9780684832333 / 068483233X

Deliver Us from Evil: Peacekeepers, Warlords and a World of Endless Conflict


Publisher:Simon & Schuster



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About the book:

War kills but so can peace. The notion of peace is as ancient as its martial adversary but behind its gentle fašade can lurk a deceptively difficult sibling. Experienced foreign correspondent William Shawcross cut his teeth with Sideshow, a corrosive dismantling of the Nixon administration's policy in Cambodia. Deliver Us From Evil sees him travel to a clutch of ragged corners of the globe--Bosnia, Kosovo, Cambodia, Sierre Leone, Rwanda, Nigeria, Afghanistan--each with individual circumstances, but all with similarly devastating results. The world may be post-Cold War but it still combusts with ferocious ease and light arms account for far more lives than heavy artillery. At the book's fast-beating heart is a frustrating dichotomy: that humanitarian relief is a frequent and increasingly complicated response that can often hinder recovery, and too often equip the oppressors. An earnest desire for conflict resolution can ignore the fact that cessation of war is only the start; as General Romeo Ballaire puts it, "Peacekeeping cannot be an end in itself--it merely buys time". The most optimistic passages here are when Shawcross travels with Kofi Annan, secretary general of the United Nations, an exceptionally sanguine and wise man trying to hold together an organisation which is less than its constituent parts, and bankrupt to boot. In the labyrinthine world of international diplomacy, thousands of miles are covered to advance an inch and egos are massaged relentlessly by hands that would perhaps rather break bones. Shawcross, part of a growing breed of dedicated inquisitors that includes Michael Ignatieff, Tim Judah and Fergal Keane, is not afraid to ask complicated questions to which there are as yet no adequate formulated responses. His valuable and vivid survey of a decade of human brutality, and the peacekeepers that stand against it, shows that "the road to hell can be paved in good intentions" but it need not prove a cul-de-sac. --David Vincent

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