Peace at Any Price: How the World Failed Kosovo

Overview

In June 1999, after three months of NATO air strikes had driven Serbian forces back from the province of Kosovo, the United Nations Security Council authorized creation of an interim civilian administration. Under this mandate, the UN was empowered to coordinate reconstruction, maintain law and order, protect human rights, and create democratic institutions. Six years later, the UN's special envoy to Kosovo, Kai Eide, described the state of Kosovo: "The current economic situation remains bleak. . . . respect for ...
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Overview

In June 1999, after three months of NATO air strikes had driven Serbian forces back from the province of Kosovo, the United Nations Security Council authorized creation of an interim civilian administration. Under this mandate, the UN was empowered to coordinate reconstruction, maintain law and order, protect human rights, and create democratic institutions. Six years later, the UN's special envoy to Kosovo, Kai Eide, described the state of Kosovo: "The current economic situation remains bleak. . . . respect for rule of law is inadequately entrenched and the mechanisms to enforce it are not sufficiently developed. . . . with regard to the foundation of a multiethnic society, the situation is grim."In Peace at Any Price, Iain King and Whit Mason describe why, despite an unprecedented commitment of resources, the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), supported militarily by NATO, has failed to achieve its goals. Their in-depth account is personal and passionate yet analytical and tightly argued. Both authors served with UNMIK and believe that the international community has a duty to intervene in regional conflicts, but they suggest that Kosovo reveals the difficult challenges inherent in such interventions. They also identify avoidable mistakes made at nearly every juncture by the UN and NATO. We can be sure that the international community will be called on to intervene again to restore the peace of shattered countries. The lessons of Kosovo, cogently presented in Peace at Any Price, will be critically important to those charged with future missions.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The authors, both of whom have worked for the UN mission in Kosovo. . . have produced an excellent and timely book . . . . in which they suggest what has gone wrong in Kosovo and how such mistakes can be avoided by future international missions."—The Economist, September 21, 2006

"Cogent, timely, and comprehensive, this well written and often compelling book should be read by all who want to make a success of what the international community has so far mostly failed at—rebuilding states after conflict. Kosovo is, on a per capita basis, the world's most heavyweight modern attempt at reconstructing a state after war. It has so far failed and we need to know why, what went wrong, and what we need to do better. This book, written by two people who took part, is the first comprehensive study of the Kosovo operation and provides a much needed, balanced, and convincing review of what has happened and what we must not allow to happen again."—Lord Paddy Ashdown, GCMG, former High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina

"The UN occupation of Kosovo, although hardly as disastrous as the U.S. occupation of Iraq, has proven far less successful than many had hoped—and for many of the same reasons. Iain King and Whit Mason offer a lucid, insightful, and brutally honest insider account of Kosovo operation that anyone interested in the future of peacekeeping should take seriously."—Paul Glastris, Editor in Chief, The Washington Monthly

"The authors have lived and worked the issues they write about for years. The benefits are evident: a book that is profoundly researched, sensible, intelligent and important."—Jason Burke, The Observer

"Peace at Any Price is an important, timely, and comprehensive addition to our understanding of the difficult, but vital, process of conflict transformation. Iain King and Whit Mason provide a frank account of the international community's experience in Kosovo and a valuable guide to building stable societies in war-torn regions."—Dana Eyre, USIP

Foreign Affairs
The aim in winning the peace following the 1999 Kosovo war wasstated early and often: "to transform Kosovo into a society in which all its members could live in security and dignity." But that is not what has happened. Why not? Because it was a wrong war? No, say the authors. Because the mission was too much for the international community? No again. Because the wrong people were in charge? Once more, no. Rather, because too little was understood about the obstacles, too little was provided for the mission early on, too little was done to overcome the inevitable disunity among multiple agencies, too unrealistic was the timeframe. The authors end with ten lessons, among them: security before democracy, focus less on ending wars than establishing a just and sustainable peace, the "overall vision is more important than detailed objectives," and "a mission must be prepared to assert its authority from day one."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801445392
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Series: Crises in World Politics Series
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 1.10 (d)

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