A high-level meeting at the United Nations tomorrow with Secretary of State Rice and her foreign minister counterparts in the Security Council will focus on piracy off the coast of Somalia. Column Lynch reports that the Bush administration will use this forum to push for a new U.N. peacekeeping mission for Somalia.
This is a bad idea on a number of fronts, and there is zero indication that the administration or the U.N. is serious about putting in place a genuinely credible force. There is no thirst among member states to contribute troops in Somalia at the current moment, and whatever U.N. forces could be scraped together would surely become the main target of insurgent attacks. In short, the Administration is pushing the United Nations to authorize a force that is designed to fail. This policy is the worst of both worlds: U.N. forces would be unlikely to create political or military stability in Somalia while giving shabaab militias a new foreign occupying force to attack.
The bottom line is that simply passing the buck to U.N. peacekeeping may be a politically convenient thing to do, but unless member states are willing to contribute money, troops, and invest serious political capital in a credible peace process such a mission has little chance of success.