The role of the united nations in post cold-war environment

  1. The UN up to 1988
  2. The UN and the end of the Cold War
  3. The UN in action during the 1990's
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  • Created by: Tom
  • Created on: 22-04-14 11:22

The UN up to 1988

  • established October 1945 - compromised of 51 members
  • UN found itself called upon for numerous peacekeeping operations
  • cold war constrained UN as a peacekeeping force
  • security council members could veto - used frequently to reflect superpower interests
  • only 12 UN interventions 1948-78 veto primary cause of inaction
  • cold war paralysed UN interventionism. Peacekeeping only undertaken with unanimous voting
  • UN peacekeeping forces could not take sides
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The Un and the end of the cold war

  • 1988 - Gorbachev announced new Soviet relationship with U.N
  • UN peacekeeping offered the SU a way out of a 'bleeding wound' in Afghanistan
  • triggered shift in US policy - Reagan praised UN as an international peacekeeper
  • announced at general Assembly - "the Unite Nations has the opportunity to live and breathe and work as never before"
  • S.U and U.S agreed to pay their debts to UN to enable it to expand
  • Britain and France recognised they could maintain status and influence through UN's revival as international peacekeeper
  • US accepted it was more productive to use the UN as basis of international cooperation - rather than using its own force
  • clear that UN was facing different challenges in post cold-war era than it had in creation in 1945
  • true rebirth of post cold-war UN began with 1991 Gulf War
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UN involvement in 1991 Gulf War

  • Iraq invaded oil rich neighbour, Kuwait, August 1991 - UN security council passed 12 resolutions aimed at forcing Iraq to withdraw
  • Resolution 678 allowed member states to use 'all necessary means' to remove Iraq from kuwait
  • Iraq failure to withdraw by 15h January 1991 led to 28 power coalition being formed - removal of Iraq from kuwait. Coalition forces also bombed iraq itself.
  • raised the issue that coalition forces dominated by US forces
  • critics argue US created anti-Iraq coalition to serve US interests. UN was a tool to promote US influence
  • US used political + economic power in Security Council to ensure its own Persian Gulf agenda ensured
  • US promised financial packages to number of developing countries. Political concessions to S.U and China
  • US led coalition forces in Kuwait - they determined what strategic aims and methods of force would be used in iraq. UN Security Council merely bystander.
  • UN enforcement in Persian Gulf was first in post cold-war era - revealed limited power of Security Council in face of US determination to implement own regional agenda.
  • UN role in Persian Gulf more than peacekeeping - under direction of US driven intervention, UN moved toward enforcement and away from peacekeeping
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UN involvement in 1991 Gulf War

  • New UN role also emerged in international relations and international peacekeeping
  • end of cold war became clear UN faced greater challenges than could be met by traditional peacekeeping. Became clear mainly in 1990s
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Cambodia, 1992-3

  • Feb 1992 - Security Council established United Nations Transition Authority in Cambodia(UNTAC) - produce a 'just and durable settlement to the Cambodian conflict' based on free elections
  • achieved this goal within 18 months - needed to disarm/defeat Khmer Rouge guerillas and disarm government forces
  • May 1993 - UN succeeded in managing national elections. Once elections held UN began to withdraw
  • 10 years after UN withdrawal Cambodia developed slowly as liberated democracy
  • greater openness came and tolerance to criticism
  • Cambodia remained fundamentally unstable after UN left
  • problem for Un after Cold War was that superpowers no longer influenced member states. Also reduced superpower involvement
  • in Cambodia, UN was effective in establishing framework for democracy and stability, but lack of superpower influence undermined chances of change being long term.
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Somalia, 1992-5

  • superpower interest in Somalia faded after cold war
  • Somalian position on horn of Africa of vital importance to U.S when S.U backed revolutionary regime in Ethiopia during 1970's and 80's. US then backed Somali regime
  • by 1991 US backed regime had collapsed - all form of gov. ceased to exist - chaos became endemic. Ruled by warlords. 1/3 pop faced death from starvation
  • August 1992 Security Council established UN Operations in Somalia(UNOSOM) - aimed to provide humanitarian aid
  • Security Council set up United Task Force(UNITAF) to be under US control
  • Americans labelled Operation Restore Hope - succeeded in opening way for aid but didn't tsckle issue of anarchy
  • May 1993 - Security Council authorised UNOSOM II - would be under UN control
  • UN forces clashed with Warlord Mohammed Aidid - very violent - part of conflict = 'black hawk down'
  • UN operation faced 2 problems: reluctant of US to be involved and the operation shifting from humanitarian aid to nation building
  • May 1994 - Clinton reversed US attitudes to multilateralism. US participation was crucical, as was withdrawal
  • UN forces left Somalia in March 1995. operation turned in to enforcement rather than peacekeeping. Somalia did not consent to Un intervention
  • UN faced constant military opposition. Made peacekeeping impossible
  • 2003 - Somalia remained without gov.
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former Yugoslavia, 1992-5

  • UN failed in intervention of former Yugoslavia
  • International community faced a contradiction. Committed to both sanctity of state frontiers and right of self determination and protecting rights of ethnic minority
  • UN usually responded to a host state(to help them). Not the case in former Yugoslavia
  • should intervention aim to lessen humanitarian suffering or should it protect the sanctity of former frontiers?
  • in Yugoslavia the frontier issue was enforcement issue
  • Feb 1992 - UN established UN Protection Force(UNPROFOR) -"create the conditions of peace and security required for the overall settlement of the..crisis"
  • August - mandate extended to deliver humanitarian aid and empowered to 'use all means necessary' to achieve aims
  • mandate widened to create safe areas for refugees in Bosnia and using NATO to enforce sanctions
  • cooperation with NATO first of a kind for UN
  • July 1995 - 7,500 Bosnian Muslim men and boys massacred in Srebrenica by Bosnian Serbs
  • little evidence of UN enforcement action against these groups
  • November 1995 - Dayton peace Accords established. Ended UN's peacekeeping role in Bosnia + Croatia. Introduced NATO Implementation Force(IFOR) - among force of 60,000 were 20,000 US
  • enforcement role of UN became more prominent and urgent in former Yugoslavia than any other previous involvement
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Rwanda, 1993-6

  • April-June 1994 - 800,000 citizens of African state Rwanda murdered
  • victims mainly member of Tutsi tribe, attacked by majority Hutu tribe after their leader/president's airplane shot down over Kilagi airport 6th April 1994
  • further 2 million fled and 2 million refugees
  • May 1994 - UN force had already been inRwanda for 8 months. Role = facilitate Arusha Peace Accords between Hutus and Tutsis - widely believed UN mission was poorly prepared
  • UN response = indecisive and inadequate - no swift response or international pressure
  • UN reduced military forces after attacks against Belgian forces
  • June-August 1994 - French led Operation Turquoise - designed to stabilise Sotuh Western parts of country. French used presence to protect Hutu allies
  • July-August - US set up Operation Support Hope. Some humanitarian aid
  • UN failed to establish secure environment in Rwanda
  • many feared involvement may lead to hopeless long term commitment
  • humanitarian aid reached Rwanda but only after genocide complete
  • UN role in Rwanda seen as one of greatest failures
  • There was a UN force during the genocide, but it was not equipped or mandated to deal with genocide
  • Kofi Anan UN Secretary General - ignored calls in April 1994 from force commander, Dallaire, for more proactive role in stemming the growing genocide
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Kosovo, 1999

  • 1990's showed UN traditional approach becoming irrelevant
  • UN did not intervene in Kosovo until ceasefire established
  • some historians - UN security council largely ignored by western powers who used NATO to fulfil interventionist aims
  • undermined authority + credibility of Security Council + U.N
  • 1999 - Serbia began ethnic cleansing against Kosovan Albanians conducted by Serbian+Yugoslav army
  • Yugoslav president Milosevic constantly showed disregard for international opinion over Kosovo
  • January 1999 - U.S moving from diplomacy to military solution. Kofi Anan same position.
  • diplomacy not immediately abandoned
  • Feb 1999 - Britain, France, US, Germany, Italy, Russia attempted to broker settlement between Yugoslavia and Albanian Kosovan delegation
  • Milosevic unwillingness to compromise caused talks to collapse
  • March - NATO forces began 77 day bombardment of Serbian targets. Breach of international law as not given go ahead by UN Security Council
  • NATO secretary general, Solana, said it was justified in human terms and therefore legitimate
  • China + Russia saw NATO action as illegal. UN didn't care
  • Secretary general emphasised that Serbs stepped up ethnic cleansing. 1.8m ethnic Albanians displaced
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Kosovo, 1999

  • 3rd June - Milosevic agreed to end violence in Kosovo and withdraw all Serb forces
  • 10th June - Security Council adopted Resolution 1244 - NATO troops maintain security. UN mission in Kosovo(UNMIK) was to have authority over people and territory of Kosovo and its civil administration
  • UNMIK in charge of establishing self-government in Kosovo
  • resolution faced many issues
  • 800,000 refugees need repatriation
  • Serbians had destroying housing/hospitals/schools etc
  • UNMIK responsible for turning devastated Kosovo in to some degree of normality
  • security = responsibility of NATO, but no clear division between UN and NATO
  • UN policies i.e privatisation were poorly organised and implemented
  • ethnic Albanian's wanted independence but UN mandate required respect for Yugoslav sovereignity
  • UN simply out of its depth in Yugoslavia
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East Timor, 1999-2002

  • 1975 - Indonesia invaded East Timor
  • after long time indonesians agreed to hold referendum on future of territory
  • agreed it was to take placed August 1999 - UN secretary General responsible for organisation
  • Issue = whether people of East Timor wqould accept or reject autonomous status within Republic of Indonesia
  • June 1999 - UN established UNAMET - UN Mission In East Timor - conduct consultation. 30th August - 78.5% of people voted for independence
  • result was extensive violence - 500,000 East Timonese forced from homes
  • September - Indonesia accepted UN force authorised to 'take all necessary measures' to achieve tasks. Restore peace in east Timor. protect and support UNAMET , facilitate humanitarian assistance
  • with violence subdued by UN force+UNAMET - UN was able to establish Transitional Administration in East Timor(UNTAET), October 1999 - goal was to establish and maintain law and order, prepare state fro self-government and sustainable development
  • faced numerous problems - UN was offering limited and confused consultation to timorese people about their future
  • UNTAET succeeded in organising elections and paved way for independence
  • 20th may 2002 - East timor declared independent. UNTAET replaced by UN Mission of Support in East timor - remained scaled down peacekeeping force until 2004
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East Timor, 1999-2002

  • elections a success and carrier out peacefully
  • UN involvement represented steep learning curve - one that could be repeated in future UN operations which involve transtions to independence.
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Sierra Leone, 1999-present

  • civil war erupted, March 1991
  • July 1998 - Security Council established UN Observer Mission in Sierra Leone.
  • monitor economic + military situation in country
  • January 1999 - rebel forces approached capital, freetown,. UN observer mission evacuated
  • October 1999 - UN implemented UN mission in Sierra Leone(UNAMSIL) - up to 17,500 UN soldiers - many Nigerian + British
  • UN forces much more forceful against warring parties
  • mission in Sierra Leone declared complete + succesful in 2005
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impact of 9/11 attacks: Iraq

  • security council recognised the inherent right of individual or collective self defence - introduced resolution 1368
  • US declared military campaign in Afghanistan and focused on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. US sought legitimacy for its actions through UN
  • late 2002 Bush's admin becoming anxious to get Security Council to accept that only military action was possible - diplomacy would not work
  • US faced growing lack of support from UN members
  • Only Britian+Spain willing to back US demands for military action against Iraq
  • security council endorsed US military attacks against Taliban. France + Russia not convinced US had shown link between Iraq and terrorism
  • opponents of UN not willing to accept Buish Doctrine
  • the basis of US international relations in the new age of aggressive anti-American terrorism was to be founded upon the idea that Washington could decided what government, through its percieved links with terrorism, would be targetted.
  • security council set up United Nations Monitoring, verification and Inspection Commission(UNMOVIC)
  • US placed little faith in these agencies. Any lengthy diplomacy would reive US military power in iraq
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impact of 9/11 attacks: Iraq

  • Washington wanted to be free to use its power against any state that threatened US interests 
  • perception of a threat was sufficient - no need to prove link
  • US commitement to Bush Doctrine contrasted UN's commitment to regulate force through international agreement
  • US commitment to fighting terrorism deeply divided UN
  • Iraq did not present a danger to US nor was it closely linked to those who did.
  • US was always most important state in UN
  • start of 21st century growing opposition to US unilateralism within UN
  • US invasion of Iraq led to increase of opposition
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Darfur, 2003-4

  • fighting between gov. forces and rebels from Sudanese Liberation Army made thousands refugees
  • 2004 - 100,000 refugees + million others displaced
  • May 2004 - Security Council called Sudanese government to disarm Arab military groups - Janjaweed. Sudanese authorities agreed.
  • security council due to take more robust action but Russia+China abstained vote
  • China + Russia had economic interests in Sudan so opposed any UN enforcement there
  • even US had self-interest there and did nothing to push for UN intervention - US didn't want to undermine Sudanese cooperation against terrorism
  • Islamic states not willing to pressure other islamic states
  • Darfur Crisis showed lack of will to stop humanitarian crisis in Sudan. - no attempt to stop it in the first place
  • growing recognition within Security Council that humanitarian crisis were threats to international peace and security
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