Peace Keeping and Peace Making After the Cold War

by Lynn E. Davis


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This report addresses the challenges of peacekeeping and peacemaking after the Cold War, looking first at recent efforts to keep the peace and then suggesting a multifaceted approach for the future. It looks at operations in which the international community successfully cooperated--such as in Iraq, and less successfully so--such as in Cambodia and the western Sahara. It points out that bringing peace to post-Cold War conflicts will require the international community to take a role in helping build nations and, in the process, carry out such additional activities as monitoring human rights, demobilizing armies, providing administrative services, and setting up democratic institutions. The report defines five conditions that have been necessary for success in traditional UN peacekeeping operations: (1) the international community viewed the conflict of sufficient concern to intervene and was willing to take the risks and bear the costs involved; (2) a plausible political settlement to the dispute existed and could be defined in general terms; (3) the parties to the conflict were prepared to stop fighting and accept outside help in moving toward that political settlement; (4) the international community was essentially neutral as to how the dispute would be resolved, and it was so viewed by the warring parties; and (5) military forces had a role that was relevant to achieving the political settlement, e.g., as truce monitors, patrols in demilitarized zones, etc. For conflicts in which these conditions are met, the international community should seize the opportunity to play a role in bringing peace. When they are not met, the focus should be on nonmilitary measures such as establishing international norms of behavior--most importantly the assurance of the rights of minorities and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Peacemaking operations become the instrument of last resort because of their dangers and their difficult operational requirements. But in order to provide for occasions when they may be needed, the most important step would be for governments to place "volunteer" military forces under UN command.

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