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Deliver Us from Evil: Peacekeepers, Warlords and a World of Endless Conflict Hardcover – April, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0756756338 ISBN-10: 0756756332

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 447 pages
  • Publisher: Diane Pub Co (April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756756332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756756338
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,616,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Foreign-affairs journalist William Shawcross travels around the world--Bosnia, Baghdad, and elsewhere--to paint a messy portrait of the post-cold-war world. Deliver Us from Evil is very much an on-the-ground book, full of reportage and descriptions of world leaders such as UN chief Kofi Annan. It includes a strong point of view: the dewy-eyed, do-gooder mentality that drives so much contemporary international relations is, as far as Shawcross is concerned, deeply wrongheaded. Peacekeeping missions often find that there's no peace to keep, and expectations of what they can accomplish soar far too high. "Today 'humanitarianism' often rules. It becomes a sop to international concern, and then it can be dangerous," writes Shawcross. Coupled with a world of instant media, where CNN broadcasts live from the killing fields, humanitarianism fuels a strong desire to have immediate reconciliation between warring factions. But it's a delusional goal, says Shawcross, pointing to the American Civil War and how long (even after Appomattox) it took North and South to reconcile fully. There's no reason to think other torn nations will respond more quickly. Peacekeeping missions often promise a heaven on earth they cannot deliver. "In a more religious time it was only God whom we asked to deliver us from evil," concludes Shawcross. "Now we call upon our own man-made institutions for such deliverance. That is sometimes to ask for miracles." --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The end of the Cold War may have reduced the threat of nuclear catastrophe, but shooting wars continued to ravage the planet throughout the '90s. Shawcross (Sideshow, Murdoch, etc.), an award-winning journalist, takes inventory of a decade's worth of conflict, ranging from Cambodia to Rwanda, Croatia to East Timor, and assesses the reactions of governments, the U.N. and humanitarian agencies to the carnage. The book proceeds chronologically, treating several crises in each chapter. In this way, Shawcross replicates the experience of those responsible for organizing the world's response to these fast-breaking, vicious little wars as they broke out, often simultaneously, all around the world. More significant than Shawcross's chronicle of these conflicts and their respective atrocities is his analysis of the ambiguities and paradoxes produced by the wars. He identifies the political forces shaping how the world selects some crises for effective intervention, while others merit platitudes and palliatives. Shawcross also explores how in some instances humanitarian aid, such as food shipments, serve only to supply the combatants and so prolong the suffering of the starving people for whom the food was intended. He gives evidence that while nations claim to rely on the U.N. as a peacekeeping mechanism, they withhold funds and complain of U.N. ineffectiveness. As Shawcross argues in this thoughtful and balanced account, we in the developed world "want more to be put right, but we are prepared to sacrifice less." Shawcross calls for greater consistency in how the developed nations react to '90s-style ethnic wars, so that nations can do something better than merely make the world "a little less horrible." In surveying the past 10 years, he makes a clear-sighted contribution to the policy debates of the next decade and beyond. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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By the books own rendering, "good will without strength can make things worse."
Robert David STEELE Vivas
So...I scoured the authors trying to see if something seemed to fit for a Naval Officer from the Vietnam War.
Professor's Lady
This is an interesting book and well worth it if you are interested in the topic.
John G. Hilliard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By hugh riminton on June 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
For most of the last decade, it seems to me, the world has been busy taking in the implications of the post Cold War environment. Out of this gestation there has recently arrived a flood of books. Geoffrey Robertson's "Crimes Against Humanity" details the development of the legal arguments for humanitarian intervention; Susan Moeller's "Compassion Fatigue" explains its political limits in terms of domestic apathy (blaming, rather too heavily I think, the media); Michael Ignatieff has written compellingly on humanitarian intervention from the perspective of a muscular-minded moral philosopher.. but Shawcross - more than anyone in my view - "tells it like it is."
Shawcross says his is a story of hope. It is hard to see how. With commendable clarity he charts the history of humanitarian-inspired interventions, focussing on the post Cold War world, when the end of superpower rivalries seemed briefly to make all things possible.
Encouraged by the apparent (though only partial) success of UNTAC in Cambodia, the "international community" (please God, let us find another phrase!) rushed naively and disastrously into Somalia (for more on this I recommend Scott Peterson's lively new memoir "Me Against My Brother"). The world powers then turned to water when confronted by the terrible challenge of Rwandan genocide. Shawcross writes powerfully of this, as Gourevitch among others have done. He also writes with chilling force of the events leading to the fall of Srebrenica, and the global pusillanimity that allowed Foday Sankoh his free and terrible reign in Sierra Leone.
As the century turns there are slim victories for those who believe the "good guys" of the outside world can bring peace to the blighted.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
EDIT of 23 Feb 08 to add links. This remains a priceless reference work.

This book is serious, scholarly yet down to earth, compassionate, insightful, terribly relevant and most useful to any citizen, overseas practitioner, or policymaker. By the books own rendering, "good will without strength can make things worse." Most compellingly, the author demonstrates both the nuances and the complexities of "peace operations", and the fact that they require at least as much forethought, commitment, and sustainment as combat operations. Food scarcity and dangerous public health are the root symptoms, not the core issues. The most dangerous element is not the competing sides, but the criminal gangs that emerge to "stoke the fires of nationalism and ethnicity in order to create an environment of fear and vulnerability" (and great profit). At the same time, humanitarianism has become a big part of the problem-we have not yet learned how to distinguish between those conflicts where intervention is warranted (e.g. massive genocide campaigns) and those where internal conflicts need to be settled internally. In feeding the competing parties, we are both prolonging the conflict, and giving rise to criminal organizations that learn to leverage both the on-going conflict and the incoming relief supplies. Perhaps more troubling, there appears to be a clear double-standard-whether deliberate or circumstantial-between attempts to bring order to the white western or Arab fringe countries and what appears to be callous indifference to black African and distant Asian turmoil that includes hundreds of thousands victim to genocide and tens of thousands victim to living amputation, mutilation, and rape.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Prauge Traveler on April 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book more than adequately explores the utility of international intervention from the mid sixties to the near present. Shawcross makes a point of the difference between our desire to end ethnic war and starvation and our willingness to risk the lives of our own military. This dillema is at the heart of most peacekeeping missions. I was amazed to learn that the numbers of troops promised rarely ever show up on time- if ever! Equipment is also often lacking. The collective attention span of our society is also part of the problem. Simply taking a crisis and making it a 15 minute phenomenon to be quickly forgoten when the press gets old will not create a long term solution. More commitment on the behalf of our politicians, and ourselves will be required in the future.
Perhaps most frightening is a thesis that slowly emerges which would indicate that sometimes a happy ending is not possible, that evil will occasionaly triumph despite our best efforts and that in some situations our best efforts will only serve to prolong a conflict.
These and more are some of the issues that Shawcross covers by taking the reader to multiple real world situations that most of us have heard something (but not enough) about. The chapters on Africa's wars were very revealing of the extent that our views can be shaded by the light that the media casts on them. While I knew that there were and are conflicts there, I had no idea of their extent and ruthlessness; almost to an extreme that makes the Balkans seem mild.
One criticism of this book is that I have been able to keep a distance from the events that it describes. Some books have the ability to hit you in the stomach with meaning and this falls just short.
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