Multinational Peace-Enforcement

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A long term project on the transformation of war and its relation to peace-support operations (PSOs) has preoccupied me for many years. This project, which I carried out with a political scientist was a conceptual one seeking to understand how social, economic, political and organizational transformations around the globe are related to the complex links between armed forces and PSOs. Accordingly, we argued that the challenge facing decision-makers, senior military commanders and scholars was filling in gaps in existing conceptual frames that link PSOs to contemporary conflict and warfare. We contend that this gap is to a great extent an outcome of the dominance of militarized thinking in this area.

Concretely, we argued that the dominant conceptualization connecting the transformation of war and PSOs continues to be based on, or derived from, two master templates: what has been variously termed “conventional” or “industrial war” and that of “traditional peacekeeping.” While the first provides a conceptual lens that situates conflicts on a gradient of nearness or distance from conventional war, the second supplies a frame that analyzes missions in terms of their similarity to or difference from traditional peacekeeping. In our analysis of contemporary conflicts we show how these templates, and more widely military-based knowledge, are not necessarily the most suitable for analyzing and understanding contemporary circumstances.

Publications

Kobi Michael, Eyal Ben-Ari and David Kellen (eds) The Transformation of the World of Warfare and Peace Support Operations. West Port, CT: Praeger Security International, 2009. [Book Link]

Eyal Ben-Ari, Kobi Michael and David Kellen Introductory Essay: Wars and Peace Support Operations ­in the Contemporary World – Conceptual Clarifications and Suggestions. The Transformation of the World of Warfare and Peace Support Operations. West Port, CT: Praeger Security International. 1-20, 2009.

Kobi Michael and Eyal Ben-Ari Contemporary Peace Support Operations: The Primacy of the Military and Internal Contradictions, Armed Forces and Society, 2011: 37: 657679.

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