Is Ukraine a promising model for the management of future international crises? At first glance, it looks like nothing of the sort. Kiev is in the middle of a bloody military campaign to regain control of towns and cities in the east of the country from pro-Russian rebels. More and more civilians have been caught in the crossfire.
In Still Ours to Lead: America, Rising Powers, and the Tension Between Rivalry and Restraint, Brookings Senior Fellow and my CIC colleague Bruce Jones sets out a compelling analysis of the present global power structure.
In this Lowy Institute Analysis, Richard Gowan reviews Australia’s time as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. Gowan argues that while it has not changed the world, Australia has acquitted itself well, bringing extra rigour and professionalism to the Council’s debates. It has carved out a niche on the issue of humanitarian access in the Syrian conflict, and solidified its reputation as a good international citizen and a serious country.
Eighteen months into their two-year term on the Security Council, Australia’s diplomats at the UN have become masters of crisis management. For more than a year they have played a major role in talks on humanitarian aid to Syria, forging a fragile consensus with Russia and China on the need to assist the suffering.
Over the past six months, United Nations peacekeeping has come closer to catastrophe than at any time since the Rwandan genocide and Srebrenica massacre. The UN mission in South Sudan was caught off-guard when the country imploded last December. The crisis has claimed at least 10,000 lives. More then a million civilians have fled their homes, with 80,000 sheltering in UN compounds
The Russian Federation truly is the successor state of the Soviet Union when it comes to working the levers of the United Nations to its benefit. From its position as a permanent member of the Security Council, it gains both the prestige that comes with such a lofty place in the international system and a platform to tweak the great powers of the world whenever it wants.
At the end of March, with the crisis spreading from Crimea to eastern Ukraine, Kerry instinctively reached out to Lavrov anew. The pair held four hours of inconclusive talks in Paris. Then it was back to Geneva in mid-April for quadrilateral discussions with the European Union and the Ukrainians: Seven hours of negotiating delivered a new set of “Geneva Accords” outlining plans for the pro-Russian separatists occupying government buildings in the east of the country to disarm.
It was no surprise when pro-Russian forces seized eight European military monitors in eastern Ukraine last week. A growing number of international observers have deployed to Ukraine over the past two months, and it was only a matter of time before some were snatched. A United Nations envoy, Robert Serry, had to make a quick exit from Crimea in early March after an encounter with a posse of armed men.
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
In the last decade, there have been two trends in mission mandates. The first and most obvious is the United Nations Security Council authorization of peacekeeping missions with significant military components and complex, multidimensional mandates. Yet, due to global strains on personnel, equipment, financial resources, and to competing international priorities, these missions – typically in the most challenging environments – have suffered from under-deployment and insufficient political attention.