On Blue Helmets and Cynicism, Linda Polman on UN Peace Operations

“UN peacekeepers can do a lot of good in situations when you need traffic cops.” Linda Polman is a critical freelance journalist who has been covering peacebuilding and humanitarian aid in the aftermath of war for over 20 years. She has been studying the design of peace operations and their functioning on the ground in places such as Somalia, Sierra Leone and the DR Congo. Polman concludes that “the UN is a powerless organization. If you see blue helmet soldiers somewhere, it is because it was told by powerful member states to send them.” By consequence, she argues that the failure of UN peace operations which often feeds cynicism with the organization is ill-informed and that criticism should focus more on the role of UN member states.

An interview with War and Peace Talk on 18 October 2013.

For more information on Linda Polman please refer to: her website; her Twitter-account, her book ‘War Games’ on Amazon; an article in the Guardian titled ‘Does Humanitarian Aid Prolong Wars?‘.