Dangerous Diplomacy reassesses the role of the UN Secretariat during the Rwandan genocide. With the help of new sources, including the personal diaries and private papers of the late Sir Marrack
Goulding—an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1988 to 1997 and the second highest-ranking UN official during the genocide—the book situates the Rwanda operation within the context of bureaucratic and power-political friction existing at UN Headquarters in the early 1990s.
The book shows how this friction led to a lack of coordination between key UN departments on issues as diverse as reconnaissance, intelligence, and crisis management. Yet Dangerous Diplomacy goes beyond these institutional pathologies and identifies the conceptual origins of the Rwanda failure in the gray area that separates peacebuilding and peacekeeping.
The book comes to a number of conclusions about the role of the UN bureaucracy during the tragic events of 1994. It argues, among other things, that the difficulty of separating the peacekeeping and peacebuilding functions of the United Nations explains why seventy years after the birth of the organization, it has still not been possible to clearly and unambiguously demarcate the roles and functions of some of the key UN departments–both at Headquarters and in the field.
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‘Arctic Host, Icy Visit’
In July 1999, when the Chinese Government declared war on a peaceful spiritual movement called Falun Gong, few expected that a showdown would take place in one of the most remote countries in
the world. Yet when President Jiang Zemin paid an official visit to Iceland in June 2002, the heart of the harsh struggle between these two antagonists moved to the Arctic. In contrast to the violence of the anti-Falun Gong campaign in China, one would have expected democratic Iceland to be even-handed and to allow peaceful protests against Mr Jiang. But the host was in no mood to tolerate dissent: it banned Falun Gong practitioners from the country; used a blacklist to identify actual and presumed members of the spiritual movement; ordered the national airline to deny them passage; and arrested those who managed to slip through the net.
Arctic Host, Icy Visit analyzes these little-known events, situates them in the context of international law and global politics, and comes to the conclusion that that they are only one example of the multiple ways in which a rising China attempts to export its methods overseas.
Although the events of June 2002 were unprecedented for Iceland, they were hardly new for China. For Beijing, the world has become stage on which its fight against internal dissent is expertly waged.
For a variety of historical, cultural and political reasons, the Islamic veil has become an increasingly controversial matter in Europe. This is particularly the case in France, where in 2004 Parliament
passed a piece of legislation that prohibits students from wearing the Muslim veil (with any other conspicuous religious sign) in the classroom. ‘Veiled Threats?’ compares the French and US attitudes towards religious symbolism and the Islamic veil.
Against conventional wisdom, it argues that before the passage of the new law, the French and American legal systems adopted a substantially similar approach that respected religious insignia. This is hardly surprising, the book suggests, for the American conception of secularism is in many respects stricter than the French idea of ‘laïcité’.
The book also questions a number of assumptions and popular myths that accompanied the passage of the new legislation and that surrounded the so-called ‘affaire des foulards’ : that the French legal system is fiercely secular; that the American one is strongly religious; and that France was, back in 2004, confronted with a veritable ‘veil emergency’ that made the passage of the new statute all but inevitable. A work of comparative law and policy, Veiled Threats? touches on issues as diverse as religious freedom, freedom of expression, and secularism.