Excerpt from UN Peacekeeping in Africa by Adekeye Adebajo
In Adekeye Adebajo’s new book, UN Peacekeeping in Africa, Adebajo analyses fifteen UN peacekeeping missions and offers lessons for future efforts in Africa. Read Chapters 1 and 7 from the book, respectively titled “Blue Berets, Burning Brushfires” and “From Burden Shedding to Burden Sharing”:
Introduction: Blue Berets, Burning Brushfires
This book is about the games that great powers play. These games often determine the outcomes of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions in Africa and elsewhere. After the first armed UN peacekeeping mission was deployed to end the Suez crisis of 1956, the politics of the Cold War would truly overshadow future missions, as most dramatically illustrated by the Congo crisis four years later. The first armed UN mission in Egypt had been created as a result of the machinations of Britain and France. Future peacekeepers would also succeed or fail based on these same machinations, for good or for ill. The Suez crisis of 1956, to a large extent, set the tone for the later Congo crisis. The United States and Britain lined up on the side of pro–Western Congolese leaders and sought to use the UN peacekeeping mission to oppose the “radical,” nationalist prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, in order to prevent the spread of Soviet communism (which was supporting Lumumbist elements) to this huge country at the heart of Africa. France refused to pay any peacekeeping dues and, later, from the 1970s, would attempt to draw the Congo into its neocolonial francophone sphere of influence in Africa.
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