The Syrian Civil War II

So it's official…ish. It's official-ish.  Or maybe not. The BBC reports that the UN Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, Herve Ladsous, seems to be the first official to publicly describe the Syrian civil war as a civil war, as opposed to something moving ever closer to that oh so elusive place. However, the article also notes that others have pushed back against this description (big surprise). Officials from the Syrian Foreign Ministry are opting to describe the conflict as follows:   Talk of civil war in Syria is not consistent with reality… What is happening in Syria is a Continue reading The Syrian Civil War II

A Newly Found Appreciation for the UN?

When I took my 10 year old brother for a tour of the UN the other day, I was not surprised when he insisted that the UN was actually an art museum. Even with my limited experience in the IR subfield (which includes one graduate level seminar and frequent exchanges with colleagues who study IR), I have come to realize that the UN is not considered a "serious" force in domestic politics around the world. Even using the word "force" seems inappropriate, because states can ignore the UN’s rules and very few of them are actually punished for doing so. Continue reading A Newly Found Appreciation for the UN?