Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Keeping a Middle East peace?: ‘Setting the conditions for a Palestinian state’

It would be even more difficult than you think, Exum and his posse conclude in a new CNAS study. They warn that recent history is replete with cautionary tales. I especially recommend chapters on the military and political "lessons learned." Written by Bob Killebrew and James Dobbins, these have application well beyond the Middle East. ...

GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images
GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images
GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images

It would be even more difficult than you think, Exum and his posse conclude in a new CNAS study. They warn that recent history is replete with cautionary tales.

I especially recommend chapters on the military and political "lessons learned." Written by Bob Killebrew and James Dobbins, these have application well beyond the Middle East. Killebrew observes that command in peacekeeping is intensely personal, more so than in other sorts of military operations. His conclusion will resonate with COIN fans: "the success of a peacekeeping operation rests in large part on relationships between the peacekeeping force and the population."

As a bonus, this study is better written than most such works. For example, Killebrew offhandedly uses the phrase "the rough freemasonry of soldiers everywhere."

It would be even more difficult than you think, Exum and his posse conclude in a new CNAS study. They warn that recent history is replete with cautionary tales.

I especially recommend chapters on the military and political "lessons learned." Written by Bob Killebrew and James Dobbins, these have application well beyond the Middle East. Killebrew observes that command in peacekeeping is intensely personal, more so than in other sorts of military operations. His conclusion will resonate with COIN fans: "the success of a peacekeeping operation rests in large part on relationships between the peacekeeping force and the population."

As a bonus, this study is better written than most such works. For example, Killebrew offhandedly uses the phrase "the rough freemasonry of soldiers everywhere."

I think this quiet volume will become an essential volume on the peacekeeping bookshelf. I wish I had read it before I covered the American-led peacekeeping operation in Haiti 16 years ago — it would have enriched my reporting.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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