Peacekeeping: Good Intentions Often Have Horrible Consequences

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November 21,2008:  Peacekeeping operations are often triggered by hunger. Food aid usually goes in first, but this soon becomes a target for bandits and warlords. As a result, good intentions often have horrible consequences. In Chad, Congo, Iraq, Kenya, Somalia, Gaza, Sri Lanka and Sudan, the rebels live off food aid, and often plunder the aid workers as well. It is this aggression against the foreign aid workers that often motivates the UN the most, to bring in peacekeepers. That usually works, although in Somalia, the UN is having a hard time getting nations to contribute troops. That's because the last peacekeeping effort there, in the early 1990s, ended with many dead peacekeepers, and eventual withdrawal of the foreign troops. Many in the UN have since concluded that if you are going to go in, do it in force, and forcefully. The problem will not go away, and will usually get worse, if you just leave it alone.

 


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