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Erik Voeten on recent scholarship on UN Peacekeeping

Over at The Monkey Cage, my friend and Georgetown colleague, Erik Voeten, posts:

I wrote the previous post on UN peacekeeping as this was something I used to track closely but haven’t followed in the past five years. I was struck by the numbers as I gathered some graphs for teaching the other day. Holger Schmidt, who knows much more about this topic than I do, wrote to point me to two interesting papers that offer a much more systematic analysis of recent trends. The first, a 2009 article (gated) in the Journal of Peace Research by Alex Bellamy and Paul Williams, shows that Western countries engage in quite a significant amount of peacekeeping but for various reasons prefer to do so outside the UN framework. The second, a preliminary working paper by Jim Lebovic presented at the 2010 ISA conference, shows how patterns of contributions have shifted markedly in the second wave of post Cold War UN peacekeeping. Abstracts [follow] . . . .

Alex J. Bellamy and Paul D. Williams The West and Contemporary Peace Operations Journal of Peace Research 2009 46: 39-57

In recent years, senior UN officials have raised concerns about the decline of Western contributions to UN peace operations. Although this is a worrying trend for supporters of the UN, it does not mean that the West is playing a smaller role in peace operations per se. Instead, the West has increased its contribution to `hybrid’ peace operations and missions that take place outside of the UN system. This article examines the West’s contribution to both UN and non-UN peace operations since the Brahimi Report and assesses whether its contribution has markedly changed and what impact any changes have had on international peace and security. It proceeds in three sections. The first provides a historical overview of the West’s ambivalent relationship with UN peace operations since 1948. The second analyses the West’s contribution to UN, hybrid and non-UN peace operations. The final section explores what Western policies mean for international peace and security by assessing their impact on the UN’s authority, the extent to which they save lives and their contribution to building stable peace. The article concludes that while in the short term the West’s willingness to participate in hybrid operations displays a commitment to finding pragmatic solutions to some difficult problems, over the longer term this approach may weaken the UN’s ability to maintain international peace and security.

Lebovic, James. “Passing the Burden: Contributions to UN Peace Operations in the Post-Cold War Era” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Theory vs. Policy? Connecting Scholars and Practitioners, New Orleans Hilton Riverside Hotel, The Loews New Orleans Hotel, New Orleans, LA, Feb 17, 2

This paper assesses the changing composition of personnel contributions to UN peace operations (UNPOs). It proceeds as follows. It examines statistical evidence to establish that participation in UN missions grew enormously in the post-Cold War period and that increased participation by less-wealthy (aid-receiving) countries accounts overwhelmingly for these trends. Next, it assesses realist and non-realist accounts for state involvement in UNPOs and a potential role for international institutions in these operations should their staffing depend on “aid-hungry” states that seek to exchange their labor for the benefits of UNPO participation. It then presents a research strategy that focuses on global aid distribution patterns to determine whether UNPO personnel contributions are increasingly driven by financial and development motives, specifies a model (and discusses its constituent variables), and then tests it on cross-sectional time-series data for the 1992-2008 period. The paper concludes that the second post-Cold War decade was a significant departure from the first: whereas the capabilities and political preferences of contributors accounted for change in their personnel contributions to UNPOs in the first post-Cold War decade, an aid imperative helped account for such change in the 2001-08 period.

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Welcome! Who am I?

Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.