UN Not Nincompoops?

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Via Plastic, the Web concept that helped kill Suck and Feed and soldiers on as a very interesting news portal and discussion site, comes this Rand Corp. report that gives one-and-a-half thumbs up for the United Nations in its peacekeeping role. The remaining half of thumb is put into the eye of the United States.

From Rand:

Among those studied, two-thirds of UN nation-building operations can be counted as successful at this time, compared with half of such U.S. operations. In large part the lower U.S. success rate can be attributed to the more demanding nature of the American-led operations. But the difference also reflects the UN's greater success in institutionalizing past experience, establishing a doctrine for the conduct of such missions, and developing a cadre of trained personnel who carry over from mission to mission.

Whole thing here.

The Economist
gives a shout out to the UN for helping Liberia here.

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  1. Anyone know who commissioned the study?

  2. Well, hell, I’ll answer my own question:

    The study was sponsored by RAND as part of its mission to conduct research in the public interest. The effort was made possible by the generosity of RAND’s donors and the fees earned on client-funded research.

  3. But the difference also reflects the UN’s greater success in institutionalizing past experience, establishing a doctrine for the conduct of such missions, and developing a cadre of trained personnel who carry over from mission to mission.

    I know that one of the criticisms of the U.S. military coming out of the Pentagon has been that it doesn’t have any real nation-building doctrine or theory and it doesn’t have many personnel for the task either.

  4. Could this have anything to do with the fact that the UN keeps out of the really difficult places (like Rwanda) until things calm down a bit? Isn’t this a bit like praising the contractor that rebuilds a burnt-out house, but giving no credit to the firemen that put out the blaze?

  5. The Real Bill,

    Well, the U.N. decreased its presence there because the UNSC (meaning the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China) ordered it to.

    Anyway, its difficult to tease out what is a U.N. action and what is an action comitted by one or all five permanent members of the UNSC. After all, its not even really a semi-sovereign body.

  6. “Anyway, its difficult to tease out what is a U.N. action and what is an action comitted by one or all five permanent members of the UNSC. After all, its not even really a semi-sovereign body.”

    This was my thought as well. Does that concern you, GG?

  7. “I know that one of the criticisms of the U.S. military coming out of the Pentagon has been that it doesn’t have any real nation-building doctrine or theory and it doesn’t have many personnel for the task either.”

    Bush eliminated the DoD’s peacekeeping school in his 2001 budget. Just not needed.

  8. Jason Ligon,

    Which part?

  9. The word peace is headed for the memory hole

  10. GG:

    That I was thinking the samething you were.

  11. The total sample size is 16:

    The RAND History of Nation Building? and examine 16 UN- and U.S.-led nation-building missions over 60 years

    A more accurate summary would be: “The U.S. was 2 for 4 over a sixty year period, and the U.N. was 8 for 12.” A lot changes over 60 years, and the sample size is really really small.

  12. Jason Ligon,

    I see. Well, why would that bother me? 🙂

  13. “Outsiders can topple despots or crush rebels, and sometimes should…”

    Pop survey: who agrees with this statement?

  14. Andrew-

    I’ll agree with that statement, as long as I get to be pretty narrow in just how often “sometimes” occurs.

  15. thoreau

    Size matters too, I suppose.
    What kind of effert would have been needed to depose would have been required to depose Samuell Doe OR Charles Taylor? But if it’s Robert Mugabwe…?

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