Peacekeeping and counterinsurgency can learn from each other

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Washington, Feb 28 (ANI): A new study has indicated that despite the differences between peacekeeping and counterinsurgency, both these operations can actually learn from each other.

On the surface, peacekeeping and counterinsurgency have little in common: neutral, nonviolent end of war versus an inherently non-neutral, violent operation to win a war.

Yet the two are not so dissimilar, according to Dr. Andrea Lopez, associate professor of political science at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.

"Despite their very significant differences, there are areas of overlap. Such areas can provide suggestions for the improvement of both forms of military operation," she said.

Because both peacekeeping and counterinsurgency are notoriously difficult, it's increasingly important these operations look to one another for lessons.

"Counterinsurgent forces can be more successful if they act more like peacekeepers and peacekeepers can become more successful if they adopt characteristics of counterinsurgents," suggested Lopez.

"Counterinsurgents should increase their adherence to an unbiased 'good' or 'peace' in the search for legitimacy, and have greater willingness to negotiate with those factions willing to set down their arms. Counterinsurgents must also limit their use of force in waging the war," she said.

"Peacekeepers, on the other hand, should increase their ability and willingness to use force," said Lopez.

"While not fully compromising neutrality, they should also recognize their inherent support for the government put in place by the peace agreement directly or by subsequent elections," she said.

"Such a stance will enhance peacekeepers' ability to deter violators while at the same time not violating the adherence to a defense of the mandate," she added.

Neutrality is nearly sacred to the United Nations, and past missions where neutrality was compromised resulted in the deaths of peacekeepers and the inability to create peace.

Peacekeepers are limited in capability and willingness to use force and are often too few in number to pose a challenge to opponents.

"As with the need for peacekeepers to be willing to utilize force, the need to limit force for counterinsurgents is often more apparent in the doctrine than in the practice," said Lopez.

"The desire to engage in force protection, limiting the danger to one's own troops, can result in increased levels of violence," she said.

"But despite the limited likelihood of an adoption of these recommendations to peacekeepers and counterinsurgents to take on more aspects of the other, there is a possibility," she added. (ANI)

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