Nearly 70 years after the United Nations first deployed its iconic blue helmets, demand for peacekeepers is on the rise.
In July, the United States teamed with India, the world’s second-largest contributor to international peacekeeping forces, to train African military officers and expand its influence in developing nations. Experts say the partnership, a first in U.S.-Indo relations, will serve two purposes: to draw the U.S. closer to its most important Asian ally and expand upon a key tenet of Western foreign policy.
“Increasingly, the West sees peacekeeping missions as part of a portfolio of policies to provide its own security,” said Jonathan Caverley, a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It’s not that the world is getting more violent, it’s that the West considers more violent places as important to national security.”
Several extremist groups are active in Africa, using violence to undermine and threaten fledgling democracies. Mark Weiner, a deputy programs director at the U.S. State Department, said the recent partnership would empower African military commanders to fight back against groups like Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab and the Islamic State.
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