It took France the better part of a year to craft a UN-backed plan for dealing with the Islamist takeover of northern Mali that would avoid a French military intervention. Yet itonly took only a few hours to turn that project on its head.

Read the full BBC article here

Jan 22, 2013
Richard Gowan
Europe, Middle East

Initial French estimates of a brief conflict may be revised as militants are not breaking quickly, French airstrikes continue, and more French troops are on the way.

Read the full Christian Science Monitor article here

Jan 15, 2013
Richard Gowan
Europe, West Africa
Fragile States

History may be about to play a nasty trick on the Obama administration. The diplomatic renaissance in the U.S. seems to be coinciding with a worrying decline in interest in diplomacy among other powers.

Read the full World Politics Review article here 

Jan 07, 2013
Richard Gowan

The Annual Review of Global Peace Operations and the Review of Political Missions have evolved into the Global Peace Operations Review, an interactive web-portal presenting in-depth analysis and detailed data on military peacekeeping operations and civilian-led political missions by the United Nations, regional organizations, and ad-hoc coalitions. The website can be accessed here Global Peace Operations Review

United Nations (UN) peace operations face an extended and dangerous period of strategic uncertainty. Since the end of the Cold War, global peacekeeping has undergone cycles of expansion and contraction. After a round of boom and bust in the 1990s, UN operations expanded through the last decade, as did those of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU) and other organizations. But a series of set-backs have coincided with military overstretch and the financial crisis, raising the risk that UN peacekeeping may contract once more.

Is France the most influential nation at the United Nations today? To anybody who doesn't follow events at the U.N. closely, this may sound silly.

Read the full World Politics Review article here

Dec 03, 2012
Richard Gowan
Europe
Peace and Security
United Nations

Most Europeans are relieved at the re-election of Barack Obama. But in his second term he will face greater pressure to cut costs and will likely continue the US "pivot" to Asia. Though transatlantic security cooperation will continue, Europe now needs to grow up and focus on managing the crises in its own backyard.

Read the full European Council on Foreign Relations Policy Memo here

Nov 15, 2012
Richard Gowan
Europe, United States

Europeans are usually supportive of the United Nations and its role in international crisis management, despite memories of the disasters in the Balkans and Rwanda. However, while European citizens approve of the UN in theory, they generally assume that the organization is not relevant to their own safety in practice.

Read the full Government Gazette article here

Oct 19, 2012
Richard Gowan
Europe
Peace and Security
United Nations

The United Nations General Assembly met on 18 October to elect five new nonpermanent members of the Security Council. Although the winners will not begin their terms until January, the U.N. is approaching the end of two turbulent years in which three major powers -- Germany, India and South Africa -- have held temporary seats in the council, playing prominent roles in its debates over Libya and Syria.

Oct 18, 2012
Richard Gowan
Europe, Middle East, Libya, Syria, India
India, United Nations

Time and again, Western diplomats have been fooled by hints that Russia might just alter its attitude towards Assad – and again, Russia has foiled Western initiatives in the Security Council.

Read the full E! Sharp article here

Aug 07, 2012
Richard Gowan
Europe, Syria