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Modern Peace Enforcement: An honors thesis presentation

Tue, Nov 19, 2013, 4:30pm - 6:00pm


You are cordially invited to an honors thesis presentation on the topic of

Modern Peace Enforcement


Michael J. Flaherty
Senior Analyst, Africa – Europe Division, KENNEDY Irregular Warfare Center
IWP Class of 2012

Tuesday, November 19
4:30 PM 

The Institute of World Politics
1521 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036

Please RSVP to

Michael Flaherty will discuss topics first presented in his thesis, entitled Actively Seized: a new paradigm in peace enforcement.  His thesis begins with two basic arguments.  First, the United Nations is incapable of performing the peace enforcement function which was the primary reason for its existence.  Second, it is appropriate for the international community and global civil society to investigate alternatives from outside the UN system. By now, these are not bold arguments, but the ramifications of both arguments are quite complex.  They go well beyond the structure and execution of peace operations.  At their core, the arguments question the nature of modern statehood and the idea of nation-state sovereignty.  Consequently, the viability of the current international system is also called into question. 

After presenting case studies on peace enforcement operations in Rwanda and Sierra Leone to argue that the status quo is untenable, Mr. Flaherty will analyze three alternatives.  He will use recent failures and personal field experience, to create a constructive blueprint for fielding a credible operational force prior to mass graves being required. The first alternative considers the utility of fully implementing the peace enforcement structure of the UN Charter.  The second alternative evaluates the merits of private peace operations, given the proliferation of mercenary companies throughout world.  Alternative three, presented in the final chapter of the book, is a speculative application of Platonic theory which discusses a permanent non-state, non-profit solution to peace operations.  

Michael J. Flaherty received a Master’s in Statecraft and National Security Studies from IWP in 2012, after spending two years writing Actively Seized. Mr. Flaherty has spent more than a year working in Africa on behalf of the U.S. government, and previously served in the U.S. Air Force.

Important note: Attendance at all IWP events requires an RSVP in advance. In addition, prospective attendees must receive an e-mail confirmation from IWP indicating that seating will be available for them at the event. A government-issued ID that matches your name on the confirmed attendee list must be presented at the door for admission to any event. The use of photographic and/or recording equipment is prohibited except by advanced permission from IWP, the event organizer, and the speaker(s). IWP is a private organization; as such, all attendees are guests of the Institute.