Anjali Kaushlesh DayalFeb 24, 2022
How UN Peacekeeping Failures Shape Peace Processes
Cambridge University Press 2021
Why do warring parties turn to United Nations peacekeeping and peacemaking even when they think it will fail? In Incredible Commitments: How UN Peacekeeping Failures Shape Peace Processes (Cambridge UP, 2021), Dayal asks why UN peacekeeping survived its early catastrophes in Somalia, Rwanda, and the Balkans, and how this survival should make us reconsider how peacekeeping works. She makes two key arguments: first, she argues the UN's central role in peacemaking and peacekeeping worldwide means UN interventions have structural consequences – what the UN does in one conflict can shift the strategies, outcomes, and options available to negotiating parties in other conflicts. Second, drawing on interviews, archival research, and process-traced peace negotiations in Rwanda and Guatemala, Dayal argues warring parties turn to the UN even when they have little faith in peacekeepers' ability to uphold peace agreements – and even little actual interest in peace – because its involvement in negotiation processes provides vital, unique tactical, symbolic, and post-conflict reconstruction benefits only the UN can offer.
Anjali Dayal is an assistant professor of international politics at Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus.
Lamis Abdelaaty is an assistant professor of political science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. She is the author of Discrimination and Delegation: Explaining State Responses to Refugees (Oxford University Press, 2021). Email her comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet to @LAbdelaaty.