Very Brave or Very Foolish? Memoirs of an African Democrat

alt Author Quett Ketumile Joni Masire
Editor Stephen R. Lewis, Jr.
Published by: Macmillan Botswana Publishing Co., 2006
ISBN: 10: 9991240489 13: 978-9991240480

Reviewed by Tor Sellstrom, Senior Advisor to ACCORD
In Conflict Trends Issue 2 of 2007

In a modest, true-to-type Botswana way, this significant insider account of an African success story quietly made its way onto the market in late 2006. It is a fascinating tale, narrated by former president Ketumile Masire and edited by Professor Stephen R. Lewis, Jr (1). As the title informs, the memoirs are of – not by – Masire, based on approximately 65 hours of recorded conversations with Lewis. In addition to students of contemporary Botswana’s domestic and foreign policies, the narrative is highly recommended to those concerned with issues of leadership (passim, but in particular pp. 83-102), political and economic governance (pp. 146-245) and conflict resolution in Africa (pp. 301-316).

Unintended Consequences of Peacekeeping Operations

alt Edited by: Chiyuki Aoi, Cedric De Coning And Ramesh Thakur
Published by: United Nations University Press, 2007
ISBN: 10: 9280811428 13: 978-9280811421

Reviewed by: Geoff Harris, Professor of Economics and Director of the Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies programme at the University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
In Conflict Trends Issue 4 of 2007

Things do not always turn out the way you plan, and the unexpected often happens. This book examines the unintended consequences of peacekeeping operations (PKOs) – some of which were reasonably expectable, and some of which were not.

Unintended Consequences of Peacekeeping Operations contains 11 chapters arranged in four sections, with introductory and concluding chapters by the editors. The first section reports on the unintended consequences of PKOs for women; the second and third sections examine the impact of PKOs on the host economies and troop-contributing countries respectively; and the final section considers issues of accountability and the extent to which unintended consequences can be prevented or managed. The introductory chapter notes that there were ‘three unwritten chapters’ – on Aids, corruption and the United Nation’s (UN) response to various unintended consequences.

Understanding Peacekeeping

alt Bellamy, A.J., Williams, P. and Griffin, S.
Published by: Polity, Cambridge, 2004
ISBN: 10: 0745630588 13: 978-0745630588

Reviewed by: Cedric De Coning, Research Fellow at ACCORD and Advisor to the Training for Peace in Africa Programme
In Conflict Trends Issue 2 of 2005

Bellamy et al start their book with a quote by Alan James: “the fullest perspective on peacekeeping…is one which places it firmly in the context of international politics.” Understanding Peacekeeping provides a comprehensive introduction to the theory and practice of contemporary peacekeeping and attempts to contextualise peacekeeping in both the historical and contemporary international political systems. The authors argue that peacekeeping is “contemporary international society’s most sustained attempt to manage violent conflict” and that understanding the theory and practise of peace- keeping should therefore shed “significant light upon important trends and developments in global politics.” They argue that peacekeeping has always been an ad hoc response to particular problems, and that is why the concept defy simple categorisation based on the tasks peacekeepers fulfil in different historical periods. This is also why they feel an approach that focuses on the role that peacekeeping plays within wider processes of global politics is needed. The authors identify two key questions at the outset which they aim to answer in this book, namely: “what are the chief characteristics of the contemporary political environment in which peacekeepers operate, and how have peacekeepers come to understand their role within it?

Unbowed: One Woman’s Story

alt Wangari Muta Maathai
Published by: William Heinemann: London, 2006
ISBN: 10: 0434016314 13: 978-0434016310

Reviewed by: Karanja Mbugua, Senior Researcher at ACCORD
In Conflict Trends Issue 4 of 2006

Prof. Wangari Muta Maathai is the first woman in Africa to win the Nobel Peace Award, which crowned her international recognition in the field of environmental conservation. Unbowed: One Woman’s Story is her memoir.

Written in chronological order, the narrative is simple and descriptive. The book is divided into 13 chapters and an epilogue. It ends with a short story, which Prof. Maathai says was narrated by one of her aunts. Former US President, Bill Clinton, prefaces the memoir, but it has no introduction.

Towards an African Peace and Security regime: Continental embeddedness, transnational linkages, strategic relevance

Ulf Engel and João Gomes Porto eds.
Farnham, Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2011, 257 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780754676041

The anticipated establishment of an African Standby Force (ASF) in 2015 and the interim African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC), in the midst of new and continuing conflicts, have sparked renewed interest in the underpinnings of, and prospects for, the African Peace and Security Architecture. The unique African security environment, consisting of a revived continental organisation working to implement its policies through the capacities of eight recognised Regional Economic Communities (RECs), in the context of extensive external security sector involvement, presents questions for the sustainability and efficiency of this network of actors and their continued engagement. Answering these questions is the subject of this book.

To Walk Without Fear: The Global Movement to Ban Landmines

alt Edited By Maxwell A. Cameron, Brain Tomlin And Bob Lawson
Published by: Oxford University Press, South Africa, 1998
ISBN: 10: 0195414144 13: 978-0195414141

Reviewed in Conflict Trends Issue 1 of 1999

To Walk Without Fear is a comprehensive and authoritative account of the global movement to ban landmines. It brings together leading academics, senior policy makers, and prominent leaders of NGOs to examine and draw lessons from the ‘Ottawa Process’, which culminated in December 1997 when over 120 states signed a convention to ban the use, sales, and production of landmines.

Theories of War and Peace: An International Security Reader

alt Edited by E. Michael Brown, R. Owen Cote, Jr.; Sean M. Lynn-Jones and E. Steven Miller
Published by:(1998), The Mitt Press, London
ISBN: 10: 0262522527 13: 978-0262522526

Reviewed by: Senzo Ngubane, Research Officer, ACCORD
In Conflict Trends Issue 4 of 1999

This book deals with the theoretical issues around the concepts of war and peace. The first section of the book, entitled Realist theories of war and peace begins with a chapter by Mearsheimer that focuses on post-Cold War Europe. The section deals mainly with the question whether Europe would be able to maintain its peace and stability in a post- Cold War era. The analysis is done within the context of the bipolar world (Cold War) versus the multipolar world (post-Cold War). Drawing from the neo-realist theory of international relations, the first article presents four different scenarios for a post-Cold War Europe. The author concludes that Europe would face incredible destabilisation due to multipolarity as there would be no clear (military) power to ‘moderate’ the activities of other states. It is the absence of this great power that leads to anarchy with states pursuing their own national interests. The author seems to suggest that this could only be avoided if the United States and Russia continue to play the role of superpowers in Europe in order to maintain stability.

The State, War, and the State of War

alt Holsti, Kalevi J.
Published by: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996 (reprinted in 1997, 1998)
ISBN: 10: 052157790X 13: 978-0521577908

Reviewed by: Senzo Ngubane
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 1 No. 2, 2000

Attempts to offer an understanding of the relationship between war making and state creation in the world have been undertaken by many international relations and strategic studies scholars. In most of these attempts attention has been focused on how state making in Europe differed from that in other parts of the world. In this context, we have come across a number of publications on the collapsing or deteriorating of States in Africa. Linked to this is the question of war and how the world has come to understand it. In all these attempts various authors have tried to explain the changes that have taken place regarding the nature of wars and conflicts in the world.