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Power in Peacekeeping, Lise Morjé Howard

Reviewed by Jacob Kathman



In her second book, Lise Morjé Howard offers one of the clearest, most fully detailed renderings of the means by which the United Nations (UN) influences conflict and postconflict processes. In Power in Peacekeeping, Howard introduces the reader to what she views as the three primary means by which the UN’s efforts exert power over the actors that it seek to influence. Contemplating the means by which UN operations wield power is an interesting approach to theorizing on peacekeeping, as UN operations most often seek to act impartially, with combatant consent, and only engage in force when acting in self-defense. As Howard notes, engaging in compellence, or credibly threatening to do so, is a common means of influence used by states in conflict environments. Yet the UN has rarely engaged in such activities.

So how does the UN exert power absent these capabilities? Howard points to three ways in which it does so. First, UN missions and their personnel engage in persuasion in influencing conflict actors. Persuasion is a form of “soft” power in which the UN seeks to change actor behavior through the provision of information and ideas. This often comes in the form of mediation efforts, information campaigns, public shaming, and symbolic displays as a form of messaging intentions.

Second, the UN employs inducements, which

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