The Paradoxes of Peacebuilding Post-9/11 - Stephen Baranyi

I had the opportunity to have Stephen Baranyi as a professor, so this review may come off as a little biased. But even had I not read this book for his class, I cannot deny that it raises some key points and recommendations for peacebuilding and peacekeeping in a post-9/11 world.

This book is filled with rich examples from various regions of the world. Focusing on successes, partial successes, and failures, Stephen and the contributing authors demonstrate that a cookie-cutter approach to peacebuilding and its related tasks (ex. DDR) does not work in all cases. By delving deep into a smaller number of cases, this book demonstrates the different aspects of "failed/fragile states" that either contributed or detracted from their ability to achieve long-lasting, sustainable peace in the aftermath of civil wars and other conflicts. Of particular interest are cases close to the "War on Terror", such as Afghanistan and the Palestinian Territories, as well as countries that have historically received large amounts of aid because of their strategic position, like Haiti (for us North Americans!).

One of the most important aspects of this book is the wide range of knowledge and expertise. Breaking from tradition, Stephen elicited knowledge and expertise from "Southern" scholars, which paved the way for new ideas in a debate that has historically been dominated by researchers from the North.

This book is an important read for any student or policy-maker interested in peacebuilding in the context of the "War on Terror", particularly those focusing on political-charged areas such as the Middle East.