Crisis in the Congo: A United Nations Force in Action

Crisis in the Congo: A United Nations Force in Action

Crisis in the Congo: A United Nations Force in Action

Crisis in the Congo: A United Nations Force in Action

Excerpt

THE CONGO has been a synonym for chaos and confusion ever since Belgian authority was abruptly withdrawn in the summer of 1960. Strategically located in the heart of Africa, nearly the size of Western Europe, and rich in resources, the new republic became the object of international attention within a week after independence day. When the Leopoldville government was unable to cope with the mutiny of its soldiers and the ensuing panic, it requested military assistance from the United Nations. The resulting four-year peacekeeping effort between 1960 and 1964 was the largest, most complex, and most costly operation ever carried out by the United Nations.

In this study of the Congo experience, special attention is given to the role of the United States without whose diplomatic, financial, and logistical support the operation could neither have been mounted nor sustained. The author, Ernest W. Lefever, examines the political, military, legal, and financial aspects of the novel effort and concludes with a general appraisal of the operation and observations which bear on the future prospects for internationally authorized peacekeeping missions.

Relying almost exclusively on primary sources, including interviews with many of the principal actors in the Congo drama, the author analyzes the peacekeeping experience within the larger crucible of international politics. The operation is seen as a reflection of the widespread interest in decolonization and the less widely shared interest in political stability in Central Africa . . .

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