Multilateral security – a defining feature of the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) – with ESDP, has emerged as an important sub-field in international relations. Following WWII, with the amount of devastation delivered to Europe, the US stepped forward with a series of normative and realist strategies to enhance cooperation between Western states. Such drives were initially under the aegis of the UN and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in a bid to overcome the trials of the previous decades and to provide some frameworks to ensure a degree of international stability. Attinà and Irrera (eds), in Multilateral Security and ESDP Operations, commence from such an assumption and seek to demonstrate that Euro-Atlantic security collaboration, a result of provisions of Yalta (1945), has formed an anchor in international and regional relations. This is, according to the logic of the work, best seen through the policies and practises which have given rise to a political culture of peacekeeping and related, more normative, security additives. As such, the book is divided into two parts; whereas the first part captures the evolution of peacekeeping operations the second portion presents uniquely European approaches to this issue.
While a comprehensive understanding of Europe itself is presented, the first part of the work sharply observes the evolution of peacekeeping; showing transformations from operations which aimed at spreading spheres of political influence to more contemporary approaches where less material interests are represented. The authors contend that such differences are rooted in changes to the way political thinking – tactics and strategies – evolved. Specifically, the authors advance the claim that operations conducted more contemporarily, in times of relative peace and stability, are different in terms of motivations, from military to more complex; provisions for humanitarian aid, social stability, supervision of disarmament and the monitoring of elections.
Additionally, the authors emphasise multilateral and minilateral tendencies. Previously, (re: post-WWII period) only the most powerful states took part in actions under the aegis of the UN. In contrast, at present, the idea of minilateralism made it more popular to engage single states or even small groups in handling peacekeeping problems within the frames of international order and international law.
The intriguing element of such scholarship is the range of novel problems presented such as: the regionalisation of peacekeeping operations, NGO commitment and the influence of Security Sector Reform (SRR). Based on examples (re) East Timor and the South Pacific, the authors explain how regionalisation is steadily changing the notion of global peace operations. As a result, the authors conclude that regional aid can be successfully deployed.
Furthermore, the work seeks to unearth reasons for the increased multifunctionality of NGOs, which are no longer simply taking part in UN consultation procedures; they also enhance humanitarian interventions and peacekeeping operations. The authors suitably call them ‘knowledge-providers,’ ‘peace-facilitators,’ and ‘voice-articulators,’ indications that further analysis is required.
Changes to global safety, captured by the concept of SSR, is also considered. The work implies that SSR’s main actors; the UN, NATO and the EU do not take the rule of ‘local ownership,’ into full account and devote too much attention to the same conflicts and overlapping obligations which results in confusion and a lack of efficiency and transparency instead of well-provided activities.
In the second part of this work the authors provide evidence that the number of European peacekeeping operations has increased since the development of European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). Western European countries are more capable of carrying out missions on their own, without the UN’s support. They are more involved in other organisations’ and join hybrid missions’ activities. The authors claim that, although some observers are sceptical of some trends concerning European impacts on peacekeeping operations the issue cannot be omitted.
Multilateral Security and ESDP Operations provides an overview of the practice of peacekeeping operations which draws-in recent theoretical and empirical scholarship; heavily supported by statistics and graphic data. This work contributes to the growing discourses surrounding the EU and it take on international problems while captivating the readers with up-to-date empirical information and adequate case-work. This book is recommended to students and scholars of international relations, European studies and all the sub-fields located in between.