Diplomats are rarely dreamers or gamblers. The experience of grinding negotiations means that most ambassadors and their advisers dislike big ideas and unnecessary risks. But sometimes they have to take a gamble in pursuit of national goals.

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Mar 04, 2013
Richard Gowan

European soldiers, often mocked by American analysts in recent years, are back in fashion.

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Feb 11, 2013
Richard Gowan

France’s vow to battle Islamist militants in Mali “as long as necessary” risks plunging the former colonial power into a prolonged campaign, according to diplomats and experts.

Read the full Globe and Mail article here

Jan 12, 2013
Richard Gowan
Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa

The United Nations Security Council has different tools at hand to maintain international peace and security. Yet, beside prominent blue helmets and controversial sanctions, another sophisticated instrument often goes unnoticed: Political Missions.

Mar 01, 2011
Alischa Kugel

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.

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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.

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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.

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Dec 03, 2012
Richard Gowan
United Nations