What has been going wrong in the Democratic Republic of the Congo? Why has the most expensive UN peacekeeping mission in history been unable to end violence after fifteen years of continuous deployment? Why does the country reappear every year, without fail, among the world's largest appeals for emergency aid?
Follies in Fragile States explores how we got to this point. It is the first inside account of the 'stabilisation' effort in eastern Congo from 2007 onwards, cutting through the spin and academic mystification to identify the key decision points and where things went wrong.
The common threads are pulled together as the Five Follies key respects in which international engagement was simply not fit for purpose. Each is brought to life in policy-makers' own words, then contrasted with the ground truth of the individuals and communities who would make or break the stabilisation project.
The picture that emerges is a studied and often painful reflection of personal and institutional failure. It echoes the best muckraking work on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars-authors like Tom Ricks, Graeme Smith and Rajiv Chandrasekaran-but for a conflict that is infinitely less well-understood.
About the Author
Ian D. Quick is a consultant who has worked on stabilisation and post-conflict initiatives for well over a decade. This includes several years as an analyst and coordinator for the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, alongside varied work in South Asia and West Africa. Since 2012, Ian has run a London-based social enterprise to reinvent peer-peer learning for people working to mitigate serious crises.