Voice

Has Hollywood given up on peacekeeping?

In today's Washington Post, Ben Affleck calls for continued engagement with eastern Congo. His list of very sensible policy recommendations includes keeping a high-level administration envoy and monitoring compliance with recent legislation designed to track conflict minerals.

There's one striking omission. He has nothing to say about the U.N. peacekeeping force in Congo other than a vague reference to the role of the international community in providing an appropriate environment for elections. It's a striking oversight, given that Congo still hosts one of the world's largest (and most expensive) missions and that the force has reoriented itself to deal with violence in the east. Yes, Congo's government has called for the peacekeepers to leave sooner rather than later. And, yes, the current force has often failed to protect the civilian population. But is there really nothing to say about the role peacekeepers should play?

If U.N. peacekeeping has lost Hollywood, that's not a good sign. 

The Multilateralist

Robert Mugabe attacks the ICC

At the ongoing African Union-EU summit in Tripoli, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe reportedly took the ICC to task for only investigating Africa's leaders. "Why does this court not do the same with Tony Blair and George W. Bush, both of whom occupied Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people?" he asked. The ICC has been a significant background issue at the summit; Sudan is boycotting the gathering in response to European pressure on the indicted President Bashir not to attend.

Mugabe no doubt has several motives for attacking the court. First, he can milk the perception that he is fending off a neo-colonial enterprise disguised as international justice. And second, he can launch a preemptive strike against an institution that may, at some point, choose to target Mugabe himself (for an argument that it should, see here).