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Peace Operations in the Changed World Order

There is a clear post-Cold War changed nature of international order and the place of Peace operations within it cannot be the same. Peace operations were initially conceived as a tool for maintaining order between States in an international society based on rules arising from the Westphalian conception of State sovereignty especially those of non-aggression and non-interference in the domestic affairs of other States. Within such society and indeed with such a conception, peace operations were mainly meant to facilitate peaceful settlements of conflicts between States. But with the dawn of globalization and the post-Cold War world of complex emergencies things have significantly changed.

States enjoy their sovereignty if they fulfill certain responsibilities towards their citizens such as protecting them from genocide and mass atrocities. Within these circumstances the role of peace operations has been widened to include the responsibility to assist States in fulfilling those responsibilities and where necessary to assume such responsibilities when the host State proves itself either unable or unwilling to do so such as we have recently witnessed in Burundi.  

There are three particularly important ways in which contemporary globalization and world of complex emergencies are impacting on peace operations. First, it has facilitated a distinctive form of violent conflict commonly known as ‘new wars’ that reflect the ongoing erosion of the State’s monopoly on legitimate organized violence. These kinds of wars are new in character and they take place within States or are transnational in character and often involve multiple belligerents of different types significantly adding to the complexity of the problems confronting conventional peacekeepers. The second way in which the phenomena is impacting on modern time peace operations is through the spread of global communication which has contributed to a growing awareness of political strife and humanitarian crisis around the world fueling calls from the citizens of the world and global civil society groups for international society to assume greater responsibility for the protection of vulnerable population such the current victims in South Sudan. This was particularly conspicuous when humanitarian emergencies received massive media coverage, as was the case in Mozambique (2000), Somalia (1992), and most clearly in Kosovo (1999). It became common knowledge that the media played a crucial role in such situations, and the phenomenon became to be known as the “CNN effect.” Among the frequently quoted examples of such effect were the international intervention in Iraqi-Kurdistan in the spring of 1991 and the US intervention during the Somali famine in December 1992.

The contemporary globalization has forced, the UN, regional arrangements and individual States to pay greater attention to an increasingly diverse array of non-state actors, many of whom play important roles in either maintaining or disrupting international peace and security. The world is seeing more and more non state actors waging wars and/or engaged in active attempts to end war and in the search for global peace and security. The post-Cold War period has seen broad security sectors as opposed to the narrow conception of security prior to this period. Security was mainly confined to a military affair but after the Cold War, security has become an all inclusive term including many sectors such as human security and even environmental issues. The world must now attune itself to the new phenomena and create strategies to meet emerging challenges. World peace and security is not going to be worked out in world cities like New York, Geneva and Nairobi alone; neither is it going to be sought through winning battles on the conventional battle grounds. We need a new approach with seamless interaction of actors from New York to the grassroots communities. 
Peace Operations in the Changed World Order Peace Operations in the Changed World Order Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on April 07, 2016 Rating: 5

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