Several years ago, Ted Turner gave a great deal of money to the UN Foundation, which supports an online forum called the UN Dispatch. Today, the UN Dispatch publishes a piece by its managing editor Mark Leon Goldberg declaring any peacekeeping mission to Syria “a bad idea” and a “non-starter.”
The author argues that UN peacekeepers are only effective after a truce or peace, and they can then only deter resumption of a conflict. They cannot, however, enter a country without that government’s permission. Therefore, unless Bashar al-Assad blesses any such peacekeeping mission, the UN has no role.
As of now, the Assad regime has expressed no intention whatsoever of consenting to foreign troops operating on Syrian soil. Ergo, there is no chance the UN would even contemplate a peacekeeping mission. If, at some future point the Assad regime agrees to a ceasefire and invites a peacekeeping force to monitor and help implement the ceasefire or peace agreement, then we can start talking about a peacekeeping force. For now, though, the idea is basically a non-starter.
Alas, it seems that neither the United Nations nor self-described progressives have learned anything since UN dawdling over such arguments led it to stand aside as nearly a million died in Rwanda massacres in the mid-1990s. But, so far as Ted Turner’s money speaks, its message is “the UN will look the other way; let the massacres continue.”