United Nations Peacekeeping
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“The United Nations is so radically defective that it is incapable of establishing world order; truth be told, not only has the UN failed [to achieve its peacekeeping objectives], but it was always bound … to fail” (Simioni 12). At first sight, it would seem that this is part of just one of the many current debates about the effectiveness of the UN as the main arbitrator of the international community. In fact, it represents one of the view points expressed in August 1947, soon after the failure of the first and only round of negotiations concerning the establishment of a transnational army under direct UN command (DEA 33). Since then, the controversy about the role of the United Nations in maintaining global security has remained an ever-current issue, with prominent political personalities contesting the reliability, and even the underlying principles of such an organization. In spite of the never-diminishing criticism, the UN remains a key player on the global arena, the only truly representative spokesperson for an increasingly complex assembly of peace-seeking nations. Moreover, ever since its establishment in 1945, the United Nations has achieved notable successes in promoting world peace, by delivering efficient peacekeeping and peacemaking operations, by diversifying its conflict-prevention measures, and by maintaining an equidistant and impartial position towards combatant parties. These standards have been considered essential in assessing the effectiveness of the UN throughout its existence. The neutral stance towards world issues was highly valued by the founders of the organization. Subsequently, former Secretary-General U Thant stated, “the basis of the UN is the pledge by sovereign states to co-operate… in [efficient] joint missions to alleviate conflicts worldwide… in a responsible and [fair] manner” (qtd. in Schoenberg xi). In later years the trend to broaden peacekeeping initiatives represented Kofi Annan’s main strategy of further enhancing the organization’s ability to cope with new geopolitical developments. Therefore, in evaluating UN successes it is essential to consider both quantitative and qualitative evidence supporting the three above-mentioned criteria.
From peacekeeping to peacemaking
Over the years, the UN has moved from traditional, observer-based peacekeeping to more complex and efficient “peacemaking” operations. In the very beginning of its preamble, the UN Charter ratified by the first General Assembly in San Francisco clearly affirms:
We the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, … [and] to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, … have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims (Charter qtd. in DEA 1-5).
However resolute, the mere assertion of peace as the main goal of the organization was not enough. In the tense political situation created after...