Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date



Scholars and practitioners have been debating the legal and operational aspects of UN military operations since its enforcement actions in North Korea in 1950 and the Congo in 1960 (UN Operation in the Congo [ONUC]). Since then, the UN Security Council (UNSC) has authorized some semblance of enforcement action in Kuwait, Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, Kosovo, East Timor and Albania, and authorized, sanctioned or co-deployed forces in Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Coˆte d’Ivoire and Sudan. The scholarly literature is abundant with analysis of nearly every aspect of peacekeeping and peace enforcement by the UN, regional organizations, regional alliances and coalitions of the willing. Hence, the challenge for new scholarship on peacekeeping is to carve out an identifiable niche while simultaneously making an original contribution to scholarly debate and policy-related discourse. Ray Murphy’s book attempts to meet this challenge; albeit awkwardly. Generally speaking, his text is a solid read for graduate students, junior academics and lower-level policy and operations staff in government and international institutions preoccupied with peacekeeping issues. It provides a rich analysis of the character of UN military and civilian operations in Lebanon, Somalia and Kosovo, while providing insightful regional analysis. It is a straightforward, relatively compelling and ‘politically incorrect’ indictment of UN peacekeeping and peace-enforcement practice and doctrine.