by Jean-Marie Guehenno
Reviewed by James V. Arbuckle, for Peacehawks
Jean-Marie Guehenno was appointed United Nations Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations (USG PKO) in 2000, and held that position until 2008. A “scholar-diplomat”, as one blurbist has characterized him, he was until his appointment without direct experience of the United Nations.
The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) was created in 1992 from the Department of Special Political Affairs, which had been responsible for PKOs since their inception in 1948. The then USG for that Department, Marrack Goulding, assumed the leadership of the new DPKO until he was succeeded by Kofi Annan in 1993. Annan was replaced by Bernard Miyet of France in 1997 when Annan became Secretary-General. Since then all DPKO USGs have been French, and on 1 April of this year Jean-Pierre Lacroix will replace Herve Ladsus.
The book is engagingly written, and conveys well the feel of the immediacy of high diplomacy, but careful readers may find some things missing.
The Question of Peace in Modern Political Thought, Toivo Koivukoski and Edward Tabachnick, eds.. Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Waterloo, Ontario, 2015
- by Jamie Arbuckle
At a very early stage in my career as a soldier, I had amassed a very comprehensive collection of classical war literature: Sun Tzu, du Picq, the Brodies, Ropp, Earle, Liddell-Hart, Keegan, Taylor, and more, spanning more than two-and-one-half millenia. I thought I knew what war had been, was now and might be. Nearly half a century later, I have them all still on my shelves, and have often referred to several of them in these pages.
I have never read a book about peace, and I don’t actually know much about it. So the arrival of this book for this review was, for me, timely. Perhaps for you as well?
What is peace? Is it merely the absence of war? Or is it the absence of violent conflict? Was the period between the two World Wars a peace? Is scale involved, that is to say, was the NATO-led action in Serbia and in Bosnia-Hercegovina in 1999 a war (it is commonly called one)? Can we have peace without justice, or must those responsible for unjust wars be pursued beyond the cessation of hostilities? And is there such a thing as a just war?
I think we need some answers to these questions and more, and I hoped this book would help me to understand peace at least as well as I once thought I understood war.