David Rieff is the author of At the Point of a Gun: Democratic Dreams and Armed Intervention and, most recently, The Reproach of Hunger: Food, Justice and Money in the Twenty-First Century. His new book, In Praise of Forgetting: Historical Memory and Its Ironies, will be published in May. (April 2016)

Follow David Rieff on Twitter: @davidrieff.


The UN Fire Brigade: How Good?

Jean-Marie Guéhenno (center), then the UN’s undersecretary-general for peacekeeping operations, at a meeting at the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, with deputy special representative Joël Adechi and military adviser Major-General Randhir Kumar Mehta, Asmara, Eritrea, December 2005

The Fog of Peace: A Memoir of International Peacekeeping in the Twenty-First Century

by Jean-Marie Guéhenno
The UN has never had a standing army ready to carry out the directives of the Security Council. It has instead engaged, with varying success, in different kinds of “peacekeeping,” using forces recruited by the UN Secretariat. This started in 1948 when the first two UN military observer missions were …

An American Passion for Tyrants

Bill Gates, chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at the United Nations during the announcement of a joint initiative with the World Food Programme to help small farmers in developing countries gain access to reliable markets, September 2008

The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor

by William Easterly
One standard definition of “international development” is that it is the global effort by rich and poor countries alike, working in tandem, to dramatically reduce extreme poverty and want. At the same time, such development should foster the economic growth of poor countries, so they can share what Walt Rostow called the promise of abundance. That promise is sharply challenged as false by the economist William Easterly in his new book, The Tyranny of Experts.

Rwanda: The Big Risk

Narcisse, a Hutu in his early twenties, went to work for the American organization the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in the summer of 1994. The mass killing of hundreds of thousands of Tutsis by the Hutu-dominated regime in Rwanda had started in the spring of that year, and had ended …