|United Nations University - Work in Progress Newsletter - Volume 14, Number 3, 1995 (UNU, 1995, 12 pages)|
|Between peace-keeping and force - To fill the fatal gap...|
The nature of such a group - military, civilian, police, technicians - its terms of reference, rules of engagement, training, size, location, financing, relation to the whole UN framework of activity, all need to be carefully worked out. But the need to provide a better and quicker response to the present generation of UN problems cannot be questioned. Will governments seriously support such an initiative?
The early success of peace-keeping in the aftermath of the Cold War has to some extent created a confusing and disadvantageous situation. While some operations - in, say, Namibia, El Salvador, Cambodia -have been counted successes, the tendency to use peace-keeping as a panacea, or as a stop-gap when no other solution was available, has given rise to disarray and to the present loss of confidence in the UN as an active peace-providing organization.
Efforts to develop the concept of peace-keeping to meet the present generation of problems have not always been successful either. Witness the efforts at enforcing the peace in Somalia or at maintaining peace while supplying humanitarian aid in Bosnia. There have been equal problems in Bosnia in the try at peacekeeping using force provided by another agency, NATO.
Perhaps above all the tragedy of Bosnia has shown the UN and other international organizations are not able to deal effectively, and when necessary forcefully, with violent and single-minded factions in a civil war. The reluctance of governments to commit their troops to combat in a quagmire is understandable. Yet the Bosnian Muslims, among others, have paid a terrible price, and the credibility and relevance of international organizations have been dangerously diminished by what has happened in the Balkans.