Since the great wars, the international community knew it was crucial to prevent the onset of another war as the conflicts had shook the balance of power and destroyed both infrastructure and lives for the sake of power. With the establishment of the United Nations after the Second World War, it was argued that the organization would become a beacon of peace and intervene once conflict brews in a region. Peacekeeping operations, in this end, would enable the international community to stop the progression of conflict that may threaten the rest of the world. While the thought of peacekeeping is ideal, arguments have been raised as to the effectiveness of such operation and if it does usher peace. Arguments regarding this matter remained open throughout new peacekeeping missions, however; it is agreed that while there are instances wherein peacekeeping proves flawed, its intentions emphasizes the necessity for intervening in instances wherein the peace of one state is threatened and unable to fight back.
After 1945, the international community knew it was essential to make an organization or system ensure peace and reduction of conflict. Under the United Nations, Bellamy (2010) stressed that peacekeeping has been invented sometime in the 1950s as the international community’s attempt through the United Nations to prevent the onset of armed conflicts. The necessity to create peacekeeping operations is important as peacekeepers aid in implementing peace agreements, ceasefire agreements, and serving as a buffer to prevent spillover of conflicts and help maintain peace while in transition. Peacekeeping also utilizes the military (coming from volunteers from its member countries), police and civilian personnel to usher both peace and transition in the region. Peacekeeping has 12 types: from traditional peacekeeping, preventive deployments, wider peacekeeping, peace enforcement, assisting transitions, transitional administrations and peace support administration .
While peacekeeping has highlighted several different methods in order to advocate peace, scholars and experts have argued that the UN peacekeeping missions are incapable of sustaining peace and reducing the onset of conflict in conflicting areas. First and foremost, Fortna (2004) stresses that, since the establishment of peacekeeping operations in 1944 to the present, peacekeeping has done little difference on influencing civil wars especially when peacekeepers are involved. The reason for this is the possibility that these civil wars being influenced have issues that involve ethnic groups, identity conflicts and religious strife which is often difficult to moderate. UN intervention also mostly happens when the death toll has increased in huge amounts, as seen in Rwanda in 1994, and would not intervene if the conflicting parties have powerful military armies. Some states may even decline UN peacekeeping as seen in Somalia in 1992 and Bosnia in 1993 . O’Neill and Reese (2005) also adds that since the time of the Cold War, peacekeeping missions are flawed due to the hidden agendas of these operations as seen in the Suez Crisis (UNEF I) and India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) , disabling peacekeeping missions to work efficiently. Peacekeeping missions are also very costly according to Christoff (2007) the United States alone has contributed more than $428 million on UN peacekeeping missions and twice the effectiveness. In this end, if the United States were to make its own peacekeeping missions, it can easily deploy and engage into the crisis as compared to the UN. The cost is also a topic of immense debate as these expenses on deployment increases considerably depending on the crisis and the duration of the operation.
Although some experts and scholars argue that peacekeeping is flawed and limited in nature, others argue that the concept of peacekeeping is ideal as it has the capability of aiding states unable to push for peace on their own. Grieg and Diehl (2005) stresses that peacekeeping is actually an essential tool for conflict management as it ushers mediation and retention of peace. While in itself, peacekeeping cannot settle disputes, utilizing peacekeeping would enable disputing parties to resolve the conflict without the use of violence under a third party, or the United Nations. Peacekeeping missions would then enable the environment to settle with peacekeeping efforts and reach a settlement. Some of the notable examples to this are Cambodia, El Salvador, Burundi, Timor-Leste, and Namibia . Sheehan (2008) argues that in terms of costs and expenses, the budget of almost $44.81 billion from 1996 to 2006 is to ensure that the United Nations can react on growing threats to international security and allot resources required to enforce the prevention of the use of force. The UN needs to reach out to international volunteers and officials with specific skill sets that would be crucial to coordinate within the conflicted territories and provide assistance. Finally, Shimizu and Sandler (2002) stresses that the UN is experienced enough in the field of peacekeeping as compared to non-UN led operations since the volunteers on UN peacekeeping missions are trained specifically for the job. It already has a huge network of agencies and resources to ensure that humanitarian aid is easily provided as seen in the Haiti operation MINUSTAH .
With the changing international and regional arena, it is uncertain as to whether or not peacekeeping operations are indeed capable of sustaining and protecting peace and if it should still be improved. On the one hand, peacekeeping operations are flawed means to establish and maintain peace as it is incapable of influencing conflicts, working without hidden agendas and are very costly. On the other hand, however, UN peacekeeping actually has the capability to introduce peace as a means to introduce conflict management, organized operations and immediate deployment. While it remains uncertain as to whether or not these operations are capable or not, this may depend on the situation at hand as there are some conflicts that even the UN cannot resolve on its own and conflicts the UN can immediately act upon once requested.
Bellamy, Alex, and Paul Williams. 2010. Understanding Peacekeeping. Cambridge: Polity.
Christoff, Joseph. 2007. Peacekeeping: Observations on Costs, Strengths, and Limitations of U.S. and UN Operations. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Accountability Office.
Fortna, Virginia Page. 2004. "Does Peacekeeping Keep Peace? International Intervention and the Duration of Peace after Civil War." International Studies Quarterly 48 (2): 269-292.
Grieg, J. Michael, and Paul Diehl. 2005. "The Peacekeeping-Peacemaking Dilemma." International Studies Quarterly 49 (4): 621-645.
O'Neill, John Terence, and Nicholas Rees. 2005. United Nations Peacekeeping in the Post-Cold War Era. Oxon: Taylor & Francis.
Sheehan, Nadege. 2008. "Economics of UN Peacekeeping Operations." In War, Peace and Security, by Jacques Fontanel and Manas Chatterji, 173-188. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing.
Shimizu, Hirofumi, and Todd Sandler. 2002. "Peacekeeping and Burden-Sharing, 1994-2000." Journal of Peace Research 39 (6): 651-668.