Peacekeeping, Policing, and the Rule of Law after Civil War, Robert A. Blair

Reviewed by Megan Shannon



In recent years, there has been a dramatic shift in what we know about the influence of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping. Informed by the UN's accounting of its peacekeeping efforts and supported by data collected by political scientists, researchers have uncovered a profound relationship between peacekeeping and peace. It is becoming clear that peacekeeping works, but what is less clear is why and how. Enter this masterful work on peacekeeping and the rule of law after civil war. In Peacekeeping, Policing, and the Rule of Law after Civil War, Robert A. Blair demonstrates that UN peacekeeping missions can significantly improve the rule of law in postconflict countries. This is an important finding, as establishing the rule of law is fundamental for recovering from civil war. Rule of law ensures that political leaders adhere to limits on their own power, that police maintain public order, and that individuals turn to courts or other legitimate third parties to settle disputes. Rule of law is also extremely difficult to establish in postconflict situations, because individuals emerging from violent environments are reluctant to trust nascent institutions and burgeoning political leaders. Blair marshals a massive amount of evidence to show that while building the rule of law is an arduous task, having UN peacekeepers on the ground can help.

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