Cover image for Why peacekeeping fails
Why peacekeeping fails
Jett, Dennis C., 1945-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2000.

Physical Description:
xviii, 236 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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JZ6374 .J48 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Jett (Diplomat in Residence, Carter Center, Atlanta) shows why peacekeeping operations fail by comparing unsuccessful with successful efforts in a range of peacekeeping missions. While causes of past failures may be identifiable, the book argues that chances for success will be difficult in the futu

Author Notes

Dennis C. Jett entered the foreign service in 1972 and has served in Argentina, Israel, Malawi, Liberia, Mozambique, and Peru. Before becoming Ambassador to Peru, he was Ambassador to Mozambique. Jett received his Ph.D. from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Jett, a former ambassador to Mozambique, examines the lessons learned when the United Nations fails or succeeds in its peacekeeping missions. He chooses the missions in Mozambique and Angola because of the countries' similar histories (both former Portuguese colonies and cold war battlegrounds) but different outcomes. When the UN closed its mission in Angola in 1999 after four years of relative peace, war began almost immediately because factions had used the interim as a time to rearm. In contrast, the five-year mission in Mozambique apparently succeeded. Jett examines the history of the UN, why it undertakes missions, and how success is determined by factors outside of its control--the conflicting parties, outside parties, regional powers, and a country's resources. Jett looks at how the size and scope of missions have changed since the end of the cold war, and how they've become increasingly complex. This is a well-researched and insightful look at a controversial activity, particularly because of recent peacekeeping failures in Bosnia and Somalia. --Vanessa Bush

Library Journal Review

Jett, a former U.S. ambassador to Mozambique, assesses UN-sponsored peacekeeping since the Cold War and finds it wanting. He argues that vague objectives, inadequate forces, and bureaucratic politics converged to undercut the UN's effectiveness when confronted with civil wars of maddening complexity. Jett's analysis rests largely on a comparison between the failure in Angola and the limited success in Mozambique. This astute choice of cases--two Portuguese colonies that attained independence under similar circumstances--allows Jett to isolate shortcomings specific to the UN and explain why the Angola conflict outstripped the capabilities of UN peacekeepers. Angola's wealth of natural resources, for instance, enabled the combatants to purchase foreign arms in quantity, while superpower backing for the warring factions prolonged the conflict and inhibited negotiation. The relative absence of these factors eased a settlement in Mozambique. Jett concludes that the UN will be underused for peacekeeping in the future. Strongly recommended for academic libraries.--James Holmes, Inst. for Foreign Policy Analysis, Cambridge, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Jett, a recently-retired career diplomat who served as ambassador to Mozambique, wrote this book originally as a PhD thesis for the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He seeks to explain the outcome of UN peacekeeping operations (PKO) through a comparative study of Mozambique's success and Angola's failure, in the context of the abrupt rise and fall of UN PKO missions during the early 1990s. Jett outlines the changing nature of PKO--more missions, more tasks, more complexity, more constraints. He systematically examines the cases of Mozambique and Angola, showing how salient internal and external differences during the PKO predeployment, deployment, and postdeployment phases produced different outcomes. Perhaps more importantly, he provides a sobering and measured evaluation of their lessons for PKO reform in a highly constrained environment. The bottom line: prospects for effective reform and future successes are doubtful. Highly recommended for larger university and public libraries, and for collections specializing in African and international studies. J. P. Smaldone Georgetown University

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgementsp. ix
Current Peacekeeping Operationsp. xi
Completed Peacekeeping Operationsp. xiii
Other Acronymsp. xvii
Chapter 1 Introductionp. 1
Chapter 2 A Brief History of Peacekeepingp. 21
Chapter 3 Failing Before Beginningp. 35
Chapter 4 Similar Histories, Different Outcomesp. 61
Chapter 5 Failing While Doingp. 75
Chapter 6 The External Factorsp. 113
Chapter 7 Humanitarian Aid and Peacekeeping Failurep. 133
Chapter 8 Getting Out and Afterwardsp. 145
Chapter 9 "Inconclusion"--Why Real Reform Might Not Be Possiblep. 169
Notesp. 197
Bibliographyp. 223
Indexp. 231