of the books I've read are 'pro-UN' they are simple factual things. Fuck, almost all of them are textbooks! That last one "Chasing the Flame" which you no doubt think is some UN glory rag, is in fact utterly condemning of the UN structure and advocates reform. However it is in support of the actual workers and, like me, thinks they get an incredibly bad rap from people who know next-to-nothing about the organisation. I have reached my own conclusions, thank you very much.

Oh come on, we both know that there is no such thing as a un-biased book, especially in the academia. Text books are can be just as biased as a tabloid hatchet job.

P.S.
I like that you've kinda skipped the whole East-Timor Oil case, I'm the first one to agree that the end(that is a free and independent state) more than justifies the means(which is the same reason i support what the US has done in Iraq and Afghanistan no matter what was the pretense for those action). But still it's not as pink(or blue in this case) as you paint it to be. The UN has a huge corruption problems, the SC is dominated by the super-powers, and the regional groups put the nail in that coffin in my books(since 3 out of 5 of them will be non-western at best, and in many cases be lead by the worst regimes imaginable).

Danny Ocean:

It's interesting to note that most (at least the most bellicose) objection to the UN comes from the US. Call my a cynic, but that's hardly surprising.

It's basic U.S. isolationism/xenophobia for some Americans. Most of us don't give the UN--or the rest of the world--two thoughts a day unless a disaster has occurred, a new Pope's been elected, or the British Royals are having a baby. Despite many folks being linked electronically to the world the truth is they are naturally focused on their own private lives.

But there is an isolationist streak in this nation--there always has been. It's easy when you're separated from the East and Europe etc by large oceans. Throw in a bad economy and the financial support the US gives to the UN for it to run and people who normally don't care whether the UN exists bark "why are we giving all that money away when we need jobs/food/whatever here?"

It doesn't help that several unscrupulous politicians looking to spread "30 second sound bites" shamelessly lie through their teeth about the amount of foreign aid the US provides to the world. Recently one congressman claimed that we were giving something like $700 Billion to foreigners. *rolls eyes*

That's the general basis for anti-UN attitudes in the US.

OT: I'm with many others here in being glad and somewhat relieved that the UN peacekeepers will be getting some teeth. I'm not well read on the matter and haven't seen the movies mentioned above but I've heard some horror stories from ex-military people I know that suggest that the rules have always been against the peacekeepers.

Verbatim:
...these soldiers are poorly trained, and extremely poorly armed(both due to mandate and other reasons)

I'd hope that the mandate-part at least would not be a problem in this case anymore. And considering France was pushing for this, I'd hope they and other high-tech Western nations will add their support soon now.

TheLycanKing144:
It won't matter, the UN is pointless and they never defend people when they are attacked.

Yes, but that's kind of the point of this thread. The blue helmets were forbidden from enganging because they didn't have the mandate from the UN before now. Very frustrating to the people in question. This is why this is such a big deal, because the UN has finally given them that mandate, to be able to intervene and not just stand idly by when people are attacked. It could be a singular occurrence or it might mark a change in UN-policies.

Verbatim:

The UN "Peacekeepers" are de facto leased soldiers of member states, in most cases the majority of them come from poor 3rd world countries because the member states do get paid for sending forces to missions(directly or indirectly trough USAID programs, and World Bank/UNDB intensives).

Well they're not just de facto leased soldiers, they're de jure leased soldiers. No-one has to commit any if they don't want to. They tend to commit when it's in their interests to commit, hence why so many come from India, Pakistan, and China. There's a lot of peace that needs keeping around those borders.

And as I said a UN official army will not be any more efficient at enforcing UN resolutions than the peacekeepers now. UN PK's are illequipped to deal with real conflicts, so unless the UN decide to drastically change it's mandate and start using well armed, well trained personnel with heavy weaponry nothing will come out of it(you don't send girl scouts the clean up a hornets nest).

Most armies of the world, as you point out, are not well equipped. So a pretty average army would be enough to fight them, and at least enough to make them think twice. War costs a fortune even if you win. Isn't that the US foreign policy? "Walk softly, and carry a big stick." In International Relations, the threat of violence is often as good as real violence, as long as the belligerent has a record of following through.

There is a reason why the US/NATO went into every serious conflict, the US/NATO mission in everyone of those conflicts was completely different than the mission of the UN PK's.
UN PK's are sent to keep the peace(and they oftenly fail at doing that too), the GI's are there to fight the baddies and win.

Which is why a UN army of 'GI's' would be needed. Vaste swathes of the world hate the US for interventions, wouldn't you rather take the heat off yourself? Hell, the UN having its own army could almost be in the US's best interest- it's got to save money after all, and that need is only going to rise as the grey wave hits. If it ever scales back its own armies to be in line with the rest of the world (it's got to happen eventually, surely), then perhaps the rebalancing of the scales of power will create a more amiable environment for a genuine international police force.

Not to mention that no matter what kind of army they get the issues with how it's going to be used will still remain the same if not become more aggravated. The UN is not a democratic organization, the GA and every "geographical" group based committees have a guaranteed voting block of the kind of guys you don't want to be running a local crime gang yet alone an army, and the SC will be deadlocked via veto rights.

The issue of SC deadlock is not insurmountable. As I say, things change. The situation of international politics which facilitates the creation of an international army will no doubt be more open to the idea of a mandated international army for the enforcement of international law.

And the most important thing no one said that individual workers, or UN personnel are worthless. How ever the relevance of the organization today as a whole is clouded with doubt.
Not only be people in this forum(or some of them) but in the real world. The US ties with the UN have been going down the drain for several decades now, the EU is not in a much better positions. Many of their initiatives either turned out to be useless, or became a bashing tool against the west.
The UN would have been a much better organization if it's membership actually required some merit, it started as being mostly democratic and ended up with having countries like Libya and China sit and chair the human rights council and Saudi Arabia being on the UN committee on the status of women.

Yeah, that was what the League of Nations tried to do. It ended up not working. Hell, if you want to continue with the analogy of the UN to a government with the world as its country, you could argue it's more democratic this way because no state is excluded. You don't exclude Christian, Communist, Libertarian, Muslim, or Hindu fundamentalists from your national voting body, so why should they be excluded from an international one? If anything, that would be a contradiction of your democratic principals.

Also I also truly believe that the UN with it's mandate should not have an army, not because I'm afraid that it will be used to counter western interests. But because arming an organization that it's sole overall goal is to promote peace sounds like an oxymoron to me.

Should states not also have police?

I mean come on. It's been known for thousands of years that peace doesn't just happen by words alone. Globalisation has helped a lot, but those countries not so enmeshed with eachother are still prone to conflict.

It's the same rising tide of globalisation that's going to require an effective international legislative body- we're already getting problems with crazy US patent laws clashing with others', ownership of common resources like fish, distancing from common problems like pollution, etc.. etc.. The UN is in a prime position to do that, if it could only enforce its own decisions upon its own decision makers.

If we return to the analogy, at the moment, many of the voters act in accordance (sanctions and conditional loans do actually work pretty well) with the decisions they helped to make. The richer ones, however, do not. This is perhaps a point on which the analogy is strongest.

It's also kind of amusing that on one hand you want to give them an army, but on the other hand you don't ask say for the ICRC(Which is one of the strongest arguments IMHO why NGO's are completely capable of taking the responsibility of many of the UN duties) to become a UN mandated organization.

The thought never occurred to me.

Of course the ICRC and the UN work together quite a bit. I don't really see the dissonance in thinking the UN should have an army and not thinking that all NGOs should be bought into its fold. An army is not a humanitarian organisation.

Danny Ocean:

None of the books I've read are 'pro-UN' they are simple factual things. Fuck, almost all of them are textbooks! That last one "Chasing the Flame" which you no doubt think is some UN glory rag, is in fact utterly condemning of the UN structure and advocates reform. However it is in support of the actual workers and, like me, thinks they get an incredibly bad rap from people who know next-to-nothing about the organisation. I have reached my own conclusions, thank you very much.

Oh come on, we both know that there is no such thing as a un-biased book, especially in the academia. Text books are can be just as biased as a tabloid hatchet job.

Yes, they can but that doesn't mean they are. I don't know how I'm supposed to convince you. I've only read wider and wider about the UN and foreign affairs since I got to university (IR is my politics specialism), textbooks, articles, papers like The economist and journals like Foreign Policy and International Review, and everything I read has the same general conclusion- the UN has big problems, but they are not insurmountable, it's done more good than harm, is in principal a good thing, and is needed more than ever. Even the books which purposefully set out to criticise it on all sorts of levels like this one link reach similar conclusions.

As for what they say on peacekeeping in particular: none of them is as universally condemning as you are. They explain the past notable failures (The ones opponents always raise- Kosovo, Rwanada, Congo, etc...) and, of course, admit them failures. It's always been at least partly due to a shitty mandate made by disinterested super powers without any experience of peacekeeping. They then put these failures into context, usually noting that: 1. No-one else was willing to help, 2. National Peacekeeping and Nation-Building Efforts (as opposed to International) are have a far higher failure rate than the UN's, and 3. By noting the successes. UNAMI is going OK, Cambodia is relatively stable and de-mined, etc.. etc..

If there's one thing the UN is better at than anything else, it's that most crucial sub-set of peacekeeping: nation-building.

P.S.
I like that you've kinda skipped the whole East-Timor Oil case, I'm the first one to agree that the end(that is a free and independent state) more than justifies the means(which is the same reason I support what the US has done in Iraq and Afghanistan no matter what was the pretence for those action). But still it's not as pink(or blue in this case) as you paint it to be.

One can speculate about ulterior motives until the cows come home, but the explicit request was for independence, and the explicit UN mandate was to ensure it. It did so, and the country is still around today. I think the UN did an unequivocally good thing in freeing that country from the Indonesian occupation (which was brutal at times) and granting it nationhood. Three months after the peacekeepers left and the country is still there, so we'll have to wait and see I suppose. I think that particular case, if any, is the one one can hold up as an example of good UN work, regardless of why Australia decided to donate peacekeepers (could have been oil, but it was definitely regional influence.)

The UN has a huge corruption problems, the SC is dominated by the super-powers, and the regional groups put the nail in that coffin in my books

Corruption? Of course it does. Everywhere does. Hell, the US state is arguably the most corrupt thing going in gross amounts of money sloshing around the back rooms, the only difference is that it doesn't label its corruption as such.

The SC is dominated by super powers. That's the point. The countries with the most military strength make the military decisions because they are usually the ones who commit troops (as you noted with your comment about NATO and ASEAN interventions), and also are the ones that most need to remain in the organisation for it to hold together. Unless the norms of international politics change drastically and unprecedentedly, super-power domination of the security council is a necessary compromise.

Regional groups... see, I'm still not getting your fear here. Do you seriously think that everyone will just cow-tow to US interests because "We're right, darnit!"? The rest of the world doesn't hate the US for its ideals, it hates it for its belligerence, omni-present military (The joke is that the US will nuke its allies, just to be sure), economic and cultural imperialism, gung-ho attitude under many of its presidents, transparent self-interest, and hypocrisy.

Even people from the West dislike it for that.

They're not children- they also recognise the good things: it's democracy, it's freedoms, it's strong institutions, it's willingness to help when it matters most.

Of course I am generalising. Most people around the world are not intelligent or experienced enough to see the big picture like that (not to say that they couldn't be: that perspective just hasn't been imparted to them yet), to see all the pros and cons, or even try to! Many or even most do indeed view the world, and- crucially- the people in it, as caricatures of who they really are. As I said in another thread, I think this ignorance of and detachment from each other is the single biggest problem we face.

(since 3 out of 5 of them will be non-western at best, and in many cases be lead by the worst regimes imaginable).

As I say, they don't hate the "West" because it's the "West" or because they disagree with "Freedom" or "Democracy" (Arab Spring, anyone?), they have beef because the legacy of European Imperialism still grips most of the world, causing violence and bloodshed. Rich Western countries roll in luxury and waste while billions starve. Western Patents (until recently) kept secrets as basic as vaccines and agricultural methods priced out of reach, and continue to screw people over (I mean come on, US companies can't patent the fucking human genome, but collectively they have). Western control of the IMF, WB, UNDF has (in the past) utterly screwed over countries in the naked pursuit of Western national interests and blind idealism.

The list goes on and on and additions can be made on a per-country basis, including all of the Western countries.

These are legitimate grievances, Verbatim. Until the majority of US citizens start realising their state and markets screw people over and those people are angry about it the state itself will not change tact. At the moment, it seems like most US citizens believe that the world is resisting its attempts to 'save' it or 'ascend' it for reasons of religious hatred, backwardness, and a failure to recognise how special and correct and just the USA 'is'.

If someone was that condescending, insensitive, and flippant towards me, my history, the things I believe in, my national pride, and my nation's sovereignty, even I'd dislike them.

It's almost like Bioshock Infinity had a point.

Copper Zen:

OT: I'm with many others here in being glad and somewhat relieved that the UN peacekeepers will be getting some teeth. I'm not well read on the matter and haven't seen the movies mentioned above but I've heard some horror stories from ex-military people I know that suggest that the rules have always been against the peacekeepers.

A more expansive mandate could have prevented the Srebrenica massacre. All the Serbs had to do was not shoot at the people with blue helmets on.

It's a similar mandate to the current US policy in Afghanistan, IIRC. Good thing there's no genocide going on there.

But It's not just that.

Many of the earlier peacekeeping missions were authorised on a wave of optimism in the international community and an inflated expectation of what they could achieve- that's what prompted the initial deployment of blue-top peacekeepers to active warzones like Kosovo.

Locals have grievances with peacekeepers for things which don't occur to most. Practicalities of having an international force.

For example: how much do you pay them?

Do you pay them at their national wage, or do you pay them a wage appropriate to where they are going?

Do the latter, and they won't want to go.

Do the former, and the local economy gets an injection of cash into all the wrong places- crime, prostitution, drugs, alcohol, and all those things poorly-trained and poorly-disciplined soldiers do in their off-time. This was a key problem in Cambodia, where the prostitution racket soared with the wave of too-much-time, too-much-money, too-little-sex troops to the area.

They stamped down on it when they realised their mistake (now wages are usually paid to families rather than the soldiers themselves), but by that point the damage to the country's economy (which is now recovering) and the damage to the reputation of peacekeepers (which is not) was done.

If you wanna know about Croatia/Bosnia-Hertzegovina read this: http://www.un.org/Depts/DPKO/Missions/unprof_b.htm

It's all in there.

So, how much money would it take for all the Pro-UN people on the thread to actually put on the blue helmet so they can take & return small arms fire?

aelreth:
So, how much money would it take for all the Pro-UN people on the thread to actually put on the blue helmet so they can take & return small arms fire?

Are you currently a soldier/ex-soldier?

Get back to me in five-or-so years when I've finished my degrees and I'm working for UNICEF/UNHCR.

I won't even get a helmet, hell, it seems like civilian UN employees are targeted more than the actual blue-tops are. Kill enough of them, after all, and history has shown the UN usually pulls the mission out. Killing peacekeepers just means more peacekeepers, or even a proper intervention.

The Salaries are similar to the US civil service. Entering at the lowest Professional Level gets you About $37,000. Entering at the lowest level of field service gets you about $30,000 for a single person with no dependents. The top Director salary is ~$112,000, an Assistant Secretary General gets ~$121k, and an under-secretary general gets ~$131k.

Even if I were to say "No, I couldn't do that." What fucking difference would that make?

Danny Ocean:

aelreth:
So, how much money would it take for all the Pro-UN people on the thread to actually put on the blue helmet so they can take & return small arms fire?

Are you currently a soldier/ex-soldier?

Get back to me in five-or-so years when I've finished my degrees and I'm working for UNICEF/UNHCR.

I won't even get a helmet, hell, it seems like civilian UN employees are targeted more than the actual blue-tops are. Kill enough of them, after all, and history has shown the UN usually pulls the mission out. Killing peacekeepers just means more peacekeepers, or even a proper intervention.

The Salaries are similar to the US civil service. Entering at the lowest Professional Level gets you About $37,000. Entering at the lowest level of field service gets you about $30,000 for a single person with no dependents. The top Director salary is ~$112,000, an Assistant Secretary General gets ~$121k, and an under-secretary general gets ~$131k.

Even if I were to say "No, I couldn't do that." What fucking difference would that make?

Actually both.

It makes a big difference, because it shows that you are neither willing to pay with your own money or your own blood.

It's always someone else's money, that was forced from them. It's always someone else that has to die. Not only that you have more important things going on so it's not even worth your own time.

aelreth:

Actually both.

I thought so. You can instantly tell.

It makes a big difference, because it shows that you are neither willing to pay with your own money or your own blood.

Except, y'know: I am. I already give a fifth of my shitty student income to charity. Just because I'm not doing it now doesn't mean I'd never do it.

It's always someone else's money, that was forced from them. It's always someone else that has to die. Not only that you have more important things going on so it's not even worth your own time.

Da feck are you talking about? I'm not understanding you. Be less cryptic.

Are you basically saying that unless I am personally prepared to put myself in the firing line I'm not allowed to advocate putting others there?

Danny Ocean:

aelreth:

Actually both.

I thought so. You can instantly tell.

It makes a big difference, because it shows that you are neither willing to pay with your own money or your own blood.

Except, y'know: I am. I already give a fifth of my shitty student income to charity. Just because I'm not doing it now doesn't mean I'd never do it.

It's always someone else's money, that was forced from them. It's always someone else that has to die. Not only that you have more important things going on so it's not even worth your own time.

Da feck are you talking about? I'm not understanding you. Be less cryptic.

Are you basically saying that unless I am personally prepared to put myself in the firing line I'm not allowed to advocate putting others there?

Or put your own money at risk at the very least.

I have no issue saying that the UN should be abandoning the peacekeeper model in favor of better equipped, better trained and of high moral character mercenaries in their stead. Taxes should not be used (that is money being forced from someone).

Once you allow advocate putting someone else in harms way on your moral behalf, you have morally left open the door for someone else to do it to you on their moral behalf.

aelreth:

Or put your own money at risk at the very least.

Isn't that equating money with life?

I have no issue saying that the UN should be abandoning the peacekeeper model in favor of better equipped, better trained and of high moral character mercenaries in their stead. Taxes should not be used (that is money being forced from someone).

Hmn... There's a whole debate here about moral obligation and state coercion. I arrive at different conclusions to you. Would you like to talk about it over PMs? We were just doing this sort of thing in my political philosophy course so it'd be quite interesting. (Well, I say 'just', but it was like two months ago now.)

Once you allow advocate putting someone else in harms way on your moral behalf, you have morally left open the door for someone else to do it to you on their moral behalf.

This is ethics, but same with that ^^^ I'm not sure one does, nor what it really means to "Morally leave the door open."

PMs?

Jayemsal:

TheLycanKing144:
It won't matter, the UN is pointless and they never defend people when they are attacked. They just sit by and watch it happen, complete spineless cowards, bottom line is if you want these genocides to stop you have to get the US or one of the other few nations that have common sense and decency to fight for the people.

How anyone can honestly think the UN gives a damn is beyond me, they have been in that region for a LONG time and just sat there. I recommend you watch the movies "Hotel Rawanda" and "Shooting Dogs", both of which are factual true-based films about this and it shows how useless the UN is.

Yes, ONLY THE UNITED STATES CAN KEEP THE PEACE, ARENT WE SO AMAZING!?

USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA

I didn't say it was the only country, just one of the few.

Do you remember the Bosnian Genocide? The EU couldn't fix it, the UN couldn't fix it, you know who did? US. That's right, the Europeans couldn't deal with their own problems so they called in the US to put an end to it, and we did. This is just ONE of the MANY examples of how spineless the EU and UN are.

Europeans need to respect us more. We keep getting them out of trouble, and yet they remain ungrateful. Next time they get into trouble, they should keep that in mind.

EDIT: Also bear in mind that the UN allows and sanctions dicator regimes and terrorist states such as Iran. The UN has become the most corrupted body of government around, it is a joke and needs to seriously be reformed.

TheLycanKing144:
/snip

You know what? I respect the US for it's role in the Bosnian massacre. I'm not ignorant enough, to say that the US hasn't ever done good and that the UN hasn't ever been ineffective. I don't paint everyone with the same brush unlike you.

The kettle however, shouldn't call the pot black.
When the U.S bombed Nicaragua in 1984, the UN found the US had used an unlawful amount of force, and sentenced the US to pay reparations for what was essentially terrorism. The U.S blew it off. Want another example? The U.S killed September 11, Salvador Allende a democratically elected president and installed Augusto Pinochet, a dictator who ruled for 17, killing many Chileans.

Every single damn organization and country have had their low points, and yes the UN has messed up several times. It has corruption like the United States, it has been ineffectual and it has been hypocritical. You could have put that point forward in a reasonable manner, but you didn't.

Your self-righteous quite frankly misses me off. Your Bush era apologism is loathsome. Your selective blindness is dishonest. Your attitude that "Europeans should respect us more" is ignorant and entitled.

P.S: Watch the movies you quoted. There's a commentary on American Apathy in the film that seems to have gone by you.

EDIT: Or just go to this thread:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.404776-US-History-and-actual-History

I think some of you need to learn the difference between a UN Peacekeeping mission and a Multi-National Taskforce operating with a UN mandate.

Peacekeeping missions were envisioned as an armed neutral party to enforce peace treaty conditions AFTER a peace treaty was formalised. They were never intended to be deployed in active warzones nor to be deployed to create 'peace' and typical UN Peacekeeper Rules of Engagement reflect this. The 'only' tangible advantage to contributing troops to UN Peacekeeping missions is the cost of doing so is deducted from your annual UN Contribution payments.

Multi-National Taskforces with UN mandate, OTOH, come about when a bunch of nations front the UN Security Council with a list of grievances about some other nation(s) and the UNSC says "Yep, you've got a good reason to go kick over their sandcastle," and off everyone goes. No blue berets, no all white vehicles, and no UN Rules of Engagement that tie their hands behind their backs. The Korean War, Gulf War 1, and the invasion/liberation of Afghanistan are all examples of Multi-National Taskforces operating with a UN mandate.

As for East Timor... Indonesia left voluntarily, if reluctantly, after a violence marred but UN monitored plebicite (which Indonesia agreed to under considerable diplomatic pressure) in East Timor voted in favour of independence. That's when the trouble really kicked off with pro-Indonesian militias going berserk... so after a quick bit of diplomatic wrangling it was decided that a Multi-National Taskforce under with a UN mandate would be sent in to put paid to the pro-Indonesia militias and their massacring ways. After a bit more wrangling it was decided that the primary contingent would be units from the Australian Defence Force as well as units from other nations in the region, and someone ponied up a company or two of gurkhas... and just in case the Indonesian Commander in West Timor got any funny ideas, parked off the coast of East Timor was a USN taskforce and a USMC Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU).

There were 2 main reasons the US were kept in the background... first is that Indonesia is the world's most populous Islamic nation and one the US is quite friendly with, so they didn't really want to cause problems with diplomatic relations if they didn't have to (not to mention reaction from the rest of the Islamic world). Second was that US intervention would have been an almost impossible sell in US domestic politics. All in all the US was quite happy to stay in the background as an obvious "OR ELSE" to Indonesia while nations that really wanted to have troops on the ground got on with business.

And yes, the Australian govt of the time saw an independent East Timor as a much softer touch for grabbing more of the Timor Sea oil and gas reserves for Australia than Indonesia would ever be. It was the Howard government, after all, and they only ever did 'good' by accident.

RhombusHatesYou:
As for East Timor... Indonesia left voluntarily, if reluctantly, after a violence marred but UN monitored plebicite (which Indonesia agreed to under considerable diplomatic pressure) in East Timor voted in favour of independence. That's when the trouble really kicked off with pro-Indonesian militias going berserk... so after a quick bit of diplomatic wrangling it was decided that a Multi-National Taskforce under with a UN mandate would be sent in to put paid to the pro-Indonesia militias and their massacring ways. After a bit more wrangling it was decided that the primary contingent would be units from the Australian Defence Force as well as units from other nations in the region, and someone ponied up a company or two of gurkhas... and just in case the Indonesian Commander in West Timor got any funny ideas, parked off the coast of East Timor was a USN taskforce and a USMC Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU).

IIRC, didn't Portugal (I think) also send troops, but they were in another command structure altogether?

UN Peacekeepers becomming UN Peacemakers would be at least three different kinds of awesome.

And by awesome I mean any strong armed force following the International Rules of engagement is a good start. War doesn't have to be clean, but it's better for everyone if it is.

This whole war with UN mandate has not worked out as well as formerly intended.

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