Interventions: A Life In War And Peace by Kofi AnnanInterventions: A Life In War And Peace by Kofi Annan

Interventions: A Life In War And Peace

byKofi AnnanContribution byNader Mousavizadeh

Paperback | September 3, 2013

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A “candid, courageous, and unsparing memoir” (The New York Review of Books) of post–Cold War politics and global statecraft

Written with eloquence and unprecedented candor, Interventions is the story of Kofi Annan’s remarkable time at the center of the world stage. After forty years of service at the United Nations, Annan—who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001—shares his unique experiences during the terrorist attacks of September 11; the American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan; the war between Israel, Hizbollah, and Lebanon; the brutal conflicts of Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia; and the geopolitical transformations following the end of the Cold War. A personal biography of global statecraft, Interventions is as much a memoir as a guide to world order—past, present, and future.
Kofi Annan served as secretary-general of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006—the first sub-Saharan African to hold the post and the first to emerge from the ranks of the U.N. staff. He lives in Geneva, Switzerland.
Title:Interventions: A Life In War And PeaceFormat:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 8.4 × 5.5 × 0.94 inPublished:September 3, 2013Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143123955

ISBN - 13:9780143123958

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent book, but revealing the lack of the UN's reach Annan can be faulted for several of the world's crises during his reign, and perhaps now trying to make up for it in Myanmar. The UN is not much more of a peacekeeping force that has strict rules of engagement. Their decision-making is often held up at the UNSC with vetoes. The book is important to read because of Annan's stature, but also disappointing when semantics dominates the world's body and its action (or inaction).
Date published: 2018-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from All the world's his stage There is likely no better author to recap the past 50 years of global politics, conflict and development than former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Born into a politically aware and connected family, and working his way up through the United Nations organisation to become its first internally recruited leader, Annan has a rich story to tell. He recalls the players and episodes with clarity and unvarnished commentary, and is always diplomatic and principled in his criticism. For example, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair comes off poorly in the section on Iraq (Annan makes no secret of his dislike of this war), but extremely well in a later recounting of the difficulties in Sierra Leone; and Bill Clinton’s actions in Somalia are pilloried, but in East Timor praised. Annan judges actions rather than personalities, which will appeal to readers around the globe, regardless of their nationality or political stripe. For those of us used to receiving some or all of our news from US sources, the non-partisan perspective is refreshingly and emphatically global and non-American. The book starts with Annan recounting his personal role in the Israeli conflict, the Balkans, and Afghanistan, and his opinions on the position of major players such as George W. Bush, Blair, and Condoleezza Rice, before moving into the more traditional recounting of his family history. We witness how Annan developed his opinions over time, how those opinions showed up later in the policies of the UN, and in turn how those policies impacted the global theatre. Sadly, some opinions and policies came about belatedly: the experiences of Rwanda and Bosnia proved the need for force and not just peacekeeping. In looking back, Annan states “there were times when force was not only necessary but legitimate”. Without being critical of current leadership (though he has no trouble criticizing his predecessor Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s management style), Annan looks to the future and prescribes some changes for the UN, including the need for a substantially revamped Security Council, whose model is based on a post WWII geopolitical situation that bears little resemblance to today’s. He notes too how - with the development of today’s communication technology - the rise in the power of the individual has lead to political upheaval such as the Arab Spring, but also to challenges in the way the UN deals with the upheaval. The “emerging global convention of a ‘Duty to Protect’”, played out in Libya’s change of government, proved to be understood quite differently by China and Russia than it was by the US and its NATO allies. For Annan, all the world’s a stage, and while the major players have their exits and entrances, there are many, many character actors in the narrative, often with substantial impact on events or policies. Canada’s Romeo Dallaire and Lloyd Axworthy are notable for their roles in Rwanda and the ‘Duty to Protect’ doctrines, respectively; Austrailian Richard Butler for his disastrous tenure during the Iraq ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ inspections; and Bill and Melinda Gates for their philanthropic foundation. (U2’s Bono is unmentioned except for a quote on the dust jacket). Annan does not confine himself to global hotspots or conflicts, and in addressing the problems of Africa gracefully brushes aside Dambisa Moyo’s bestselling argument (Dead Aid) against “colonialist” aid to Africa, stating plainly that the issue is not the aid itself, but rather the leadership and institutions in the receiving countries. With today’s accountability for results, he says, the traditional blame of colonialism is outdated. A wide-ranging, intimate, and timely retrospective that will be enjoyed by all with an interest in global politics and development.
Date published: 2012-10-28

Editorial Reviews

"No one ever came closer to being the voice of “we the peoples” and no one paid a higher price for it. The world still needs such a voice, but the next person who tries to fill that role will want to reflect long and hard on the lessons of this candid, courageous, and unsparing memoir." --Michael Ignatieff, The New York Review of Books“Avoiding the nebulous rhetoric of many political memoirs, Annan instead provides a peacemaker’s invaluable perspective on those crises as well as insight into the daunting challenges facing international diplomats in today’s strife-ridden world." --Booklist“[A] first-hand survey of efforts to attend to the world’s ills, recalling an alphabet of post-Cold War U.N. peace work from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.” --The Washington Post“Written as part autobiography, part history lesson, [Interventions] is infused with Mr. Annan’s accounts of private encounters with world leaders.”  --Rick Gladstone, The New York Times“[An] interesting memoir… The accounts related by Annan… are worth every minute spent reading them. Nobody alive can quite match what he has heard and seen. As a bonus, he names names of national rulers and less well-known diplomats. For readers who want to identify heroes and villains, the book provides plenty of material. … With his book as his legacy, perhaps [Annan] will inspire younger individuals to make inroads against  incredible cruelty around the world.” --Christian Science Monitor“An insider's personal account based on lessons drawn from long experience.” --Kirkus“In this thought-provoking new memoir, Kofi Annan describes the peaceful and more equitable world that is within our grasp, and offers his candid perspective on the challenges we must overcome to get there. Interventions is a powerful reminder that the United Nations still matters—and must continue to matter if we want our new century to be more free, peaceful and prosperous than the last.”    --President William J. Clinton“Kofi Annan has been a powerful voice for the poor and a tireless advocate for peace. As a catalyst for international security and human rights, Annan reminds us that we, as a global community, are more alike than different. His life’s work demonstrates what is possible when we focus on the universal values of equality, tolerance and human dignity.”    --Bill Gates“Kofi Annan is a great global leader of our time. This wonderful book gives the readers a lucid and enjoyable understanding of the kind of reasoning and commitment that has made Annan such a force for good in the troubled world in which we live.”    --Amartya Sen"Behind the velvet tones of Kofi Annan's dulcet Ghanaian voice, there's a fearsome and fearless iron will, intent on finding solutions to some of the world's biggest problems."     --Bono“An insightful and candid account of the most defining and complex conflicts and peace deals of the last decades of the 20th century intertwined with the vision and the life journey of one of the most outstanding global leaders of our times. Kofi Annan marks his footprint in history with leadership values in which truth, humility and dignity are the weaving threads.”    -- Graça Machel, founder of the Graça Machel Trust“Kofi Annan gives a candid, clear and thoughtful account of his successes and failures in one of the world’s most challenging and thankless jobs.”    --Lee Kuan Yew, former prime minister of the Republic of Singapore