An award-winning expert on international affairs and military history reveals the astounding truth about war: Peacekeeping is working.
Read the newspapers, and you'll be convinced war is worse than it's ever been: more civilian deaths, more rapes, more armed conflicts all around the world. But as leading scholar and writer Joshua Goldstein shows in this vivid, dramatic book, the reality is just the opposite. We are in the midst of a general decline in armed conflict that is truly extraordinary in human history.
Winning the War on War is filled with startling observations, including:
- 2010 had one of the lowest death rates from war, relative to population, of any year, ever.
- No national armies are currently fighting one another--all current wars are civil wars.
- UN peacekeeping actually works very well, and 79 percent of Americans support the UN, according to a recent poll.
Goldstein has compiled evidence ranging from the histories of UN peacekeeping missions to the latest Swedish data on armed conflicts. He tells the stories of peacekeeping failures such as Bosnia and Rwanda, but also the less heralded success stories such as Mozambique and El Salvador. In this "boots on the ground" account, Goldstein shows why global peacekeeping efforts are working--how large-scale looting, sexual assault, and genocidal atrocities are being stopped--and how we can continue winning the war on war.
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The astounding truth: peacekeeping is working
Preeminent scholar of international relations, Joshua Goldstein, tears down one of the greatest myths of modern history. Despite all the hand wringing, fear mongering, and bad-news headlines, peace is on the rise. Fewer wars are starting, more are ending, and those that remain are smaller and more localized than in past years. Incredibly, no national armies are still fighting each other--all today's wars are civil wars. This worldwide decline in armed conflict is crucially important for America's shift from a decade of war to an era of lower military budgets and operations.
Goldstein's groundbreaking analysis of the empirical evidence is convincing, but the real power of his argument lies in the accounts of experiences on the violent frontlines where peace must actually be put into effect. His vivid "boots on the ground" account shows how today's successes in building peace grow out of decades of effort and sacrifice by ordinary and extraordinary people working through international organizations, humanitarian aid agencies, and popular movements around the world. At the center of this drama is the United Nations and its sixty-year experiment in peacekeeping - overwhelmingly supported by American public opinion - which is making a measurable difference in reducing violence in our time.
Taking us from his own sleepless night in Beirut as shells landed in nearby streets, to the agonizing failures of the international community in Bosnia and Rwanda, to the recent triumphs of peacekeeping in West Africa, Goldstein tells the most exciting and important untold global story of our age. He shows how large-scale looting, sexual assault, and atrocities are being stopped, and how we can continue building on these hopeful and inspiring achievements to keep winning the war on war.
Joshua S. Goldstein is a professor at the School of International Service at American University; winner of the International Studies Association "Book of the Decade" award, among others; author of International Relations (10th edition); and a research scholar at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he lives.
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