Perilous Interventions: The Security Council and the Politics of Chaos Hardcover – September 13, 2016
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‘The explosive narration unveils the whimsical decision-making behind bids to maintain international peace and security.’ – Crissie Delvy, Indian American Times
‘Throwing some light and plenty of fresh insight into a tangled web of misjudged decisions by the West is Hardeep Singh Puri, who was one of India’s outstanding plenipotentiaries in important global capitals. Puri rips the veil of faux altruism of these “high-end decision-making, often over $80 per head lunch” and talks of how a small group of the world’s most empowered diplomats represented on the Security Council discuss the use of force on other nations to effect regime change and how this “ill-thought out itch” to intervene results in disastrous consequence for the country, the region and the world. Puri’s conclusions are devastating in their forthrightness and he says categorically that ill-advised military interventions are not the answer to poor governance whose ideological underpinnings may not be in sync with Western philosophies.’ – Tarun Basu, Business Standard
‘[T]he book’s anecdotes on how diplomacy is made to work at the UN under seemingly hopeless circumstances are applicable to domestic political discourse. Puri’s account … holds valuable lessons for both [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi and Congress president Sonia Gandhi on how to take the country forward if they seriously consider the UN model.’ – K.P. Nayar, Telegraph
‘Puri’s terse and often gripping narrative, backed with excellent sources, shines a sharp light on the Security Council’s response—or lack of it—to some of the most terrible events of our day … [T]his [is a] badly needed book.’ – Arvind Sivaramakrishnan, Hindu
‘It is a book that every Indian diplomat should read because it models the kind of thoughtful engagement with international affairs necessary for diplomacy. It is also a book that should be read by close observers of international politics, because it removes the varnish off the wood and allows us to see what lies beneath.’ – Vijay Prashad, Wire
‘[The book] details the unravelling of mutual accommodation among the five permanent members of the [Security] Council, each with veto power, on issues of forcible intervention in the Middle East. With a bird’s-eye view on this significant geo-strategic train wreck, and a role in the action as the little-heeded representative of a major emerging power, Puri pulls the reader into the plot from the very outset of this fast-moving drama.’ – David M. Malone, Indian Express
‘Sitting at the high table of the UN Security Council, Hardeep Puri had a view of the many discussions that took place among the great powers planning to make “perilous interventions” across the globe.’ – Saikat Datta, Scroll.in
‘The book makes a powerful case for why reform of the UNSC is so crucial … [W]hat makes the book interesting is that much of the insights come from an insider.’ – Simran Sodhi, Tribune
About the Author
- ASIN : 9351777596
- Publisher : HarperCollins; 1st edition (September 13, 2016)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 280 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9789351777595
- ISBN-13 : 978-9351777595
- Item Weight : 14 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.75 x 9 inches
Best Sellers Rank:
#1,368,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #18,340 in International & World Politics (Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Puri, as an insider, outlines the principles and legal mechanisms, then runs through the events of the past few years since the Iraq invasion; each one of his chapters are models of concision, presenting the story of Ukraine, Syria, Lybia, and Yemen, among others, as standalone briefings to the uninitiated. It was high time that somebody in international affairs has approached the problem of "iatrogenics", i.e. harm done by the healer.
This book should be mandatory reading to every student and practitioner of foreign affairs.
While reading the book, one gets the impression that bilateral ties between nations and global corporate agendas – instead of global policy considerations – determine the actions of the United Nation’s Security Council to keep the world safe and secure. In a unipolar world, this is a dangerous trend as the will of a superpower might define the global narrative. This will lead to situations where consequences are not adequately thought through and are packaged more often than not as ‘human rights’ interventions.
The author brings in a very pertinent point of contrast between the interventions in Libya and (or lack of it in) Syria - how the P5 cherry-picked its interventions based on their own national agendas and conveniences. He then ties these (non) interventions to the current refugee crisis and the rise of ISIS. It is a fascinating description and analysis of how the Right To Protect (RTP) which developed as a reaction to the lack of action in Rwanda, resulted in monumental errors in decision-making and execution in its neighbouring regions.
Since the launch of the book in October 2016, there have been a number of recent developments in this arena. The US has launched cruise strikes in Syria and dropped the MOAB (“Mother of All Bombs”) in Afghanistan. Such attacks will most likely start a perilous round of attacks and counterattacks, which the author has often alluded to in the book. This chain of events ultimately ends up making an already chaotic and devastated region even more vulnerable and might add to the terrorist’s propaganda apparatus. In such situations, the role of international peace keeping agencies is often questionable- can they be the gatekeepers of peace? What mandate do they have to execute this role? What happens when they fail? Ultimately, one is left with the feeling at the end of the book that the Security Council is a group of human beings who have their own beliefs and follies. Then, in today’s interconnected world, does it deserve its haloed powers and status?- BB
Top reviews from other countries
Authored by an Indian Ambassador who was himself privy to many of the unofficial activities behind the official ones, it is one of the few books which offer a clear look into what goes on before the Security Council takes an official decision, or chooses not to, on matters which spell life, death & suffering for untold millions.
This useful compendium -- useful for practitioners & students of international affairs alike -- takes on a wide range of case studies, all of which record, in horrifying & gory detail, the unintended but foreseeable consequences of the wrong kind of intervention, the dangers of short-sighted policies & actions (in particular regime change) and the verdicts of history; the real gems in what sometimes reads like a political thriller, are the chapters on Libya & Sri Lanka!
While the subject matter of all the cases included isn’t new, the vantage point is -- i.e. a glimpse of the machinations behind the official Security Council proceedings: the outside world knows little about these, making all the more valuable these insights from an insider who twice presided over the Security Council during India’s tenure as a non-permanent member & voted on many of the important resolutions of our times – resolutions whose pernicious effects are still with us.
The author’s personal Introduction, too, is a very interesting read, showing his own bafflement at what he confronts during his years inside the closed Security Council “system”.
However, the reader is left with the nagging feeling that the author could have revealed much much more…..
Book review: Mr. Puri was permanent representative of India to UN for nearly 5 years. He had witnessed the turnings of time, the big decisions and indecisions of the permanent members and UNSC towards the middle east crisis. In his book, we have read about the UN dealings on crisis in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Crimea & Sri Lanka covered in a very unbiased, matter-of-factly manner, condemning the wrong and highlighting the good.
We see how selfishness of the powerful has caused millions to die from guns, bombs, starvation, drowning, how millions are displaced, fled country only to face tall walls. It is not only failure of the UN permanent members to see the crisis from the issue country's perspective but a major failure of UNSC to take action itself and also ensure fair application of sanctions, treaties by their authorised countries.
Time and again, US coalition forces have taken the wrong sides, funded and armed terrorist, but have preached others to not support terrorism. US has created monsters - Al Qaeda, ISIS. Destruction continues - Iraq, Libya, and now Syria, seems US doesn't want to learn from its mistakes and this denial is absolutely dangerous!
I do want to understand 1 thing though - Asad gov has iron fisted the initial peace rebellion. It was accused of using barrel bombs on its own citizens, hospitals. However late 2016 reports from ground activists have proved that these attacks were carried by the moderist groups. Does the Mr. Puri look at Asad in better light now(slightly, if at all)?
Highly Recommended. However please note that the book is very academic in structure and many may find it dry and scholarly.
Mr.Puri has given us an excellent insiders view with a great analysis on what is wrong. We have the Soviets to thank for the many vetoes which they committed on our behalf, however is it time this power is now curtailed ? The USA has misused this veto for Israel ,at times against their better judgement ,because of domestic compulsions. The Palestinians are the peoples who suffer because of the British and French' line in the sand 'and the lack of a leader like Ike to challenge the internal neo -conservatives.
Thank you Mr. Puri for making a lucid case for changes at the UN.