When thinking about peacekeeping, blue-helmeted soldiers come to mind. With 82,000 peacekeepers deployed on sixteen active UN peacekeeping operations around the world, that’s not surprising. Recent piracy activity in the Gulf of Aden, though, suggests that peacekeeping needs to encompass the maritime domain as well.
Eighteen months ago I published an op-ed in the Washington Post, where I urged the prevention of a new Cold War. And only a couple of months ago it seemed possible. But since the Georgian-Russian war last month, the situation has drastically deteriorated.
Only in Pakistan does the appointment of a new spy chief elicit more commentary than, say, a Prime Minister under today’s political system, where the presidency holds the power strings. The appointment of Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha as the new head of the Inter Services Intelligence earlier this week has raised expectations about a change in the direction of the ISI and Pakistan in the war against terror and militancy in the borderlands with Afghanistan and inside Pakistan proper. While the changes in leadership of the army in general and at ISI by the new army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani hold much promise, military actions alone do not guarantee a change in direction of the fractured economy and polity of Pakistan. Without a clear sense of understanding and control by the civilian government of all aspects of governance, Pakistan risks muddling through a crisis that may worsen in the days ahead. On the Afghan border, the risk of confrontation with the United States remains. Inside Pakistan, the militants are on the prowl and challenging the writ of the state.
Alex Motyl has written a provocative piece, "Can Europe Survive Germany?" which takes Europe's largest state — in terms of both population and economy — to task for being insufficiently committed to the West's shared principles and asserts that, "If Europe ever dies, Germany will have killed it."
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili addressed the 63rd Session of the United Nations last week. Georgia, Saakashvili told heads of government and ambassadors of the 192 member nations, was “invaded by our neighbor.” Rather than dwell on the war, however, the Georgian President set out two challenges for the peace.