The United Nations, Intra-State Peacekeeping and Normative Change

The United Nations, Intra-State Peacekeeping and Normative Change

The United Nations, Intra-State Peacekeeping and Normative Change

The United Nations, Intra-State Peacekeeping and Normative Change

Synopsis

This study explores the normative dimension of the evolving role of the United Nations in peace and security and, ultimately, in governance. The book examines both the UN's changing raison d'être and the wider normative context within which the organization is located. The study looks at the UN through the window of one of its most contentious, yet least understood, practices: active involvement in intra-state conflicts as epitomized by UN peacekeeping. Drawing on the conceptual tools provided by the "historical structural" approach, this study seeks to understand how and why the international community continuously reinterprets or redefines the UN's role with regard to intra-state conflicts. The study concentrates on intra-states "peacekeeping environments," and examines what changes, if any, have occurred to the normative basis of UN peacekeeping in intra-state conflicts from the early 1960s to the early 1990s.

Excerpt

Widespread intra-state conflict is not a new phenomenon. Its rise to the centre of attention in international policy circles is. un involvement in intra-state conflicts is not new either. What is new is the increasing systematisation of un involvement in conflict-torn societies. It is these two novelties of the post-Cold War world that shape the main concerns of this study. What is problematised here is the connection between the UN’s evolving approach to intra-state conflicts and the value system of the international community.

There should be little doubt that the UN’s frequent involvement in domestic conflicts contributes to gradual change in several international norms. As is the case with any systematised practice, the UN’s intra-state peacekeeping is certainly capable of creating, modifying, and eroding established international norms to varying degrees. the more interesting connection, however, lies in the question of whether the UN’s intra-state peacekeeping (quite apart from being either a ‘cause’ or ‘consequence’) mirrors a deep-running and more profound normative change in world politics, which is probably the manifestation of much bigger influences exerted on international actors and which has considerable impact on how violent conflicts are perceived, contextualised and addressed. Has the UN’s relationship with intra-state conflicts always reflected, and rested on, the same configuration or interpretation of significant international norms? If not, what has changed in the way the international community links the un with intra-state conflicts, and how? Equally importantly, does the suspected change hint at the possibly evolving normative significance of the un in world politics?

This study takes issue with the relatively reductionist explanations of what the un is and how it relates to peace and security. the post-Cold War systematisation of un involvement in intra-state conflicts, similar to any other un activity, has been variously attributed (implicitly or explicitly) to a number of factors, including, among others, the particular geopolitical . . .

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