The wait for international intervention can seem like an eternity for countries crippled by violence. Conflicts in places such as Kosovo, Libya, Rwanda and Syria claimed hundreds of thousands of lives while diplomats debated international action.
Heidi Hardt, a UT Arlington assistant political science professor, answers the question of why some international organizations take longer than others to answer calls for intervention in her new book, "Time to React: The Efficiency of International Organizations in Crisis Response." She also explores options for reform.
Although wealth and capabilities can strengthen a peace operation, Hardt argues that it is the unspoken rules and social networks in peace and security committees at international organizations that dictate the pace with which an operation is established.
"Humanitarian intervention is a consequence of the interdependent world in which we live. More civil wars lead to more demand for action," said Hardt, who joined UT Arlington in 2012.
She added: "Given that scholars have shown interventions to have a positive impact, the question remained why international actors consistently take months to engage. These delays cost lives."
Hardt builds on an original database of response rates concerning post Cold War interventions and on personal interviews with 50 ambassadors and numerous staff at four leading international organizations: the African Union, European Union, Organization of American States, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
One policy recommendation calls for organizations to reallocate resources to hold fewer formal meetings and to foster more opportunities for backdoor diplomacy. By encouraging positive interpersonal relations among representatives, the book argues that trust across traditional political divides can be built before crises occur.
Hardt's study revealed that 91 percent of the 50 ambassadors sai
|Contact: Bridget Lewis|
University of Texas at Arlington