June 5, 2008

Book Review - Enforcing the Peace

Enforcing the Peace: Learning from the Imperial Past
Kimberly Zisk Marten
JZ 6374 .Z57 2004

Marten argues that modern military occupations and peacekeeping efforts closely resemble imperialism as it was practiced in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As such, she asserts that efforts to recreate foreign societies in the image of Western states, even when their intentions are good, is likely to fail. Marten blends together discussions of peacekeeping activities in Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and East Timor, as well as touches on occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. She compares these to the colonial activities of Great Britain, France, and the United States at the turn of the 20th century, particularly focusing on the political and economic interests of the occupying nation, the role of humanitarianism and of the military, and the political will of the occupied state. She demonstrates that armed peacekeeping is effective, both in the imperial examples as well as modern ones, when it is a political priority for the occupying government. She concludes with a discussion of the importance of security, including that provided by armed forces, in the international arena.