In This Review

Intervention as Indirect Rule: Civil War and Statebuilding in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Intervention as Indirect Rule: Civil War and Statebuilding in the Democratic Republic of Congo
By Alex Veit
Campus Verlag, 2011, 300 pp.

With around 20,000 troops and an annual budget in the billions of dollars, the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) is easily the most ambitious and costly peacekeeping project in Africa. But the effort remains largely unstudied, so Veit’s book fills a void. He argues that like previous state-building missions in the region, MONUC lacks the legitimacy and capacity to act alone. It has mostly avoided relying on the antidemocratic intermediaries, such as local chiefs and “big men,” that central authorities depended on in the past, but has failed to adequately replace them with local or international nongovernmental organizations. The resulting jumble of international organizations, warlords, nongovernmental organizations, and local civil-society actors has combined with the remnants of the Congolese state to fashion a highly dysfunctional form of governance that fails to deliver peace and well-being to a long-suffering population. It is a persuasive analysis, but the absence of a policy prescription disappoints.