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Peacekeeping and Collective Security - Essay Example

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Peacekeeping and Collective Security

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 relating Ghali's propositions to the dominant UN peacemaking paradigms, followed by an historical analysis of past conflicts.
2 The United Nations' Conflict and Peacemaking Approach
2.1 The Traditional Approach
Clapham (1998), a conflict resolution scholar maintains that the United Nations' has, since the conclusion of World War II, adopted a single approach to conflict management and peacemaking, failing to redesign that approach in light of both its proven shortcomings and the changed world order. Bertram (1995: p. 338) argues otherwise, insisting that the United Nations has not only reinvented itself multiple times in response to changing world orders but it has adopted numerous peacemaking, conflict prevention and conflict resolution models, allowing the circumstances of each individual conflict to determine the model to be deployed. Without disputing Bertram's (1995) claim at this point, a review of these models referred to is necessary for determination of their peacemaking, peacekeeping and conflict resolution/prevention efficacy.
Novosseloff (2001) and Richmond (2001) similarly argue that the United Nations has three different understandings of conflict and, therefore, three different response models. Within the context of the first, or the pre-conflict stage, identified through a ...Show more


The United Nations has three fundamental and interrelated responsibilities towards the international community. These are conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacemaking. The capacity of the United Nations to execute any of these responsibilities is inherently dependant upon its monitoring of potential conflict areas/zones/regions…
Author : kturner
Peacekeeping and Collective Security Essay essay example
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