The End of History and the Last Liberal Peacebuilding: A Reply to Roland Paris
This article is a response to Roland Paris’s article, Saving Liberal Peacebuilding, published in 2010 in the same journal. Authors of this article have been criticized in Paris’s article and accused of misunderstanding or misinterpreting liberal peacebuilding.
In his article, Roland Paris rejects the view that liberal peacekeeping is in crisis. The authors disagree with Paris and maintain that there are serious problems to be addressed with liberal peacekeeping. They cite Somalia, Rwanda, Afghanistan and Iraq cases as examples.
Another criticism of Paris was the lack of distinction between UN-sponsored and imposed peacebuilding. The authors argue that regardless of the method, whether UN-sponsored, unilateral or multilateral, peacebuilding missions use force in the form of missiles, private security firms or NGOs. One way or another peacebuilding missions by external actors reinforces neoliberal principles, do not take local needs and agency into account.
Paris also criticized some scholars for holding modern peacebuilding missions as equivalent of colonialism. Although Paris believes that ‘there are echoes of colonialism in today’s peaceubilding’, he opposes to regard these two as equal. Paris argued that European countries benefited under colonialism but war-torn countries benefit in peacebuilding. The authors reply to this view by arguing that with liberal peacebuilding approach, liberal economic principles are established in war-torn countries which produce much benefit to the western countries. They argue that the ‘peacebuilding in Iraq was about imposing a neoliberal political economy particularly in oil industry and the US-run transitional administration, the Coalition Authority, presided over such blatant profiteering by a handful of (predominantly) US companies’.
The authors also do not find imposition of free market economy models to war-torn countries. They believe that rich countries impose trade and market regimes so free that they would not allow such regimes in their own country.
In conclusion, they argue that there must not be an imposition of negotiation over what type of peace is being built and for whom. We should be more open to criticisms and not afraid of encountering contradictions within liberalism.