The Politics of Peacekeeping in the Post-Cold War Era

The Politics of Peacekeeping in the Post-Cold War Era

The Politics of Peacekeeping in the Post-Cold War Era

The Politics of Peacekeeping in the Post-Cold War Era

Synopsis

This explains peacekeeping commitment decisions at the nation-state level and examines the political dynamics of such decisions.

Excerpt

Tom Woodhouse and Alexander Ramsbotham

The development of British peacekeeping policy (doctrine) and practice can best be explained in the context of forty years of experience in 'low-intensity operations', as Britain gradually pulled out from its colonies, often in the face of violent unrest and conflict. in the attempt to withdraw in some kind of orderly and controlled fashion, Britain became involved in a succession of counter-insurgency operations in places like Cyprus, Kenya, Palestine, Malaysia and Aden. the approach of British peacekeeping was defined in Keeping the Peace, published in 1963, which drew on experiences in the campaigns in Cyprus, Malaya and Kenya. During the 1970s and 1980s, experiences in the conflict in Northern Ireland shaped the British approach, as it was in the 1990s by experiences in the wars in the former Yugoslavia. the essence of British doctrine, going back to Keeping the Peace in the early 1960s, was that the use of force was only a means to an end. Military force in peacekeeping was necessary to create the conditions from which economic, diplomatic and political initiatives could achieve an overall solution to the conflict.

There was, however, a subtle difference in British thinking compared with the concept of self-defence characteristic of classic un peacekeeping. British doctrine allowed for the use of force more than reactively for self-defence. However, the use of force had to be positively justified in that each act must be constructive and not punitive. It was vital that the use of force was credible and impartial in order to fulfil another criterion of the British approach, the winning of 'hearts and minds' among the local population, and isolating insurgents and extremists. British doctrine also placed great emphasis on decentralisation and the delegation of command to the lowest level. in this chapter we trace the development of the doctrine and practice

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