Power in Peacekeeping



United Nations peacekeeping has proven remarkably effective at reducing the death and destruction of civil wars. But how peacekeepers achieve their ends remains under-explored. This book presents a typological theory of how peacekeepers exercise power. If power is the ability of A to get B to behave differently, peacekeepers convince the peacekept to stop fighting in three basic ways: they persuade verbally, induce financially, and coerce through deterrence, surveillance and arrest. Based on more than two decades of study, interviews with peacekeepers, unpublished records on Namibia, and ethnographic observation of peacekeepers in Lebanon, DR Congo, and the Central African Republic, this book explains how peacekeepers achieve their goals, and differentiates peacekeeping from its less effective cousin, counterinsurgency. It recommends a new international division of labor, whereby actual military forces hone their effective use of compulsion, while UN peacekeepers build on their strengths of persuasion, inducement, and coercion short of offensive force.

Product Details

Cambridge University Press
Publish Date
May 16, 2019
8.3 X 9.0 X 0.6 inches | 0.01 pounds

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About the Author

Lise Morjé Howard is an associate professor of Government at Georgetown University, Washington DC. Her work on peacekeeping, civil war termination, and US foreign policy has appeared in such journals as International Organization, International Security, International Studies Quarterly, and Foreign Affairs. Her book, UN Peacekeeping in Civil Wars (Cambridge, 2007) won the Best Book Award from the Friends of the Academic Council on the UN System.


'Power in Peacekeeping provides an empirically grounded theory of how peacekeepers actually exercise power. It offers a new typology that explains how peacekeeping differs from other forms of intervention and makes an important contribution to the use of force debate. The clear causal framework makes it easy for others to test and further develop the model, and for peacekeepers to use it to plan, manage and assess operations.' Cedric de Coning, Effectiveness of Peace Operations Network (EPON), Norsk utenrikspolitisk institutt (NUPI) Center for UN and Global Governance
'The concept of power is often seen as antithetical to peacekeeping, but Howard makes a compelling case that there is much to learn when we combine the two. This book will make the reader think about peacekeeping in new ways.' Paul F. Diehl, Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning and Ashbel Smith Professor of Political Science, University of Texas, Dallas
'Lise Morjé Howard has written a much-needed and timely intervention in the study of peacekeeping. We have lots of studies of why and how peacekeeping fails. We have fewer studies that provide good news ... fewer still that explore how peacekeeping works, when it works. Howard points to the role of power, but a power that falls well short of actual force. ... A major contribution to our understanding of peacekeeping.' Michael Barnett, University Professor of International Affairs and Political Science, George Washington University
'In this important book, Howard articulates a useful typology of the ways in which peacekeepers can influence the peacekept, illustrating the mechanisms of persuasion, inducement, and coercion. As she argues, peacekeeping and counter-insurgency operate in very different ways, and blurring the lines between them will only undermine the effectiveness of peacekeeping.' Page Fortna, Harold Brown Professor of US Foreign and Security Policy, Columbia University, New York
'If you want to understand how UN peacekeeping operations work on the ground, why they succeed, and why they fail, this is the book to read. The research is exhaustive; the insights telling.' Robert J. Art, Christian A. Herter Professor of International Relations, Brandeis University, Massachusetts