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As a power with global interests, the United States has a strong concern for successful peace operations. Seldom if ever will its interests be well served by failure, especially widely publicized and expensive failures that tend to discredit the United Nations. Intended to assist the analysis of peace operations, this report provides a checklist of critical issues that should be resolved when a new peace operation is proposed or an existing operation is under review. Asserting that peace operations are too complex and too highly variable to follow a tidy set of guidelines, it offers issues to be resolved rather than guidelines to be followed. The issues are presented as a checklist organized around six headings covering the subject of peace operations: (1) amenability of the conflict to peace operations; (2) consent of parties bearing responsibility for the conflict; (3) mandate approved by the Security Council; (4) configuration of the peace force; (5) physical environment surrounding the operation; and (6) extent of international support for the operation. One broad issue is posed under each heading as a starting point for inquiry, then is divided into further issues forming the checklist. Each critical issue assumes different dimensions according to the type of operation that is being contemplated or is in progress. The five types of operations and their subtypes are those defined and illustrated in the companion volume, Soldiers for Peace: An Operational Typology (MR-582-OSD): observation, interposition, transition, security for humanitarian aid, and peace enforcement. As in that volume, the issues are illustrated with examples from the Congo to Croatia.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Commentary on Administration's Policy

  • Chapter Three

    Nature of the Conflict

  • Chapter Four

    Consent of the Parties

  • Chapter Five


  • Chapter Six

    Character of the Peace Force

  • Chapter Seven

    Physical Environment

  • Chapter Eight

    Extent of International Support

  • Chapter Nine


  • Appendix A

    Terms Used in This Report

  • Appendix B

    Agenda for Peace

  • Appendix C

    Standards for U.S. Involvement

  • Bibliography

    Select Bibliography

This research was performed within the International Security and Defense Policy Center of RAND's National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and the defense agencies.

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