History Optional Paper- 2 Solution – 2009: Q.8 (b)

Q.8 (b) Examine the peace keeping efforts of the United Nations Organization.


The peace keeping efforts of the United Nations Organization during Cold War era:

The UNO’s primary mandate was peacekeeping but the division between the US and USSR often paralysed the organization, generally allowing it to intervene only in conflicts distant from the Cold War.

Although UNO has had mixed success, the UN has been more successful than the League of Nations (created after the World War I) in its peacekeeping efforts, especially in crises  which did  not directly  involve  the  interests  of  the  great  powers,  such  as  the  civil  war  in  the  Congo (1960-4) and the dispute between  the  Netherlands and  Indonesia  over West New Guinea. Other success of UNO were the first UN peacekeeping force established to end the Suez Crisis in 1956 and the deployment of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus in 1964.

On the other hand, it has often been just as ineffective as the League in situations – such as  the  Hungarian rising  of 1956  and  the 1968  Czech crisis – where the interests of one of the  great powers – in  this  case  the  USSR – seemed  to be threatened,  and where the great power  decided  to  ignore  or  defy  the  UN.

With an increasing Third World presence and the failure of UN mediation in conflicts in the Middle East, Vietnam, and Kashmir, the UN increasingly shifted its attention to its ostensibly secondary goals of economic development and cultural exchange. By the 1970s, the UN budget for social and economic development was far greater than its peacekeeping budget.

The peace keeping efforts of the United Nations Organization during Cold War era:

After the Cold War, the UN saw a radical expansion in its peacekeeping duties, taking on more missions in ten years than it had in the previous four decades. Between 1988 and 2000, the number of adopted Security Council resolutions more than doubled, and the peacekeeping budget increased more than tenfold.

The UN negotiated an end to the Salvadoran Civil War (in El Salvador), launched a successful peacekeeping mission in Namibia, and oversaw democratic elections in post-apartheid South Africa and post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia.

In 1991, the UN authorized a US-led coalition that repulsed the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The hopes raised by these successes proved as a “false renaissance” for the organization, given the more troubled missions that followed.

The UN mission in Somalia was widely viewed as a failure after the US withdrawal following casualties in the Battle of Mogadishu, and the UN mission to Bosnia faced “worldwide ridicule” for its indecisive mission in the face of ethnic cleansing.

In 1994, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda failed to intervene in the Rwandan Genocide amid indecision in the Security Council.

In the late 1990s and 2000s, international interventions authorized by the UN took a wider variety of forms. The UN mission in the Sierra Leone Civil War of 1991–2002 was supplemented by British Royal Marines, and the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was overseen by NATO.

In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq despite failing to pass a UN Security Council resolution for authorization, prompting a new round of questioning of the organization’s effectiveness.

Under the current Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, the UN has intervened with peacekeepers in crises including the War in Darfur in Sudan and the Kivu conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and sent observers and chemical weapons inspectors to the Syrian Civil War.

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