Europe's New Security Challenges

By Heinz Gärtner; Adrian Hyde-Price et al. | Go to book overview

16
Peace Operations:
An Assessment
ERWIN A. SCHMIDL

At a first glance, one might be tempted to believe that by the end of the twentieth century we had already achieved a high level of international and collective security management. Mandated by the United Nations or some other body, international peace operations are undertaken. Observer, monitor, and verification missions are dispatched to crisis regions. Collective measures are applied against so-called rogue states such as Libya, Iraq, and Serbia. International courts punish some of the perpetrators of horrible crimes in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Are we finally on the way toward a better world, one in which national interests of the major powers are limited in favor of the welfare of all nations?

If we examine these apparently positive developments more closely, however, it becomes clear that the increased international character of these measures is cosmetic rather than substantial. True, nowadays the powers find it often more appealing to act through (or disguised by) international institutions or arrangements rather than on an outspoken national or unilateral basis. But national interests still play the dominant—and decisive—role in executing security policies, for the United States as well as for other powers.


PEACE OPERATIONS AT THE END
OF THEIR FIRST CENTURY

The evolution of peace operations in recent years demonstrates these developments. Contrary to popular opinion, peace operations were not invented by the UN in 1948 (when the first observer missions were created) or 1956 (with the establishment of the Emergency Force in Egypt, and the advent of the blue

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