Indeed, considering the conflict situations which the United Nations has been involved in since the conclusion of World War II, it appears that it has had more failures, and spectacular failures at that, than successes. Rwanda, Bosnia, Somalia and Kosovo are, without doubt, conflicts that will stand out as a testament to the United Nations failures in all of conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peacekeeping and peacemaking.
The source of the United Nations’ failure, its apparently persistent inability to fulfil its global peace mission, is the subject of much debate and controversy. Conflict management scholars, such as Clapham (1998) Ross (2000), Richmond (2001), Ghebremeskel (2002), to name but a handful, have identified various reason for the said failures, often presenting contrary explanatory arguments. Clapham (1998), for example, maintains failure to be a natural outcome of flawed peacekeeping, conflict resolution and conflict prevention models, while Ross (2000) maintains it to be a consequence of the UN’s lack of serious resolve. Ghebremeskel (2002), on the other hand, argues that failure is a by-product of the United Nations’ failure to appreciate the difference between peacemaking and collective security on the one hand, and its continued determination to adopt international as opposed to regional peacekeeping and conflict management efforts, on the other.
The former United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali, publicly acknowledged the United Nations’ failure at maintaining the peace and preventing conflict. As he argued in Agenda for Peace, this was largely because the peacemaking process was perceived of in either/or terms and not as a continuum which embraced all of conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peacekeeping and post conflict restructuring. The validity of the aforementioned, however, cannot be assessed without