Despite a record number of UN peacekeepers in action (90,000 right
now, and possibly 140,000 by the end of the year), the impact of these troops
if often much less than expected. That's because the UN is reluctant to
authorize peacekeepers to use force to maintain peace. That, in turn, is the
position nations providing peacekeepers prefer. Accomplishing the mission is
much less important than getting the peacekeepers back alive. Peacekeeping duty
is not seen as something worth dying for.
can work, even with the UN in charge, if the bad guys have no friends. Such is
the case in Congo, where the troublesome people are very unsavory warlords. No
one mourns the demise of these guys. But in places like Kosovo and Lebanon, the
local louts have powerful patrons. The Albanians of Kosovo are still the
anointed victims, and cannot be hit too hard, no matter what the provocation.
In Lebanon, Hizbollah has the support of most of the Moslem world, so
peacekeepers cannot touch.
this diplomatic approach to peacekeeping can go horribly wrong. That's what's
developing in Lebanon. The UN peacekeepers were supposed to stop Hizbollah from
replenishing their supplies of rockets, and other weapons. The peacekeepers did
not do that, as Hizbollah could not be touched. But if Hizbollah goes after
Israel again, all those peacekeepers are going to be caught in the middle.
Hizbollah will try to use the peacekeepers for human shields, as they did last
Summer. But now there are a lot more peacekeepers in the area, and some of them
are French, so things could get very interesting. The same can be said for all
UN peacekeeping this year.