Item description for Deliver Us from Evil: Peacekeepers, Warlords and a World of Endless Conflict by William Shawcross...
Overview Provides a look at the role of the International Peacekeepers and the work they perform supplying goods and maintaining order in some of the world's most dangerous and hostile places.
Publishers Description The Cold War has been followed by a decade of regional and ethnic conflicts, massacres, and forced exiles. Should America assume the role of peacekeeper and chief humanitarian in a world of endless wars and human disasters? Eminent foreign correspondent William Shawcross has spent much of his career in war zones and has had unrivaled access to diplomats, peacekeepers, and global policymakers at the highest levels, including UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, for whom he has high regard. In "Deliver Us from Evil, " which has a new epilogue for the paperback edition, Shawcross takes us behind the lines with him to Cambodia, Bosnia, Somalia, Sierra Leone, East Timor, Rwanda, and Kosovo to show us how complex and costly Western interventions are and how naive are our hopes of peacemaking without bloodshed.
Citations And Professional Reviews Deliver Us from Evil: Peacekeepers, Warlords and a World of Endless Conflict by William Shawcross has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2004 page 699
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Studio: Simon & Schuster
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.43" Width: 5.52" Height: 1.19" Weight: 0.9 lbs.
Release Date Aug 14, 2001
Publisher Simon & Schuster
ISBN 0743200284 ISBN13 9780743200288
Availability 0 units.
More About William Shawcross
William Shawcross is the author of Sideshow, for which he won the George Polk Award for reporting and the Sidney Hillman Foundation Prize, as well as The Quality of Mercy, The Shah's Last Ride, and Murdoch. He lives in England. Deliver Us from Evil was one of six finalists for the Samuel Johnson Prize, Britain's most prestigious nonfiction award.
Reviews - What do customers think about Deliver Us from Evil: Peacekeepers, Warlords and a World of Endless Conflict?
Deliver Us From the Evil of a Lack of Political Will Dec 20, 2002
Deliver Us from a Lack of Political Will, by Peter Gantz, Partnership for Effective Peace Operations.
A review of Deliver Us From Evil: Peacekeepers, Warlords and a World of Endless Conflict, William Shawcross, Simon & Schuster, 413pp.
So, yes, this book is about peacekeeping, that amorphous blob of activity the international community tasks the UN with accomplishing every day in conflict zones throughout the world. It is clear that expectations far exceed what the UN is capable of delivering, as Mr. Shawcross points out early on. The UN in the nineties was tasked with bringing peace to areas where conflict had erupted, following the end of the Cold War. Mr. Shawcross does an admirable job of describing how well and how often that did not work, and how deep the failures were.
This book is not a UN bashing book, though. It certainly points out the problems at the UN, but Mr. Shawcross knows that these problems, just as the UN itself, are the creation of the member states and their political leaders. In particular, the most powerful member state, the United States, has played a spectacularly unhelpful role. Congress nearly destroyed the UN financially in the late nineties, largely driven by provincial isolationists in the Republican Party. President Clinton and his top advisors were no better, perhaps most notably during the Rwandan genocide. Muddled decisions from the administration did much to worsen crises and conflicts the world over.
Mr. Shawcross puts his finger squarely on the problem. Time after time it has been a lack of political will. The inability of the international community to summon the courage to stop the deaths of millions of blacks in Rwanda, Burundi, and other parts of Africa is one of the more despicable features of the twentieth century, and one of the examples of problems with UN peacekeeping that Mr. Shawcross covers quite well. The U.S. and other countries are simply not willing to back up words with actions.
Hard and fast solutions are not offered by Mr. Shawcross. The reader would be better directed to other works for that. (The book came out prior to the UN's own surprisingly honest and straightforward assessment of peacekeeping, the Brahimi Report, commissioned by Secretary-General Kofi Annan.) But to understand the problems with UN peace operations, and to understand the fundamental root cause of these problems, the lack of political will to act, or to act well, this book is better than most. Mr. Shawcross suggests in the end that UN peace operations have too often been about asking for miracles.
But make no mistake; he does not suggest that peacekeeping should be abandoned. And certainly this book should not provoke a reader to gag at the idea of deploying peacekeepers-they should gag, however, at the antics of their elected officials. The U.S. and other countries sit at the Security Council and give the UN grand and noble tasks to save the world, but when it comes to providing the means to accomplish those tasks, failure is palpable. The abject failure of government officials to match actions to words is what we truly need deliverance from.
enlightening Oct 22, 2002
For anyone interested in world affairs, or interested in learning more about the United Nations in today's fractured and dangerous world, I strongly recommend this work by Shawcross.
This work is essentially a survey of hotspots around the world that eventually boiled over spurring the intervention of foreign governments in the name of "humanity". Shawcross begins with the backgrounds of these conflicts and spells out the events leading up to and including foreign intervention and the aftereffects. Shawcross often begins to outline one conflict, leaves it to start another at a crucial point, may then introduce the reader to yet another, or return to the original. In this fashion, the reader is carried from conflict to conflict, without discovering a resolution until later. This device keeps the reader more interested and in the end perhaps mirrors the real world as well. Hotspots of the world don't wait for each other to resolve before cropping up.
Much of the work also focuses on Kofi Annan the current secretary general, and it is this topic that is most enlightening. As citizens of the world, we have painted a romantic picture of the U.N and become frustrated when it does not accomplish the things we would like it to. We often forget that the United Nations are composed of individual nations with individual interests. At the heart of the U.N. lies the Security Council. A veto by any of the members of the Security Council essentially cripples the U.N.'s ability to act. The U.N.is also reliant on its members for funding and equipment. It is in this context that Shawcross presents Annan, who himself is not without blame for some of the the U.N.'s shortcomings, but nevertheless comes across in a very sympathetic light.
The aforementioned members of the Security Council come across much more poorly, particulary the United States and France.
The highest complement I can give this work is that Shawcross is even handed. His writing does not heap blame on any party. He is merely spelling out the limitations of the world we live in and the simple fact that states are first and foremost looking out for their own interests.
Especially interesting is the material dealing with Saddam Hussein. He has been a thorn in the world's side for years. He also touches on Serbia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, East Timor among others.
One comes away with a new perspective on the limitations and failings of the United Nations, but also a profound feeling that it is as indispensible and vital as ever.
Good discussion of the issues Jun 14, 2002
This is a book about the role of the United Nations in international peacekeeping missions. Prior to the end of the cold war, the United Nations was not able to intervene in regional conflicts. The reason being that the split on the security council meant that one or other of the superpowers would veto actions which would conflict with their national interest. With the end of the cold war the world was faced with the possibility that the United Nations could for the first time try to act to limit human misery brought about by civil war and the collapse of civil authority in some countries. The early nineties also saw the election of the American President Clinton. Clinton at the start of his term was committed to trying to increase the importance of the United Nations as a means of bringing a rational approach to ending conflict. He appointed Madeline Albright as an Ambassador to the UN and there were expectations that something could be achieved.
Shawncross examines a large number of conflicts and looks at the attempts of the UN to achieve some positive result. The vast majority of the cases examined by Shawncross were failures. His book is an examination of how those failures occurred and what factors led to them.
There have however been some successes. The intervention in Cambodia, although it did not lead to the setting up of democratic institutions (Hun Sen was able to quickly set up an authoritarian state after elections were held which should have removed him from power) did lead to the end of the civil war in that country. Although it is only dealt with in a sketchy way the UN intervention in East Timor led to and end to the killing and it now seems possible that a democratic state will emerge.
The failures are however significant. The UN failed to do anything to prevent the genocide in Rwanda. What effectively happened in this case was that the Rwandan population was divided into two ethnic groups. One group the Hutus moved to kill the minority group the Tutis. Over 100,000 Tutis were murdered brutally with the UN taking no action at all. However the story did not end there. A guerilla movement consisting of Tutis was able to take control of the country. The Hutu groups responsible for the initial massacres forced huge numbers of their own people out of the country into neighbouring Zaire to form the basis of a guerilla army. This fought for some time against the victorious Tutis. Eventually the Tutis invaded Zaire massacring huge numbers of Hutu and in the process overturning the government of Mobutu. Some peace keepers were put in place to prevent this but the mission failed abysmally.
Another disappointment was Somalia. Again Somalia was a small country which had experienced a total break down in civil society. The collapse of order led to large numbers of rural people moving to the capital and a fall in food production. In place of civil authority the country became ruled by armed gangs. Both the United Nations and the United States became obsessed with one gang leader and spent most of their efforts trying to capture him. Alternative strategies might have involved the provision of food aid in country areas to move people out of the city as a means of increasing rural productivity. In addition attempts to disarm the groups one would have thought productive. Instead the UN and American troops fell into a confrontation with some gangs in the capital and suffered casualties which in the view of the US were not sustainable. This led to a pull out.
The book is interesting. It does not really propose a solution but it raises a huge number of issues. One interesting point made by the author is that it cost the Sierra Leone government $36m to hire a mercenary outfit Executive Solutions to deal with its rebellion. (The rebels involved were brutal and routinely amputated the limbs of village people for no good reason). The cost of hiring these mercenaries was cheaper than the cost of a UN force ($46m for the same period). As a number of the UN members do seem to have a stomach for the work one wonders if this may not be the future of peace keeping.
A Review of Hell in the 90's May 31, 2002
This book is a good overview of the UN work as peace keepers during the 1990's and the horrible different wars that took place during the decade. Cambodia, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, East Timor, and Iraq are the locations / wars the author takes us through. The descriptions of what these people did to each other are almost more then can be believed. The author also provides a good overview with each conflict as to why it was happening and the internal politics, which kept the killing going. He also gives us just enough details on the people effected that you really get a feel for the catastrophic impact the wars / slaughters have had on them. It really makes you wonder how people can do this to their neighbors.
The author also describes the deployment and efforts that the peacekeepers and aid works go through in these war zones. It is truly an aggravating reading experience to see the amount of internal and world politics that slows down the deployment of the soldiers to the point that thousands more people die waiting for the help. With that said that book also makes a very good point that the ideas and people that drive the push for peacekeepers are doing so in a misguided effort. The peacekeepers are solders and solders are not law enforcement officers, they are not trained or equipped for this function. The international and internal UN politics are so vast and ingrained that once a direction is proposed it is often too late in the execution, not well thought out, and ends without a plan for continued safety or improvements. The effect is often that the situation that brought the peacekeepers to the area quickly returns once the solders go home.
The book also covers a review of the politics and diplomacy that occurred during the 1990's in the world covering these events. We get an inside, but abbreviated view of these politics of the nations that are members of the UN Security Council. The author spent of good deal of time with the current UN Secretary General Kofi Annan so we get a lot of detail from his point of view. The author also gives us a few insights into some of the other world leaders involved in these issues. The pressures that the UN Secretary General faces trying to get pledges of funds, personnel, and approval for peacekeeping operations are very interesting and one wonders how anything gets done at all.
I thought the author was letting a little of his own politics or views into the writing by his comments that detailed the deliberate lack of intervention by the United States. The U.S. does surfer from not always having a clear path to follow in these type of issues, but I felt the author was trying to lay out that if the U.S. took the lead then many of the negative issues with peacekeeping would disappear. I would have liked the author to have included some maps of the parts of the world discussed. The fact geek in me would have liked to have seen a list of the UN peacekeeping missions they have done sense inception and a more in depth discussion on the criteria for choosing who sends men.
After reading this book you will understand that sending in United Nations peacekeepers means there is a huge mess that probably will not be resolved quickly. This is an interesting book and well worth it if you are interested in the topic.
Essential Reading for International Thinkers Apr 26, 2002
Deliver Us From Evil provides a front row seat to the agonizing development, completion and aftermath of the most dramatic global post cold-war intranational conflicts: Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda and others. Shawcross's intimate access to the negotiations and communications surrounding the United Nations Secretary-Generals provide a revealing look at the deliberate lack of intervention by the United States and other members of the Security Council despite public statements to the contrary. Shawcross provides comprehensive background information to allow a thorough understanding of these intranational conflicts that continue to shape our current political state.