[Decision-Making in the Security Council: The Case of Haiti]

Article excerpt


Oxford: Clarendon, 1998, 334pp, [Symbol Not Transcribed]50.00 (ISBN 0-19-829483-2)

David Malone's book provides an insight into the mechanics of United Nations Security Council decision-making as it relates to the case of Haiti from 1990 to 1997. It answers the central question: how and why the Security Council reached its decision on the Haitian crisis, and, following that, the restoration of the legitimate government in that country in 1994. In addressing this question, Malone's narrative details how the Security Council became seized of the matter, highlighting the motivation and role of principal actors in and around the Security Council from 1990 to 1997; the United States; members of the United Nations secretary-general's Group of Friends on Haiti; Security Council members; the Haitian protagonists; members of other relevant groupings at the United Nations; and the United Nations secretariat. It also examines the Security Council as an institutional framework for action and, in the case of Haiti, how the Council used the instrument at its disposal. Finally, the book assesses the success of the Security Council's approach in dealing with Haiti.

Malone begins with an analysis of the rise and decline of Security Council activism between 1990 and 1997, describing key developments and major trends in Council decisions in the period under consideration. He then turns to an overview of Haiti's history - an account that is rather sketchy and, as he admits, 'highly selective and incomplete' (p 37). Given Haiti's turbulent political culture characterized by struggle for absolute power since its independence in 1804, a more detailed and comprehensive account of the political history of that country would have helped to provide an understanding of events in Haiti in the 1990s.

In the following chapters, Malone describes the rise to power of Jean-Bertrand Aristide; the coup and the international response to it between January 1991 and November 1992; events surrounding the Governors Island Agreement between December 1992 and November 1993; United Nations Security Council authorization for the use of force and Aristide's return between December 1993 and October 1994; and the tasks of stabilization and peacebuilding between October 1994 and December 1997. …