Five generations of peace operations: from the "thin blue line" to "painting a country blue"

Cinco gerações de operações de paz: de "tênue linha azul" a "pintar um país de azul"

Abstracts

This article combines both international practice and analytical contributions into a systematic and synthetic presentation of the evolution of peace operations from their modern inception in 1948 to the present. It seeks to serve a didactic purpose in proposing a basic structure for Brazilian scholars' burgeoning debate on peace operations and intervention, rather than a definitive characterization of blue helmet practice. Peace operations' progression is traced through five analytical "generations," each adding a crucial factor distinguishing it from its predecessors. Each generation is placed in relation to changes in the nature of conflict and in the interpretation of the foundational principles of peace operations, and links to broader theoretical issues in International Relations are made explicit at each stage.

peacebuilding; peacekeeping; peace operations; United Nations


Este artigo integra a prática internacional com a literatura analítica em uma apresentação sistemática e sintética da evolução das operações de paz desde sua concepção em 1948 até o presente. Possui finalidade didática, propondo uma estrutura básica para o florescente debate acadêmico no Brasil sobre as operações de paz e a intervenção, em vez de procurar estabelecer uma caracterização definitiva da prática dos capacetes azuis. A evolução das operações de paz é rastreada por meio de cinco "gerações" analíticas, cada uma acrescentando um fator crucial permitindo sua diferenciação de suas antecessoras. Cada geração é colocada em relação com mudanças na natureza do conflito e na interpretação dos princípios fundamentais das operações de paz. A cada passo, explicitam-se as amplas ligações com os temas teóricos centrais das Relações Internacionais.

construção da paz; manutenção da paz; operações de paz; Nações Unidas


ARTIGO

Five generations of peace operations: from the "thin blue line" to "painting a country blue"1 1 See Rikhye, Harbotte, and Egge (1974). The phrase "painting a country blue" was coined by British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd to describe the exigencies of the UN's work in Somalia in 1992. See Lewis (1992).

Cinco gerações de operações de paz: de "tênue linha azul" a "pintar um país de azul"

Kai Michael Kenkel

Professor at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) (kenkel.iri@googlemail.com)

ABSTRACT

This article combines both international practice and analytical contributions into a systematic and synthetic presentation of the evolution of peace operations from their modern inception in 1948 to the present. It seeks to serve a didactic purpose in proposing a basic structure for Brazilian scholars' burgeoning debate on peace operations and intervention, rather than a definitive characterization of blue helmet practice. Peace operations' progression is traced through five analytical "generations," each adding a crucial factor distinguishing it from its predecessors. Each generation is placed in relation to changes in the nature of conflict and in the interpretation of the foundational principles of peace operations, and links to broader theoretical issues in International Relations are made explicit at each stage.

Keywords: peacebuilding; peacekeeping; peace operations; United Nations.

RESUMO

Este artigo integra a prática internacional com a literatura analítica em uma apresentação sistemática e sintética da evolução das operações de paz desde sua concepção em 1948 até o presente. Possui finalidade didática, propondo uma estrutura básica para o florescente debate acadêmico no Brasil sobre as operações de paz e a intervenção, em vez de procurar estabelecer uma caracterização definitiva da prática dos capacetes azuis. A evolução das operações de paz é rastreada por meio de cinco "gerações" analíticas, cada uma acrescentando um fator crucial permitindo sua diferenciação de suas antecessoras. Cada geração é colocada em relação com mudanças na natureza do conflito e na interpretação dos princípios fundamentais das operações de paz. A cada passo, explicitam-se as amplas ligações com os temas teóricos centrais das Relações Internacionais.

Palavras-chave: construção da paz; manutenção da paz; operações de paz; Nações Unidas.

Introduction

Peace operations have become an almost-daily facet of news reporting the world over, as well as a core focus of the academic study of international security. These operations now constitute the core of collective security2 2 On defining collective security, see Kupchan and Kupchan (1995). —and are perhaps the most well-known of the activities of the United Nations (UN). Today, peace operations3 3 There is much confusion over the nomenclature of blue-helmet missions. "Peace operations" is the most accurate and appropriate term to describe the global category of all types of operation across all the generations below, operated by the United Nations and other organizations. "Peacekeeping" operations refer only to a subcategory of such operations (the first generation below, which presupposes an extant peace to maintain) that now make up a very small part of overall activities and therefore is not an accurate term for the overall activity, as it does not include peace enforcement and peacebuilding. The term "operation" generally refers to a more broadly-cast endeavor than a "mission," which is a term more prevalent in the military vocabulary. It is therefore conceptually erroneous to refer to the global category as "peace keeping operations/missions"; rather, the adequate terminology is the more inclusive and accurate "peace operations." The name of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations is effectively an anachronism that should not confuse analysis. —now identified nearly synonymously with operations deployed or endorsed by the UN—are a natural outgrowth of measures such as mediation, negotiation, and conciliation, and have their implicit legal basis in those chapters of the UN Charter which deal with conflict resolution (VI, VII, and VIII). As a result of the changes wrought in international politics by events such as the end of the Cold War and the Rwandan Genocide, and forces such as globalization and mediatization, these operations have undergone profound changes since their early origins.

Grounded in the now extensive literature on peace operations and the attendant debates surrounding issues of armed intervention, this article seeks to combine both international practice and analytical contributions into a systematic and synthetic presentation of the evolution of peace operations from their modern inception in 1948 to the present. It seeks to serve a didactic purpose in proposing a basic structure for Brazilian scholars' burgeoning debate on peace operations and intervention, rather than a definitive characterization of blue helmet practice.

In doing so, peace operations' progression is traced through five analytical "generations," each adding a crucial factor distinguishing it from its predecessors. Alongside concrete changes in mandates and tasks, progress through the generations follows several axes, centred around the following factors: the state of the debate surrounding issues of sovereignty and intervention and the accompanying change in missions' propensity to use military force; the UN's attitude towards the conflict—varying from reactive to proactive—and the attendant type of peace, or form of conflict resolution, being sought; the concrete mandate and tasks that derive from the above factors; and the actors required to carry out the mandate. Each is placed in relation to changes in the nature of conflict and in the interpretation of the foundational principles of peace operations, and links to broader theoretical issues in International Relations (IR) are made explicit at each stage.

The historical progression of peace operations' practice

Over the course of the six and a half decades of their existence as a practice, the United Nations peace operations have undergone a series of fundamental transformations from their original nature and purpose. As these missions are firmly grounded in the practices of international politics, to fully understand them means to link them firmly with both conceptual advances and empirical events in international politics (Bellamy et al. 2010, 13).

Changes to peace operations have followed a number of central axes of change. The highest-order conceptual shift provides a common lens for the ensuing axes and consists of what Alex Bellamy and Paul Williams have termed a shift from a Westphalian to a post-Westphalian approach to world order (Bellamy et al. 2010, 30–33, 36–39). This shift takes the form of a number of progressive changes that are both conceptual and practical in nature and have been echoed in the practice of peace operations. The move to a "post-Westphalian" order is primarily paired with a reordering of the relationship between two constituent elements of the principle of sovereignty: the rights of states, principally to non-intervention in their internal affairs on the one hand, and, on the other hand, individuals' human rights.

In analytical terms, recent changes to the practice of intervention, as embodied particularly in fourth-generation peacebuilding operations (see ahead), also embody advances in the conceptualization of peace and security, primarily through such concepts as human security (inter alia, Canada 1999; Krause 2009; Kaldor 2007a) and Johan Galtung's notion of positive peace (1969, 1990). Growing attention to human rights and the attendant relativization of borders' inviolability is a direct consequence of the international community's failure to deal—including through effective peace operations—with large-scale human tragedies such as that occurred in Rwanda, Somalia, and Bosnia. As humanitarian concerns came ever more strongly to the fore, both in their severity and in their global mediatization (Robinson 2002; Strobel 1997), finding an effective way to address human crises came to occupy a central place in the rationale of peace operations.

In keeping with the shift to a post-Westphalian conception, peace operations have undergone a three-part cumulative progression in terms of their central purpose. First, to conflict resolution were added collective security concerns grounded in the Westphalian order, and later humanitarian preoccupations. Second, from being at their inception a case-bound conflict resolution tool, they became a key element in the attempt to reconstitute the core organizing principle of Westphalian sovereignty where crises and internal conflicts had cast its primacy in doubt. Finally, as in the wake of events such as Rwanda and Srebrenica the vertical component of sovereignty (human rights) began to gain ground on the horizontal notion of non-intervention, humanitarian concerns such as the protection of civilians and the distribution of humanitarian aid emerged as a key justification and motivation for the dispatch of an increasing number of peace operations. Peace operations thus sit today squarely at the intersection of political practice and academic inquiry (Paris 2000) related to conflict management, collective security and humanitarianism.

In terms of the practice of peace operations, it has become common to divide their evolution into subsequent "generations."4 4 Two of the earliest instances of this usage originate with scholars based at the Graduate Institute in Geneva: Ghébali (1992) and Abi-Saab (1992). See also the comparative table of paradigms in Durch with Berkman (2006, 7). While there is no consensus as to the exact delineation of these generations5 5 See, for example, the divergent models in Richmond (2002), Thakur and Schnabel (2001), Goulding (1993), Malan (1998), and numerous others. —and indeed as to the utility of such a taxonomy—, the approach taken in the next sections is to divide past practice into five distinct generations. Any conceptual "muddle" (Diehl 2008, 3) or confusion (Hillen 1998, 139) which might weaken the explanatory power of a division into generations is avoided here by the establishment of clear distinguishing criteria. Nevertheless as peace operations are a practice highly reactive to events in the field, their boundaries do not always correspond to the clean distinctions dictated by purely academic precision.

It is equally crucial to note that the progress of missions has been cumulative: the generations are built upon one another, sometimes within a single mission. Changes to mandates have seen operations shift from one generation to another, and indeed mandates typical of past generations have been issued well into the timeframe of a subsequent generation. However, this does not detract from their essential utility in the present context: they fulfil a purpose as an analytical aid to give contours to the conceptual and practical changes in these missions over their history.

Generations are divided on the basis of three main factors: the level of force used by operations' military pillar; the type and depth of tasks conducted by its civilian pillar; and in the case of the latest generation, increased UN load-sharing with regional organizations. Broadly put, as they have progressed through the generations, UN peace operations have moved from a reactive stance that seeks to freeze or palliate conflict to one that is proactive and seeks to influence its outcome.

Additionally, changes in the nature of conflict—principally from inter-state to internal conflicts—have significantly reduced the moral effect of the UN's presence, leading to increases in the use of force in the implementation of (primarily humanitarian) mandates. The last decades have seen the use of force between and even within states to go down, while the propensity of the international community to use force itself to enforce collective security has in fact gone up. As peace operations have established themselves in the UN toolbox, they have also undergone processes of strong professionalization and systematization based on a culture of building on past lessons learned.

As the progressive changes to peacekeeping practice are outlined in the forthcoming sections, the increase in the complexity and interrelationship of peace operations with ever broader elements of the study of international politics will be shown to go hand-in-hand with the increasing theoretical sophistication of the academic field of IR. This has led to an increase in the quality of conceptual analysis—and to ever more tie-in with the important questions in the academic field—as one progresses through the generations.

First-generation peace operations: traditional peacekeeping

Peace operations originally evolved out of the legacy of conflict resolution mechanisms left by the League of Nations. During the Cold War, UN missions engaged in what has become known as "traditional" peacekeeping. Peacekeeping only occurs where there is in fact a peace to keep: following an (albeit potentially temporary) end to armed conflict through a truce or ceasefire. Its objective is the creation of an environment conducive to efforts at peaceful conflict resolution by the belligerents. The hallmark activity of peacekeeping is the deployment of an interpositional buffer force between the frontlines, thus reducing contact between the forces and diminishing the probability of escalation or an accidental rupture of the peace. Other activities, always in support of finding a peaceful conclusion to a crisis, included monitoring borders, verifying demilitarized zones, and other tasks embedded in conflict resolution and aimed at creating political space for negotiation or mediation (Bellamy et al. 2010, 175–76; Hillen 1998, 79). Upon the attainment of a political settlement, traditional peacekeeping missions are withdrawn.

First-generation forces typically possess a mandate under Chapter VI of the UN Charter, are lightly armed, and operate under strictly limiting rules of engagement. The interpretation of state sovereignty prevalent during the Cold War era, which created a "vertical relationship" between states' rights and human rights, emphasizing the former (Aksu 2003, 81), placed tight restrictions on the nature of peace operations; these crystallized into three basic principles which (though subsequently significantly altered) guide peace operations to this day, and which Bellamy and Williams (Bellamy et al. 2010, 173–74) have termed the "Holy Trinity" of peacekeeping:

• The consent of the host nation(s).

• Impartiality6 6 See the International Committee of the Red Cross's fundamental principles (ICRC 2013). (equal treatment without discrimination) between the conflict factions.

• The non-use of force by United Nations troops.

The consent of the host nation is a prerequisite for avoiding the violation of the host states' right to non-intervention; impartiality is necessary in order to assure the effective functioning of the mission due to the maintenance of credibility with all sides involved; and the non-use of force reflects the idea that the UN is not a party to a given conflict but rather a presence sent to assist in its resolution.

First-generation peacekeeping itself went through a distinct progression in terms of tasks and force composition. Interestingly, this progression is not as firmly related to empirical developments or theoretical advances in IR as is the case in subsequent generations; the stabile foundation of the Cold War and the lasting dominance of Realism during this period did not allow for the same type of symbiosis as would emerge following the end of the bipolar conflict.

The first two such missions—the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, deployed in the Middle East, founded in 1948, and the United Nations Monitoring and Observation Group in India and Pakistan, active in Kashmir since 1949—are still active today, as is a force, UNFICYP, deployed to Cyprus following that island's partition in 1964. The first instance of groundbreaking innovation would come in 1956 with the sending of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) to the Suez. Here, as opposed to small teams of unarmed observers, the United Nations sent a fully-armed contingent—albeit acting under the strictest of limits as to the use of force—into a conflict situation to oversee the withdrawal of foreign troops from the host country's territory.

Given the far-reaching changes that have since occurred to peace operations, it is important to remember the almost revolutionary character of this innovation in 1956; UNEF was to set important precedents for all future peace operations (Hillen 1998, 82; Bellamy et al. 2010, 179–83; Rikhye et al. 1974, 47–70). The larger force was the result of the realization that small unarmed groups would not be able to cope with the bellicosity of the Suez situation (Hillen 1998, 87). Indeed UNEF was unable to prevent a recurrence of conflict in the region in 1967, as it possessed mainly a reactive mandate.

Nevertheless, UN practice continued to be heavily based on the notion of moral suasion—the idea, grounded partially in the ethos of peaceful conflict resolution, that parties would conform to the mandate and conduct themselves peacefully if the UN were present. In practice, however, UN forces always had to deal with varying levels of consent and, as a result, had varying success in attaining the goal of true impartiality (Bellamy et al. 2010, 191). Additionally, due to its passive nature, and firm grounding in pacific dispute settlement, first-generation peacekeeping has been accused of freezing conflicts and providing a disincentive to their final resolution. It is in this context that the expansion of UN efforts into a second generation should be understood: as the attempt to bring about conditions that would stimulate the resolution of a conflict and later inhibit a relapse through the resolution of underlying causes.

Second-generation peace operations: civilian tasks

The changes wrought in the scenario of international politics by the end of the Cold War led to profound changes in the nature and extent of peace operations. Paul Diehl has divided these changes into supply and demand for peace operations (Diehl 2008, 52–55). Demand for peace operations increased following the end of the bipolar conflagration as support for proxy wars on the African continent was withdrawn, requiring the international community's assistance in processes of political transition; in the Northern hemisphere, ethnic impulses earlier held in check by now-disintegrated Communist regimes led to destructive civil wars. This shift in the nature of conflict to what Mary Kaldor and others have labeled "new wars,"7 7 See, inter alia, Kaldor (2007b) and Münkler (2005). On the imperative for military intervention in these situations see Weiss (2007, 59–87). characterized most relevantly by the prevalence of internal rather than interstate conflicts, and the deterritorialization of conflict and a focus on identity, created an international scenario unforeseen by the Charter's sovereigntist authors (Fetherston 1994, 20).

At the same time, the end of the Cold War led to an increase in the "supply" of UN peace operations by lifting the blockade on effective Security Council action imposed by the superpowers' use of vetoes (Hillen 1998, 146–47; United Nations 1992, 1995). To this should be added an increasing consciousness of the international community's responsibility to provide humanitarian aid to populations in need following the highly mediatized famines of the 1980s (Diehl 2008, 54).

Accordingly, peace operations became easier to dispatch, but they were sent to ever more complex and dangerous contexts (Hillen 1998, 141). The results were more ambitious mandates and active involvement not only in "freezing" conflicts but in assisting the transition to peace. Out of this constellation evolved what have variously been termed "wider" (Bellamy et al. 2010, 193–213), "multidimensional" (Fetherston 1994, 23–44) or second-generation peace operations. These operations are characterized by the addition of civilian tasks related to political transition from conflict, without an accompanying increase in permission to use military force. Bellamy and Williams attribute to these missions six distinguishing features. Second-generation missions: take place within a context of ongoing violence; in a context of "new wars"; take on new civilian tasks; must interact with an increasing number of humanitarian actors in complex emergencies; often experience creeping shifts in their mandates; and suffer from a considerable gap in the relationship between their means and ends.8 8 Bellamy et al. (2010, 194–95).

Seeking to codify these changes in the international scenario, as well as potential UN responses to them, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali in 1992 issued his seminal Agenda for Peace. In it he draws broad conclusions for the post-Cold War collective security role of the Organization, assigning a central role to peace operations. The document establishes a typology, still valid today, of five types of activities that make up modern peace operations. Due to its origins as a UN document, the Agenda on this point adopts a strongly legalist framework, obliging it to distinguish between what are essentially Chapter VI and Chapter VII activities. The Chapter VI activities include:

Preventive diplomacy is action to prevent disputes from arising between parties, to prevent existing disputes from escalating into conflicts and to limit the spread of the latter when they occur.

Peacemaking is action to bring hostile parties to agreement, essentially through such peaceful means as those foreseen in Chapter VI of the Charter of the United Nations.

Peacekeeping is the deployment of a United Nations presence in the field, hitherto with the consent of all the parties concerned, normally involving United Nations military and/or police personnel and frequently civilians as well (United Nations 1992, ¶ 20–21).

Tellingly, Chapter VII-based peace enforcement is mentioned as a subheading of peacemaking, and UN officials tend to view it as an entirely different activity from peacekeeping9 9 Interview with Hédi Annabi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mission des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation en Haiti (MINUSTAH), Hotel Christophe (UN HQ), Port-au-Prince, Haiti, February 26, 2009. ; indeed the Agenda's distinction between peace enforcement and other peacekeeping activities would lead to a gaping chasm between the increased tasks of UN peace operations and the means placed at their disposal both for mandate completion and self-defense.

Typical second-generation missions' civilian tasks, added on top of classic first-generation military mandates, include the organization of elections (essential to conflict transformation from violent to political contestation); disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR)10 10 DDR is a crucial element of peacebuilding, on which extensive research has been conducted. See the work of the Small Arms Survey at < http://www.smallarmssurvey.org> as well as Faltas and DiChiaro (2001) and Muggah (2009). ; humanitarian aid delivery; human rights promotion, refugee assistance, and government capacity-building. A further important development is the increasing deployment of police forces (Diehl 2008, 57), both as trainers and in formed units responsible for law and order, which are now considered a full third pillar of peace operations. The growing list of tasks is reflected also in the 1995 Supplement to an Agenda for Peace (United Nations 1995, ¶ 21).

As such these missions contain the nucleus of peacebuilding, whose robust form—including the incorporation of peace enforcement, institution-building and, on occasion, the temporary exercise of sovereignty—constitutes peace operations' fourth generation (Diehl 2008, 50–55). As noted, second-generation missions were almost always deployed under the auspices of Chapter VI, meaning no changes were made to their rules of engagement. In essence this meant that the success of these missions would depend on the good will of the conflict parties, and in large part on the weight of the UN's moral suasion. Therefore, in contexts where these prerequisites existed, second-generation missions were able to accrue a number of remarkable successes in assisting transitions and in implementing peace accords. Successful missions include the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) in Namibia; the United Nations Operation in Mozambique (UNOMOZ), and the United Nations Observer Group in El Salvador (ONUSAL).

However, the growing gap between the tasks and outcomes expected of UN operations and the means placed at their disposal—both material and in terms of restrictions on their ability to enforce military compliance with their mandates—would lead to three devastatingly failed missions whose lessons would lead to a profound rethinking of UN peace operations. The "big three" failures of peacekeeping in the 1990s include the organization's failure to prevent or limit the Rwandan Genocide in 1994; its inefficacy in bringing about a political accord, coupled with relatively heavy military losses, in Somalia; and its failure to protect civilians and itself in Bosnia, symbolized by the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. Though second-generation missions continue to be deployed to this day, each of these missions would generate lessons that would have a profound effect especially on the "Holy Trinity" of peacekeeping principles, leading to the emergence of a concomitant but very different third generation of peace operations.

Third-generation peace operations: peace enforcement

Third-generation peace operations, or peace enforcement operations, are characterized by increased permission to use force to impose the aims of a mission's mandate, without significant departure in the nature of that mandate from the classic transitional tasks of second-generation mandates (see Osman 2002, 5–7). These missions are typically dispatched under Chapter VII. The particular developments that led to the emergence of a new type of peace operation can be found in the aforementioned three great failures of peacekeeping in the 1990s: the missions in Rwanda, Somalia, and Bosnia.

The experiences gathered in these missions had profound effects on peace operations' "Holy Trinity" of guiding principles. The United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM) demonstrated that UN action with humanitarian aims might be necessary in failed states where there was no government to give consistent consent (inter alia, Diehl 2008, 57), and that what consent had been given might fade over time; Croatian and Bosnian manipulation of consent for the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) to buy time to rearm during the UN arms embargo illustrated further problems with this concept. The Rwandan genocide revealed major issues with both impartiality and the non-use of force: in the face of glaringly obvious mass killings, which had been pointed out repeatedly by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR)'s own military force commander (Dallaire 2004), UNAMIR was not permitted to use force to take preventive action due to the Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) insisting on the Chapter VI nature of its mandate. The concentration of perpetrators on one side of the conflict created a moral dilemma for impartiality, which in moral terms later was deemed not to exist in situations of blatant moral inequality between the parties as in the Rwandan case (Donald 2002, 26).

The UN response to the lessons from these failures would center around the use of force. 11 11 See Glennon (2006) and Gazzini (2006), and, in a classic example of mistaken nomenclature, Blocq (2006). The seminal work remains, however, Findlay (2002). For explicit links to R2P see also Bellamy (2011, 162–95) and Thakur (2011). The link is made between liberal peacebuilding and the use of force based on the idea of the biohuman in Dillon and Reid (2009). Initially this was due to the increasing realization of the role played by spoilers (factions refusing to collaborate with the implementation of the UN mandate) (Newman and Richmond 2006). Increased permissiveness regarding the use of force also resulted directly from the moral aftermath of all three missions, which gave impetus to a growing shift in the balance between the two components of sovereignty, non-intervention and human rights.

Based on the "horror of inaction" (ICISS 2001, 1) with which the UN had been faced due to its persistent equation of sovereignty with inviolability of borders, and the ensuing strict limits on the use of force, human rights began to gain normative ground, and the predominance of states' rights over those of individuals increasingly became the subject of contestation. After an initial retrenchment phase in which no new missions were created during the late 1990s, this led both to a significant increase in the use of force by the United Nations and regional organizations authorized by it, and to the increasing inclusion of humanitarian impulses in the work of the UN, both inside and outside of peace operations per se.

These changes, together with lessons learned from previous failed missions and a number of previous UN difficulties, would be codified in August 2000 in the so-called Brahimi Report (United Nations 2000). Unusually frank in its criticism of the UN's weaknesses, the Report makes 69 concrete recommendations for ameliorations to UN peace operations in the areas of doctrine and strategy, deployment capacity, planning and support, and information policy. The Brahimi Report is a crucial document for understanding the nature and functioning of modern peace operations and stands out as a must-read source.

The debate over humanitarian intervention and peace enforcement and the relationship between human rights and non-intervention as components of sovereignty began in earnest in the late 1990s, and marked the first time that an issue central to peace operations would spark substantial and sophisticated production in the academic arena as well. Following the elaboration of the crucial concept of human security and its propagation by the Canadian government beginning in 1996, individual concerns increasingly gained ground as oppressive governments' right to use sovereignty as a shield against intervention came under scrutiny.12 12 For further bibliography, see the sources in Kenkel (2012a). Nicholas Wheeler in the seminal work Saving Strangers (2000) illustrates elegantly a progression of UN resolutions and actions that highlights the Organization's increasing use of humanitarian grounds as cause for action (see also Finnemore 2003).

The extreme form of the new predominance of human rights earned the name "humanitarian intervention," based on a putative "droit d'ingérence" elaborated by persons surrounding the founders of the French nongovernmental organization (NGO) Médecins Sans Frontiers (Bettati 1996). Not all interventions should be placed under this controversial moniker, however, and the vast majority of the UN's work is based on less strident attempts to balance human rights with those of states. Over the course of the last 20 years, both the Security Council and the General Assembly have increasingly taken up into their acquis issues such as the protection of civilians, human rights and humanitarian response. Attempts to find an equilibrium between non-intervention and human rights reached their apogee with the concept of the "responsibility to protect" (R2P) (ICISS 2001; United Nations 2009a).13 13 For further reading, see the sources in Kenkel (2008).

The first intervention to claim purely or even predominantly humanitarian motivation was the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) action against Yugoslavia over the conflict in Kosovo in 1999. This originally emblematic third-generation operation—which initially controversially went ahead without the endorsement of the Security Council and later served as the basis for a fourth-generation peace operation that is still ongoing—highlights an important characteristic of the carrying-out of peace enforcement missions. Many, if not most, of such missions are carried out not by troops seconded to the UN itself, but by regional organizations or coalitions of the willing authorized under Chapter VIII of the Charter (see Coleman 2007). This is true of the intervention in Kosovo, which is often seen as the quintessential peace enforcement mission, as well as the Australian-led International Force for East Timor (INTERFET) in 1999. These missions often possess a temporally limited mandate aimed at restoring a peaceful context in which the UN can carry out its civilian tasks. The combination of the heightened use of force and an increase in the invasiveness of operations' civilian transitional mandates designate the fourth generation of UN peace operations.

Fourth-generation peace operations: peacebuilding

The fourth generation of peace operations in the present typology consists of robust peacebuilding operations that combine elevated permission to use force with enhanced civilian tasks that are more intrusive in terms of their effect on local autonomy than in the second generation (Bellamy et al. 2010, 231). These missions are sometimes described in both national doctrines and analytical literature as peace support operations. Though there is widespread contention as to the analytical contours of peacebuilding as a concept, what remains the canonical definition of peacebuilding as UN practice is taken once again from Boutros-Ghali's Agenda for Peace (United Nations 1992):

action to identify and support structures which will tend to strengthen and solidify peace in order to avoid a relapse into conflict... (¶ 15).

comprehensive efforts to identify and support structures which will tend to consolidate peace and advance a sense of confidence and well-being among people. Through agreements ending civil strife, these may include disarming the previously warring parties and the restoration of order, the custody and possible destruction of weapons, repatriating refugees, advisory and training support for security personnel, monitoring elections, advancing efforts to protect human rights, reforming or strengthening governmental institutions and promoting formal and informal processes of political participation (¶ 55).

Peacebuilding came into being in earnest in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War—an epoch then heralded by many as the definitive triumph of free-market capitalism and liberal democracy. In addition, research findings in the early 1990s linking states' internal form to their foreign policy conduct—specifically the "democratic peace" hypotheses arguing that liberal democracies did not initiate war against one another—took on ever stronger influence within Western governments and multilateral institutions. The implementation of peacebuilding in practice thus ever more strongly took on traits associating mercantilist capitalism with a specific, liberal form of democracy (Paris 2004, 20–22, 35–47; Richmond 2004).

Full-scale peacebuilding missions in several ways constitute an important departure from the previous logic of peace operations as conflict management. As hinted at in the Agenda for Peace definition, peacebuilding is a more ambitious enterprise than administering an extant peace:

"[s]ome peacebuilding missions are dedicated to creating mechanisms under which conflicts can be managed peacefully rather than through violence. They include facilitating elections, [...] but also repatriating refugees and strengthening government institutions. Generally, peacebuilding strategies do not merely work to eliminate the immediate willingness of parties to use violence. They strive to accomplish the goals of conflict resolution: that is, such operations seek to facilitate attitudinal and relationship changes by disputants and their constituents (United Nations 1992; see Paris 2004, 38–39).

An extreme form of peacebuilding is the transitional administration, wherein the exercise of sovereignty over a given territory is effectively transferred to a UN peace operation and all executive, legislative, and judicial authority temporarily rests with the head of the UN mission. To date only two such administrations have been set up, the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). Both were established in 1999; UNTAET was transformed into a political mission after Timorese independence and UNMIK continues with reduced tasks at the time of writing. No further transitional administrations have been dispatched since. Though it falls short of formally exercising sovereignty, the Mission des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation en Haiti (MINUSTAH) has typical fourth-generation tasks (Fishel and Saénz 2007).

Peacebuilding missions' means of achieving their end, according to Paris, are pursued predominantly through the twin processes of political institutionalization and economic liberalization; the former, he argues in At War's End (2004), should take chronological priority14 14 For a more orthodox and positivist model of peacebuilding, see Doyle and Sambanis (2006). . The first of these aspects—consisting of direct external involvement in the shaping of government institutions—constitutes a subcategory of peacebuilding known as "statebuilding" (Paris and Sisk 2009, 14–15). Similarly, in the absence of extensive historical traditions in a Westphalian mould, the United Nations and other organization have engaged in what some have termed "nationbuilding" (Dobbins 2005). These increasingly intrusive forms of international engagement mark a significant shift in the goals of international intervention.

Oliver Richmond, one of the most prominent critics of the specific form peacebuilding has taken in practice, has, among other crucial questions, pointed out changes in the desired outcome of intervention. Rather than the traditional peacekeeping focus on the management of conflict and the return to a negotiated settlement based on parties' good will, peacebuilding seeks actively to resolve the root causes of conflict and to create, by force if necessary, the conditions for a lasting peace (2004, 84). Taken to a higher analytical level, this reflects the same shift, echoed by Bellamy and Williams, to a post-Westphalian mode of intervention (2004, 86).

The increased complexity of peacebuilding mandates and their increasingly ambitious tasks have led to a significant increase in the number of organizations and other actors involved in full-scale peacebuilding operations. These include regional organizations such as NATO and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE); UN specialized agencies, international NGOs and international financial institutions, among others. The effort required to coordinate these various actors and their partially divergent agendas is one of the key challenges within these operations, so much so that addressing the issues takes a prominent place in the most recent comprehensive UN document on UN peace operations to date, DPKO's Capstone Doctrine (2008).

Special attention is due one particular aspect of this division of labour. Peacebuilding operations, as noted above, combine a high potential level of use of force with a number of intrusive political tasks; indeed the same liberal paradigm that gives these missions their conceptual base appears to present a relatively high propensity towards the use of force for intervention. Here, as Richmond points out, one of the major problems is that the use of force and peacebuilding's civilian, non-military tasks are carried out by different actors with different origins, agendas, and political goals (Richmond 2004, 84, 87).

In part as result of their entry into more issue areas, the emergence of peacebuilding operations coincided with the emergence of more conceptually and empirically sophisticated IR scholarship on peace operations15 15 Roland Paris has contributed significantly to this endeavor (2000, 2003). See also Bellamy (2004). An earlier attempt at bringing theory to this relatively undertheorized field was Fetherston (2000). With a view to integration with critical approaches see also Martín (2005). Other important contributions include Fortna (2008) and Howard (2008). Most recently substantial contributions have been made to applying theories of organizational learning and evaluation to peace operations; see Benner et al. (2011), Diehl and Druckman (2010), and Meharg (2009). . Symbolic of this literature are contributions offering various forms of critique of the liberal origins of UN peacebuilding practice16 16 The state of the debate is neatly encapsulated in the contributions to the excellent Newman et al. (2009). . Alongside standout authors Paris (1997, 2002, 2004, 2010), Richmond (2007, 2011), Michael Pugh (2003, 2004, 2005, 2008), and David Chandler (2006, 2009, 2010), a number of more recent critiques have emerged (MacGinty 2010; Cunliffe 2012), including by Brazilian scholars (Esteves 2010; Moreno 2011; Moreno et al. 2012), based on recently consolidated postmodern and postcolonial readings of global intervention. This critique has inspired a response from one of the liberal model's main protagonists (Doyle 2011). In addition to this increased depth, the academic study of peace operations has gained increasing breadth as scholars have engaged with numerous subareas into which peace operations have moved as their own range of activity has increased. The final, though yet incipient, generational shift in peace operations is itself a result of the increased breadth of actors and tasks in peace operations.

An incipient fifth generation: hybrid missions

Finally, there is empirical evidence, though the analytical literature is still scant, of the emergence of a fifth generation of peace operations. What sets this type of mission apart is its hybrid character—these missions deploy troops and police personnel under mixed command, with both the United Nations and various regional organizations deploying troops to the same missions under separate chains of command and distinct forms of mandate. Differently from a Chapter VIII mission and its time-limited "farming-out" of primarily peace-enforcement, high-use of force mandates, hybrid missions involve the simultaneous deployment of UN troops and those of a regional organization.

These missions reflect a growing shift in the division of labor in the global system of peace operations. Central to this shift is the changing attitude, over the last 15 years since the mid-1990s, of Western powers towards international intervention. Chastened by the failures of UN peacekeeping in Rwanda, Somalia, and closer to home in Bosnia, Western powers increasingly had withdrawn from blue helmet missions by the late 1990s. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, NATO powers focussed their attention on the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result, the composition of UN troops shifted, resulting in the emergence of the global South as the predominant source of blue helmet troops. Scandinavian troops, for example, dropped from supplying 25% of UN troops to 5% (Bellamy and Williams 2009, 44). Concomitantly, at certain points in time during the 2000s, over 40% of UN troops came from the Indian subcontinent17 17 On states' motivations for contributing to UN peace operations, see Bellamy and Williams (2013). .

Differences in attitudes towards intervention—particularly with regard to peace enforcement and interpretations of sovereignty—led to the translation of this increasingly divided provenance of troops into a growing division of labor within peace operations (Tanner 2009). Broadly speaking, the trend is toward NATO states and others in the North and West—who have largely internalized the notion of using force to protect civilians and uphold human rights—to engage in either robust interventions outside the UN, such as the invasion of Iraq, the UN-endorsed International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, and the 2011 enforcement of Security Resolution 1973 by military means; Southern states, reticent to endorse the use of force in the name of human rights and protecting civilians, yet possessing great internal experience with development, institutionalization, and poverty reduction, would focus on the "root causes"-related aspects of peacebuilding missions. The UN reacted to this trend with a DPKO document known as the "New Horizon" Report, wherein it called for the creation of a coordinated global peacekeeping system involving a broader base of contributing countries and organizations (United Nations 2009b).

This separation of tasks occurs both within hybrid missions and among missions. Essentially, several regional organizations, particularly in Europe and in Africa, have become involved in hybrid missions. NATO, through the Kosovo Protection Force (KFOR), was charged—under a separate chain of command—with the security aspects of the hybrid international mission in Kosovo, while the OSCE dealt with institution-building aspects. Several Western states have individually supported UN peace operations with robust contingents, such as Great Britain in Sierra Leone in 1999 and France in Côte d'Ivoire in 2010. In keeping with the UN's commitment to seek "African solutions for African problems," the African Union has also taken on an increased military role in conflict resolution, deploying contingents with the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), as well as on its own, though as part of an internationally coordinated effort, in Somalia through the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS).

One example of the selection effect among missions—a phenomenon that correlates to the hybridization typical of the fifth generation—is MINUSTAH, the fourth-generation UN peace operation in Haiti, where a majority of troops come from South America and the mission's main focus is on economic development and societal stability. Indeed this division of tasks seems particularly suited to the creation of a niche in peace operations for an emerging power such as Brazil, which has been firmly integrating its strong engagement in Haiti into its aspirations for greater international profile.

Indeed, for Brazilian students of IR, as the country's global profile increases and its attitudes towards intervention grow to accompany its newfound responsibilities, peace operations will remain a crucial issue for the country's interaction with the international community (Kenkel 2008, 2010, 2012b, 2013a, 2013b; Marcondes 2010; Uziel 2009; Nasser 2012; Aguilar 2005; Cavalcante 2010; Fontoura 1999; Cardoso 1998). Peace operations have traditionally been a key foreign policy tool for middle powers, and this holds even truer for emerging powers such as Brazil (as well as India and South Africa).

As they evolved over the course of the last six decades, peace operations have become an ineluctable and crucial tool in the international community's conflict management toolbox. They have both echoed and themselves brought about significant changes in a number of debates central to international politics both analytically and in practice, including intervention and sovereignty, advances in the protection of civilian and human rights; the globalization of Western norms such as the "liberal peace" and the ensuing role for postcolonial states; the future of collective security, and the efficacy and representativeness of multilateral institutions in the face of shifts in global power towards the South.

Peace operations are sure to remain a central theme in international security in the future as they become increasingly ambitious and, arguably, effective (or at least stronger in their effects on their target populations). As this brief presentation has shown, these missions merit attention not only when they fail, but on those occasions where, as so often in the past, they quietly prevent and contain the emergence of far worse conflicts and humanitarian disasters than might have occurred in their absence.

Bibliographic references

Received December 11, 2012

Accepted March 18, 2013

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  • 1
    See Rikhye, Harbotte, and Egge (1974). The phrase "painting a country blue" was coined by British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd to describe the exigencies of the UN's work in Somalia in 1992. See Lewis (1992).
  • 2
    On defining collective security, see Kupchan and Kupchan (1995).
  • 3
    There is much confusion over the nomenclature of blue-helmet missions. "Peace operations" is the most accurate and appropriate term to describe the global category of all types of operation across all the generations below, operated by the United Nations and other organizations. "Peacekeeping" operations refer only to a subcategory of such operations (the first generation below, which presupposes an extant peace to maintain) that now make up a very small part of overall activities and therefore is not an accurate term for the overall activity, as it does not include peace enforcement and peacebuilding. The term "operation" generally refers to a more broadly-cast endeavor than a "mission," which is a term more prevalent in the military vocabulary. It is therefore conceptually erroneous to refer to the global category as "peace
    keeping operations/missions"; rather, the adequate terminology is the more inclusive and accurate "peace operations." The name of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations is effectively an anachronism that should not confuse analysis.
  • 4
    Two of the earliest instances of this usage originate with scholars based at the Graduate Institute in Geneva: Ghébali (1992) and Abi-Saab (1992). See also the comparative table of paradigms in Durch with Berkman (2006, 7).
  • 5
    See, for example, the divergent models in Richmond (2002), Thakur and Schnabel (2001), Goulding (1993), Malan (1998), and numerous others.
  • 6
    See the International Committee of the Red Cross's fundamental principles (ICRC 2013).
  • 7
    See,
    inter alia, Kaldor (2007b) and Münkler (2005). On the imperative for military intervention in these situations see Weiss (2007, 59–87).
  • 8
    Bellamy et al. (2010, 194–95).
  • 9
    Interview with Hédi Annabi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mission des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation en Haiti (MINUSTAH), Hotel Christophe (UN HQ), Port-au-Prince, Haiti, February 26, 2009.
  • 10
    DDR is a crucial element of peacebuilding, on which extensive research has been conducted. See the work of the Small Arms Survey at <
    http://www.smallarmssurvey.org> as well as Faltas and DiChiaro (2001) and Muggah (2009).
  • 11
    See Glennon (2006) and Gazzini (2006), and, in a classic example of mistaken nomenclature, Blocq (2006). The seminal work remains, however, Findlay (2002). For explicit links to R2P see also Bellamy (2011, 162–95) and Thakur (2011). The link is made between liberal peacebuilding and the use of force based on the idea of the biohuman in Dillon and Reid (2009).
  • 12
    For further bibliography, see the sources in Kenkel (2012a).
  • 13
    For further reading, see the sources in Kenkel (2008).
  • 14
    For a more orthodox and positivist model of peacebuilding, see Doyle and Sambanis (2006).
  • 15
    Roland Paris has contributed significantly to this endeavor (2000, 2003). See also Bellamy (2004). An earlier attempt at bringing theory to this relatively undertheorized field was Fetherston (2000). With a view to integration with critical approaches see also Martín (2005). Other important contributions include Fortna (2008) and Howard (2008). Most recently substantial contributions have been made to applying theories of organizational learning and evaluation to peace operations; see Benner et al. (2011), Diehl and Druckman (2010), and Meharg (2009).
  • 16
    The state of the debate is neatly encapsulated in the contributions to the excellent Newman et al. (2009).
  • 17
    On states' motivations for contributing to UN peace operations, see Bellamy and Williams (2013).

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    06 Aug 2013
  • Date of issue
    2013

History

  • Received
    11 Dec 2012
  • Accepted
    18 Mar 2013
Centro de Estudos Globais da Universidade de Brasília Centro de Estudos Globais, Instituto de Relações Internacionais, Universidade de Brasília, Campus Universitário Darcy Ribeiro, Brasília - DF - 70910-900 - Brazil, Tel.: + 55 61 31073651 - Brasília - DF - Brazil
E-mail: rbpi@unb.br