The Caricaturing of UN Peacekeeping

Published in Policy Options, 20 February 2018

Complex, multidimensional, multipurposed modern peacekeeping has been the default framework for a long time, despite what critics would have us believe.

Peter MacKay has written a provocative and useful Policy Options article about the dark side of peacekeeping. While he is mostly wrong on many levels, we should be indebted to him for amassing so many of the straw man arguments in one place.

MacKay suggests that traditional peacekeeping is antiquated and obsolete. What Lester Pearson was awarded the Nobel Prize for, a mission where peacekeepers stand between warring parties that have agreed to a truce, is no longer the most requested operation type. MacKay is without question correct that this kind of peacekeeping is mostly not what happens these days (although it still has a place). But nobody denies this! Complex, multidimensional, multipurposed modern peacekeeping has been the default framework for a very long time — and at least since the 2000 Brahimi Report on United Nations peace operations. A quick read of the UN Peacekeeping website is warranted for those who think “traditional” peacekeeping is what the UN still mostly does.

Read more

A reminder from Hawaii

On January 13, the residents of Hawaii received a startling phone alert: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” Within seconds, fear spread across the island state as people sought shelter.

At the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), a different type of panic was sweeping through the building. Employees soon realized that procedures to officially cancel a ballistic missile alert had not yet been created.

Read more

BMD: Cooperative Protection or Strategic Instability

It’s hard to believe, but less than a decade ago, academics, policy analysts, and even officials were exploring US-NATO-Russia cooperation on ballistic missile defence1 – begging the question: why is that no longer considered an appropriate subject for polite company? Missile defence cooperation is still happening, of course, but it’s between Russia and China on one side and among the US and its friends and allies on the other. Unless, however, missile defence is pulled back from its current competitive dynamic to one of east-west accommodation and cooperation, nuclear tensions, and arsenals, will only grow. Canada has joined the competitive fray in Europe through NATO, but, to its credit, continues to resist direct involvement in the strategic North American version of ballistic missile defence.

Read more

Our WMD treaties are working

ABSTRACT

As new technologies change the face of war, whether and how to pursue arms-control and disarmament treaties is an urgent question. Our past treaties show us that codified commitments can have an influence on state conduct. The author reviews what we can learn from existing agreements on weapons of mass destruction, including the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Iran nuclear agreement, and the conventions on biological and chemical weapons. Though in some cases they have had more impact than others, these agreements have been effective in curbing the spread and use of our most devastating weapons.

Read the full article at https://doi.org/10.1080/00963402.2017.1413058 (controlled access)

CPG Archive, 1998-2014

The table below shows papers, correspondence, reports, and articles by or about Canadian Pugwash Group members. By default, articles are listed by the first author’s surname (or the name of the issuing organization, e.g. CPG).

This page will load 100 references at a time. Please click on the navigation link at the bottom of the page to continue further down the table. You can use the Search box to find an individual author or keyword.

Each title can be clicked to access the full article (or other resource). Most files are in pdf or doc/docx format, with a few in html or ppt/pptx.

Read more