5.0 out of 5 starsPioneering Practical Work on Future of Aviation — Not Just UN — in Peace and War, August 29, 2014
This book — I disclose that my chapter is one of two concluding chapters — is one of the most practical, comprehensive, and perhaps — we all hope — inspirational books to be published on aviation applications for peace and war in recent memory. Since Look Inside the Book is not available, I will first list the parts and chapters, and then summarize my appreciation for this pioneering endeavor.
PART I THE UN’S FIRST “AIR FORCE” 01 Planning, Organizing, and Commanding Air Operations in the Congo, 1960 02 Peacekeepers in Combat: Fighter Jets and Bombers in the Congo, 1961-1963 03 A Fine Line: Use of Force, the Cold War, and Canada’s Air Support for the UN Organization in the Congo
PART II AIRLIFT: LIFELINE FOR UN MISSIONS 04 Above the Rooftop of the World: Canadian Air Operations in Kashmir and Along the India-Pakistan Border 05 Humanitarian Relief in Haiti, 2010: Honing the Partnership between the US Air Force and the UN 06 Flying Humanitarians: The UN Humanitarian Air Service
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent First Step, Four Disappointments, January 2, 2013
This is one of the more useful reports to come out of the US Institute of Peace and its collaborative effort with the National Academy of Engineering and I highly recommend it for either free reading online at the National Academies Press (individual) or for library purchase for the information, intelligence, diplomacy, civil-military, stabilization & reconstruction, and decision-support sections.
The goals are worthy but overly scientific & technical (the cultural part always comes first): to apply science and technology to the process of peacebuilding and stabilization; to promote systematic communications among organizations across political and other boundaries; and to apply science and technology to pressing conflict issues. La di dah. I just want to know if there is a dead donkey at the bottom of this particular well.
Secondary and equally ambitious goals that their current staffing model cannot support: 1. Adopt the agricultural extension services model to peacebuilding 2. Use data sharing to improve coordination in peacebuilding 3. Sense emerging conflicts (at least they realize the secret intelligence world does NOT do this) 4. Harness systems methods for delivery of peacebuilding services.
FOUR STRONG THEMES MAKE THIS BOOK VALUABLE: 1. Data sharing requires working across a technology-culture divide 2. Information sharing requires building and maintaining trust 3. Information sharing requires linking civilian-military policy discussions to technology 4. Collaboration software needs to be aligned with user needs.
Phenomenal Contribution to UN and to Literature,August 13, 2011
Professor Walter Dorn is the de facto dean of the small number of scholars who study the specific topic of peacekeeping intelligence, or intelligence support to United Nations (UN) operations. Since his pioneering early studies of UN successes in the Congo in the 1960’s to his more recent articles on the introduction of the Joint Military Analysis Centre (JMAC) in Haiti, he is both the closest academic observer, and the most well-written in this area.
I read this book with great interest. It is the first comprehensive look at technologies that are directly applicable to the fulfillment of UN mandates, the design and security of multinational forces, the effective management of tactical campaigns, and of course being technical, it is the first and last word on surveillance technologies vital to peacekeeping and peace enforcement across vast regions.
Pending the “Inside the Book” feature being available for this just published book, here is the table of contents from my own copy.
1 Introduction 2 The Evolution of Peacekeeping 3 Monitoring: The Constant Need 4 Survey of Technologies 5 Aerial Surveillance: Eye in the Sky 6 Traditional Peacekeeping: Cases 7 Modern Multidimensional Peacekeeping: Cases 8 Current UN Standards: Starting from Near Zero 9 Challenges and Problems 10 Recommendations 11 Conclusions
I recently attending a conference on the history and future of UN Air Power, and in both my own presentations and those of others, “Peace from Above” was a recurring theme. The importance of assuring that UN elements have the best possible human and technical surveillance technologies cannot be understated–for modest investments–including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles–the UN can save lives, money, and time–on the latter point, Colin Gray, in Modern Strategy, observes that time is the one strategic variable that can neither be purchased nor replaced.
A word on pricing: as those who follow my reviews know, I will occasionally single out extraordinary books that are so grotesquely priced as to dishonor the entire publishing world. This book is perfectly priced, close to my standard of page count with one decimal. I salute the UN Press for bringing this book into the world. It should become a standard volume, not only for UN training classes, but for all war colleges as well as for commercial security training and operations.
Deborah Avant, Martha Finnemore, Susan Sell (editors)
5.0 out of 5 stars Pioneering work too slow to be published,July 24, 2011<
This is a very fine book that is also available free in conference form (search for <Who Governs the Globe conference>), but of course not paginated, formatted, indexed, and generally edited, all values of the book form.
The book should have been brought to market much sooner–three years in this modern era is very disappointing, especially when combined with the lack of follow-up. The Institute for Global and International Studies appears to have begun winding down in 2009 and its website is a a real disappointment. In brief, the collaboration represented in this book, which is superb, has not been continued. While it does not address the criminal underbelly of what Matt Taibbi calls the blending of finance and government into a massive crime family (see Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America), it is a fine foundation effort that touches on standards, norms, successes, and failures. It does not create a proposed methodology for further research, it does hit on the high points of authority, legitimacy, and accountability–attributes that many governments and corporations and NGO/IOs cannot claim to possess.
Everyone else is writing about governments that do not work, or NGOs that lies, cheat, and steal, or corporations that run amok and are predatory and corrupting. This book taps into norms and standards and possibilities, but it leaves a great deal unsaid, and clearly needs a follow-on volume that integrates academics, civil society, commerce, government, law enforcement, media, military, and NGOs/non-profits, with a deliberate focus on how they might strive to achieve what the UN High Level Panel on Coherence called for, the ability of disparate organizations to “deliver as one.” One policy-harmonization option is multinational multiagency multidisciplinary, multidomain information-sharing and sense-making (M4IS2), and sadly no one anywhere seems interested in this foundation topic.
With my last remaining link, I will mention Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, a book that was recommended to me by Tom Atlee (see his two books here on Amazon, one on co-creation the other on evolutionary activism). Today’s “system” is corrupt in the extreme, not least because of the information asymmetries between the 1% wealthy and the rest of us. What the book–and the general literature on IO/NGO empowerment with information technologies–do not address is how one achieves shared intelligence (decision support) such that corruption and waste are eradicated, and disparate entities are harmonized into delivering just enough just in time voluntarily–sharing information in real time is the key. If the authors and the Institute can delve into this more deeply, their potential contribution is potentially priceless.
“This path-breaking collaborative work illuminates complex social and political relationships that constitute governing authority in a changing world. New questions provoke deeper reflection than the term ‘global governance’ typically stimulates. Specialists need to read this fine book, and so do students.” Louis W. Pauly, Canada Research Chair in Globalization and Governance, University of Toronto
“This volume makes and illustrates an important fact about global governance today: it isn’t only or always the institutional form of actors – be they states, corporations, or NGOs – but their relationships with key constituencies and with one another that shape governance outcomes. Authority, the essence of governance, comes in many guises. I recommend this book highly.” John Gerard Ruggie, Harvard University
Academics and policymakers frequently discuss global governance but they treat governance as a structure or process, rarely considering who actually does the governing. This volume focuses on the agents of global governance: ‘global governors’. The global policy arena is filled with a wide variety of actors such as international organizations, corporations, professional associations, and advocacy groups, all seeking to ‘govern’ activity surrounding their issues of concern. Who Governs the Globe? lays out a theoretical framework for understanding and investigating governors in world politics. It then applies this framework to various governors and policy arenas, including arms control, human rights, economic development, and global education. Edited by three of the world’s leading international relations scholars, this is an important contribution that will be useful for courses, as well as for researchers in international studies and international organizations.
Going through the book I recognized several issues that could be corrected or could be addressed by other readings. For what it sets out to do, document the agonizing inertia and general lack of savoir faire of the United Nations bureaucracy and its political protocols, it is as good as anything I have seen.
It desperately needs some charts, timelines, anything to spice up the dry text. Even photographs. I would have liked more comparative information, such as side by side depictions of where different elements came down or different countries came down, on specifics.
The author strives to provide some historical background but gets it wrong on more than one occasion, to be expected when someone is not steeped in history or reading very deeply across the literature. Below I list some books that have helped me appreciate the larger context of terrorism as a symptom, not a threat. Terrorism is directly correlated with US occupation of foreign lands and US support for dictators….this is straight forward and absolutely shut out by those who love war for its selfish power to enrich the few over the many.
There are many more. See my many books lists, most captured in the two top lists, one positive, one negative, visible at REVIEWS at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog.
This book is fairly priced, well put together, based on deep real experience, and if you want minutia about how screwed up the UN system is on this particular topic (and generally incoherent on all topics), this is the book.
Backpacks Full of Hope: The UN Mission in Haiti describes the experience of a Chilean general as Deputy Force Commander of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) during the particularly turbulent year September 2005 to September 2006. It details the realities of commanding more than 7,000 men from eleven countries while working to fulfill the mandate of the United Nations in Haiti—to ensure a secure and stable environment, to support the transitional government in a democratic political process, and to promote and protect the human rights of the Haitian people.
Despite the enormous challenges of a complex scenario that included local violence and extreme poverty, the UN command succeeded in its mission, stabilizing the local situation and paving the way for Haiti to hold a presidential election.
Originally published as Mision en Haiti, con la mochila cargada de esperanzas, this work provides a new audience with insight on the peace operation and sheds light on the long-term endeavour of civilians, military, and local and international agencies to support Haiti’s path to prosperity.
There have been numerous attempts to engage the United Nations in a meaningful campaign against state-supported and other terrorist activities. But the inherently political nature of terrorism has made it exceedingly difficult to gain global consensus on who even qualifies as a terrorist, much less agreement on counterterrorism measures to pursue.
The rise of al Qaeda, the events of 9/11, the Madrid train bombing, and the London mass transit bombings provided the international community and United Nations with new impetus to respond to terrorism. Although a series of international conventions were adopted and a short-lived independent monitoring group was established, the strategy that UN secretary general Kofi Annan proposed to the General Assembly in May 2006 contains many proposed measures and objectives that remain unfulfilled, thus rendering the UN virtually impotent against terrorism.
As one of five Security Council–appointed international monitors on the measures being taken against al Qaeda and the Taliban, Comras had the rare opportunity to observe the UN’s counterterrorism activities. He delves into the UN’s role in dealing with terrorism, explores the international political realities and institutional problems that make it difficult for the UN to successfully implement and monitor counterterrorism measures, and describes both the UN’s successes and failures, ultimately laying out a case for creating a stronger, more effective UN response. Flawed Diplomacy is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the war on terrorism and in gaining knowledge about the UN’s inner workings.
About the Author
Victor D. Comras is a leading expert on international sanctions and the global effort to combat terrorism and money laundering. A seasoned U.S. career diplomat, Comras frequently testifies before Congress on these issues and is a regular commentator on radio and television. His articles have appeared in numerous online journals and in the Washington Post, the Financial Times, and other publications. He is also a contributor to Terrorism Financing and State Responses: A Comparative Perspective (2007). He resides in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
First off, am really starting to pay attention to Right Livelihood, the Alternative Nobel that seems to avoid really big mistakes that have characterized the Nobel Peace Prize in recent decades (Kissinger to Obama). I first learned of this award when Herman Daly, conceptualizer of Ecological Economics, spoke at one of my conferences, and now I am going to look into this and post a listing of recipients at Phi Beta Iota, where all my reviews can be easily exploited across 98 distinct categories, something not possible here at Amazon.
I had the privilege of reviewing this book before it was published. Below is what I provided for use in publicizing the book, followed by my more detailed summary review provided here for the first time.
I have goose-bumps as I contemplate this book that I have just finished in galley form. The author is unique, a mix of Philip Caputo (Rumor of War), Robert Young Pelton (Come Back Alive), and Ralph Peters (Wars of Blood and Faith), with one huge difference–this man, this author, this son of Afghanistan who is red, white, and blue American–has given us the definitive book on all that is wrong with the American “way of war,” at the same time that he so clearly, so explicitly, so very simply, outlines the alternative path of how we can, we must, “wage peace” in Afghanistan. I am reminded by this author of Bonheoffer, of Gandhi, of Nelson Mandela. This is a book in which the souls of two nations come together, both dark and light, and we see in very personal terms, with deep cultural intelligence, that Afghanistan is unconquerable by force, but desperately seeking to connect and respond to kindness. It shames me that our government is so inept–and our population so abjectly disconnected from reality–that we have repeated Viet-Nam. Bagram Air Base is the Binh Hoa Air Base of my time; we once again seek to win hearts and minds while looking and acting like Darth Vader; and our military prisons are again filled with individuals framed by their enemies, imprisoned by gullible naïve uninformed Americans who mean well, but who are simply not trained, equipped, nor organized to wage peace.
Robert David STEELE Vivas Co-founder USMC Intelligence Center, #1 Amazon Reviewer for Non-Fiction, Author on Intelligence
Highlights for me personally as a former Marine (1976-1996) who lived in Viet-Nam as a pre-teen from 1963-1967:
EDIT of 6 Sep 2010 to add comments on books once received.
I bought this book, a real bargain, at the suggestion of Dr. Walter Dorn, the “dean” of the peace intelligence scholars, who cites the book with great favor in his own forthcoming book, KEEPING WATCH: Monitoring and Technology in UN Peace Operations, which I am going through now in galley form.
Now that I am holding it in my hands, here are some comments.
1) Published in 1966, it is a phenomenal, an utterly superb, historical review of League of Nations, Latin American Union, and UN peace observation missions from 1920 to 1965. The book concludes with a major section on “Strengthening Peace Observations.”
2) Right away I decide to donate this book to the George Mason University library without marking it up, nor am I reading it, having seen enough to understand why Professor Dorn recommends it so highly as a historical reference work.
3) The book clearly needs a sequel, from 1966 to date, over 40 years of new conflicts and new peace missions, and I make mention of this hoping that someone reading this review will be inspired to take on the project with many collaborators.
The Nobel Prize to Yanus was a righteous one–unlike the political idiocy of awards to Al Gore and Barack Obama. I can only hope that the Norwegian public shames its overly political Nobel Committee into getting back on track with awards such as this one.