UN Peacekeeping Limitations After Five Decades Thesis

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UN Peacekeeping Limitations

After five decades of international conflict, waged between the imperial champion of the communist ideology and the frontrunner for western democracy, the latter prevailed in the peaceful revolution of 1989. With the reunification of Germany, and two years later, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Cold War had ended with little immediately apparent violence or resistance. And from the perspective that the invasive and draconian presence of Soviet supported regimes had fallen in Hungary, Romania, Czechloslovakia and Poland, the end of the Cold War certainly appeared to light the way toward the pervasion of civil liberty, capitalist evolution and democratic policy representation.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Thesis on UN Peacekeeping Limitations After Five Decades of Assignment

In the midst of this deservedly optimistic atmosphere, however, loomed a large range of challenges which would obstruct any direct transition into the promises seemingly inherent to the post-War era. The collapse of communism had been a consequence of short-sighted economic appropriation, an unnaturally overbearing approach to individual freedoms and a neglect of infrastructure, human rights or basic Marxist principles regarding social equality. In the fallout of these systemic misapplications, "the removal of Soviet domination offered little in the way of a positive programme for reconstruction. The social legacy -- or damage -- of communism had to be addressed. In 1989, freedom had a bitter taste and the price that needed to be paid seemed exorbitant. Economically ruined, socially dislocated, corrupted, and demoralized by forty-odd years of communist rule" the populist movements of Eastern Europe would be left with a considerable vacuum in terms of resources, infrastructural capability or experiential wherewithal to create a 'new reality' for the former Soviet sphere. (Lovell, 67) in the fallout of the Cold War, a new reality had been forged in which countless states were thrust into an abyss of self-governance and, consequently, in which a great many local and regional conflicts would be provoked by a vacuum of power. Here, the role of the United Nations and of such world powers as the United States and the former Soviet Union would be essential in attempting to broker stability and peace in impacted regions.

The expansiveness of the Cold War meant that there were few parts of the world which had not been impacted. Such is demonstrated by the numerous examples in the 20 years since the end of the Cold War where UN peacekeeping efforts have been necessitated and/or applied.

Upon its creation following World War II, the United Nations took on the crucial responsibilities of mediating world conflicts, intervening with crises in which human rights were being violated and doling out justice for violators of international law. In order to serve in this capacity, the U.N. has had to maintain a mutable scope of power and responsibility, often to be shaped by the course of events and the demands of world circumstances. As such, the U.N. is equipped with what are referred to as 'implied powers.' Such are capacities that, through a loose interpretation of the U.N. charter, designate to the organization the ability to take actions and to make decisions which, while not explicitly entitled it by any constructed bylaws, would nonetheless be considered justified under its explicit responsibilities to the world community. In this way, recognize some, the U.N. charter is remarkably similar to the U.S. Constitution:

The foundational doctrine of the U.N. "presents sufficient similarities to federal constitutions, and especially to that of the United States, to justify - and to justify in law - the application to UN organs of that same doctrine of implied powers which provided the basis for the gradual extension of powers of the two most important organs of the United States central government." (Arangio-Ruiz, 1)

This helps to highlight the role which the United States has played in the philosophical and practical makeup of the United Nations, offering a model for the designation of a force with certain unspecified and generalized powers.

The outcome of these powers would be the establishment of a convention by which the U.N. would come to take action in the face of practical challenges to peace and global security. Its maintenance of global security is, of course, a markedly ambitious course of responsibility with its implied powers tending to the push the U.N. To a more moderated and pragmatic orientation toward peacekeeping rather than total global defense. This has rendered its role somewhat selective with respect to the missions which it adopts and executes.

This conforms with Durch's understanding of a force that has evolved only marginally with the changing of geopolitical logistics following the Cold War. Indeed, it would assume a role in world politics somewhat dictated by the restraint of the ongoing conflict between the U.S. And the U.S.S.R. As Durch denotes, "during the Cold War, the United Nations could not do the job for which it was created. Global collective security, the organizing precept of its Charter, was impossible in a world divided into hostile blocs. But the UN did manage to carve out a more narrow security role. As a 'neutral' organization it could sometimes help to bring smaller conflicts to an end, keep them from flaring anew, and keep them from leading to a direct and potentially catastrophic class of U.S. And Soviet arms." (Durch, 1)

It would be within this context of balance of selectivity that the United Nations would assume its current form and approach, which may be characterized by its frequently apparent limitations with respect to intervention and the provision of security. The juggling act whereby it has sought not to intervene with the affairs of the United States or the Soviet Union -- owing in no small part to the presence and influence of both in the permanent Security Council which renders crucial operational decisions for the United Nations -- has resulted in a capacity only to intervene in conflicts of a more modest scale. Durch characterizes this as the formulation of 'realistic objectives' which relate to the establishment of ceasefire agreements and the provision of a distinct go-between and separator of two aggressive parties. (Durch, 1)

The assumption of this role has formulated the United Nations as an organization which is fundamentally unfit for preservation of total global peace, so demonstrated by the conflicted identities, ideologies and interests of the U.S. And the Soviet Union. However, as a peacekeeping force, the U.N. can be identified to have both categorical strengths and weaknesses that in the period following the Cold War have manifested in its peacekeeping missions in the face of some challenges and in its fundamental failure to act in other instances.

As these examples are here considered, it is with the understanding that the United Nations would be innovative and progressive in its initial compromise with respect to its own limitations, which may be seen as particularly positive for preventing the U.N. from having become simply another warring faction driven by priorities based on global alliances such as had perpetuated the Cold War. To the contrary, "novel kinds of field operations were developed to support this work, which can be grouped into two categories: unarmed military observer missions (first utilized in the Balkans in 1947) and armed peacekeeping missions (first utilized in the Sinai in 1956). In this study, the term 'peacekeeping' is used as shorthand to reference both." (Durch, 1)

Among the most significant examples of U.N. peacekeeping intervention since the end of the Cold War, those which are indicative of both its strengths and its vast shortcomings seem also to have been directly produced by the half-century global conflict. In Somalia, Kosovo and Rwanda, we are given prime examples of the type of 'isolated' and idiosyncratic conflicts that Durch has described as appropriately figured for U.N. intervention. The ethnic tensions and violent hostilities which had unfolded in these locations in the early 1990s are indicative both of the problematic limitations which have handcuffed the effectiveness of the U.N. And of the opportunities which have been realized by way of urgent necessity. Further examples of U.N. shortcomings where peacekeeping was ultimately prevented by the failure of the U.N. To reconcile its collected individual interests as opposed to its shared charter goals may be seen in such contexts as Iraq and the Sudan today.

Somalia is a useful example both for illustrating the issues which have ultimately prevented the U.N. from acting with full latitude and necessary force where challenges emerge and for demonstrating the value in its long-term intervention. In the pullout of Soviet authority and the unraveling of its civil order with the retraction of the Cold War, Somalia entered into a dangerous power vacuum which left its citizens vulnerable to roving warlords who drew the African nation into distinct ethnic hostilities. This would be one of many modern examples of an impotent peacekeeping force which must stand helplessly as witness to ethnic atrocities while representatives vacillate over policy in the safety of the U.N. headquarters. Indeed, though the apparent challenges to the locale were sufficient to draw the arrival of a peacekeeping force in 1991, it was immediately… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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