Printer Friendly

The John W. Holmes lecture: Building Peace.

In Making War and Building Peace, Nicholas Sambanis and I conducted a large-scale comparative study of success and failure in peacebuilding after civil war. (1) The study assumes that every peacebuilding effort, like every civil war, is different. We are interested in the dimensions that describe and determine the relevant differences. We have assembled a data set that covers all civil wars between 1945 and 1999. There are 129. We also use case studies of the wars and peace operations in Somalia, Bosnia, the Congo (1960s), El Salvador, Cambodia, Rwanda, Croatia, East Timor, Cyprus, and Bosnia to explore some factors in more depth. The range of these cases and data lets us compare UN peace operations to other civil wars, whether settled by conquest or purely local peace agreement, as well as to wars that have not been settled or have just run down. This in turn allows us to determine whether the peace operation made a difference and to separate its effects from the factors that would have made a peace more or less likely regardless of whether or not the UN was there. Most studies of peace are not able to do this.

Drawing on this extensive study, this article describes some of the generic results the UN has achieved in building peace; offers a structural explanation of what makes for overall success and failure; and outlines four strategies that the UN has employed to achieve its successes.

Generic Results

Many political scientists think that a victory is the best way to end a civil war, as occurred when the North defeated the South in the US Civil War. Why? Because only one side is left with an army, leaving the chances of war resuming much lower. (2) If we look just at the likelihood of war resumption and compare victory to any other form of settlement, whether truce or negotiated peace agreement, this generalization appears correct in that more than 75 percent of victories last for more than two years (3) and fewer than 60 percent of truces and negotiated settlements last for more than two years.

Accurate as those statistics are, they are also quite misleading. They conflate truces (agreements merely to stop fighting) with negotiated peace settlements that resolve the issues under dispute, establish a process to write a constitution, and create new institutions. Significantly, it is truces that are most fallible, not negotiated settlements, because more than 86 percent of the negotiated peace treaties last. What roles do peacekeeping and peacebuilding play in making a peace last?

Obviously, the UN community thinks they make a great deal of difference and much is invested in them. Peacebuilding is designed to build confidence among the parties, facilitate institutional reform, demobilize armies, and assist the reform and integration of police forces and judiciaries. This was done with considerable success in El Salvador in the 1990s and in other peace operations ranging from Namibia, to Cambodia, Mozambique, and, most recently, East Timor and Sierra Leone. But the data, at first sight, do not bear out those hopes since 88 percent of the negotiated settlements with no peace operation last and only 85 percent with a peace operation last. Comparatively, this does not appear to be a real difference but the difference, small as it is, seems to undermine any justification for the expensive and difficult operations the UN has undertaken.

Two things appear to be happening. First, the civil wars with UN operations are not the same as those without--they tend to be the more challenging ones that are much more difficult to resolve (as will be explained below). Second, UN peace operations do make a difference, but more in the quality than the length of the peace. Some peaces are peaces of coercion. The defeated are defeated, and sometimes stay that way. Other peaces are participatory in that the defeated join in the government or can compete for elected office; they have the opportunity to share power. As our study shows, fewer than 68 percent of the power-sharing negotiated settlements without a peace operation last, while more than 78 percent of the power-sharing negotiated settlements with a peace operation last. This is a significant additional contribution of peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

Structural Explanations

Why do some peace operations succeed and others fail? Here the analysis gets more complicated. We want to compare many sets of explanations, with varying data reliability, to the many cases with different kinds of outcomes. We use multivariate logistic regression and compare relative survival rates. We take into account comparisons among similar and different cases and we control for dozens of alternative factors. We pay special attention to the outliers. We do find that a "peacebuilding triangle" explains about 75 percent of the successes and failures. As good as that is, it of course means that the model also fails 25 percent of the time (see Figure 1). There is always a significant factor not predicted by the analysis. This we argue is a product of differences of leadership and of strategy at the tactical level. And this is one of the reasons why we do the case studies and compare statistical prediction to actual outcome.


The peacebuilding triangle is composed of three vectors: hostility, local capacity, and international capacity. The logic of the triangle is as follows:

1. The more hostile and numerous the factions, the greater the casualties, refugees, and displaced persons generated by the war.

2. The poorer the country and the greater the damage done by the war, the more lootable the remaining resources and the more inaccessible the terrain.

3. The greater the international authority, the peacekeeping presence and troops, the larger the reconstruction budget must be if peace is going to be achieved and maintained after the peacekeepers leave.

The area of the triangle loosely represents the prospects for peace. The shape--tall or flat--describes the kind of peace, with a larger (taller) or smaller (flatter) role played by international assistance. The worse conditions are, the more Chapter VII authority, large and well-equipped troops, and extensive the transitional authority must be, as they were in the UN Transitional Authority in Eastern Croatia, Baranja, and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) or the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). And the better the conditions--that is, the less damage, fewer factions, and remaining state capacities--the more likely it is that Chapter VI facilitation and assistance and monitoring will be sufficient, as it was in El Salvador. If the Security Council gets it wrong and sends an El Salvador-type peace operation to Rwanda, failure results.

We also draw conclusions about the efficacy of reconstruction and development assistance. In the short run, humanitarian and economic assistance do not seem to be much help in making peace last. They may allow people to "last"--preventing starvation--but, equally often, they fuel more war, feed the armies and allow them to keep fighting. In the long run, however, economic development that builds on a stable security arrangement helps peace to last much longer. In these circumstances, reconstruction assistance is well worth more attention than the UN community currently devotes to it.

Four Strategies

Beyond the broad parameters of our structural explanation, the details of how peace is achieved matter. Successful peace is a complex endeavor for any strategist. The UN record is mixed, at best. There have been failures in Somalia, Rwanda, Angola, and Bosnia (before 1995). But, if the standards are very modest--a self-sustaining peace, sovereignty, and some increased participation--there are also identifiable successes in Namibia, El Salvador, Cambodia, Mozambique, Eastern Slavonia in Croatia, and, hopefully, still (in June 2006) East Timor. None are Swedens, but some arguably rise to the level of Los Angeles or Chicago.

To complicate matters, the process mixes consent and coercion. A self-sustaining participatory peace relying on local ownership and local political forces must be able to maintain it if the peacekeepers are going to be able to exit and leave peace behind. Yet given the pervasive conflicts characteristic of civil war, one must expect some defections from the peace process by "spoilers." (4)

In these circumstances the international community must assist peacemakers while deterring or constraining peace breakers. It does so through a mix of bargaining chips, advice, even force: all designed to effect a legitimate and effective transition from civil war to civil peace.

The challenge is how to combine local ownership, on the one hand, with, on the other hand, the international assistance and authority that constraining spoilers is likely to require. How does one marry consent and coercion?

The UN has developed four linked strategies to do so: peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and (discrete) peace enforcement.


The construction of an agreed peace is the first step toward creating the consent-based legitimacy that implementing (and even coercing) a peace will require. This is a challenging task in a civil war where conflict among villages generates great hostility and leaders--and sometimes followers--have exploitative interests in illicit or lootable goods such as oil, diamonds, drugs, and prostitution.

All of this makes a negotiated settlement especially valuable. First, the very process of negotiation is an important learning process among the contending factions. They can discover the red lines, the acceptable parameters of peace that are particular to the conflict. Going beyond an agreed truce or disarmament, a comprehensive peace treaty addresses grievances and establishes new institutions that make future cohabitation viable. Second, peace negotiations test the sincerity and the willingness of the parties to live with each other by indicating how well they can design a comprehensive blueprint for peace. If they cannot even design a coherent peace, they are unlikely to be able to abide by one. Third, peace negotiations can mobilize the support of local interests in peace as well as the foreign aid of the international community in support of implementing the peace. Fourth, a negotiated peace treaty can establish legitimate new entities (described below under peacekeeping) that are committed to furthering peacekeeping and peacebuilding. (5)

Peacemaking usually relies on two features. First, a peace treaty often reflects a convergence of preferences among factions. A mutually "hurting stalemate," as explained by William Zartman, is the classic instance. (6) Its essence is that there must be a stalemate and it must hurt both sides. Factions will fight until both know that they cannot win and both experience negative utility from the stalemated status quo. Short of these conditions, at least one faction will want to continue to fight. The problem in Angola in the 1990s was a stalemate from which both sides--General Savimbi's and Prime Minister Neto's forces--profited, either from diamonds (Savimbi) or oil (Neto). In El Salvador, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) offensive from the mountains was stopped in San Salvador, short of the coast, and the government offensive was stopped in the foothills, short of the mountainous border. This was the military stalemate. When their respective patrons--Cuba and Nicaragua for the FMLN and the United States for the government--announced a cessation of support, the stalemate began to hurt and peace became more attractive.

Second, peacemaking need not be a passive process. The UN has developed a set of crucially important innovations that help manage the making of peace on a consensual basis. First among them is the diplomatic device that has come to be called the "Friends of the Secretary General." (7) For Cambodia, the "Core Group" in New York and "Extended P5" in Phnom Penh played a "friends" role in the negotiation and management of the peace process. (8) In El Salvador, the four friends of the secretary-general were Venezuela, Mexico, Spain, and Colombia. Frequently joined by a "fifth friend," the United States, together they played a crucial role in negotiating and implementing the peace accords. So too did the Core Group in Mozambique. In the former Yugoslavia, the "Contact Group" (another "friends" entity, including Russia, the United States, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom), played a key role in engineering the process that produced the Dayton Accords for Bosnia and the Erdut Agreement for Eastern Slavonia. A similar group--the Peace Implementation Council, under NATO auspices--met regularly to actively monitor the implementation of peace in Bosnia. And the Article II Commission under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) did the same for Eastern Slavonia. (9) Although coalitions were assembled to endorse the truce in Cyprus and the Arusha Agreement for Rwanda, neither enjoyed a sustained monitoring by committed external sponsors of peace.

Playing a crucial role in the secretary-general's peacemaking diplomacy, these groupings perform four key functions. First, the limited influence of the secretary-general can be leveraged and complemented by the "friends." The UN's scarce attention and even scarcer resources can be supplemented by the diplomacy, finances, and clout of powerful, interested actors. The second function is legitimization. The very act of constituting themselves as a group, with the formal support of the secretary-general, lends legitimacy to the diplomatic activities of interested states that they might not otherwise have. (10) It allows for constructive diplomacy when accusations of special and particular national interest--"fishing in troubled waters"--could taint bilateral efforts. The third function is coordination. The friends mechanism provides transparency among the interested external parties, assuring them that they are all working for the same purposes and, when they are doing so, allowing them to pursue a division of labor that enhances their joint effort. It ensures that diplomats are not working at cross purposes because they regularly meet and inform each other of their activities and encourage each other to undertake special tasks. And, fourth, the friends mechanism provides a politically balanced approach to the resolution of civil wars through negotiation. It often turns out that one particular "friend" can reassure one faction just as another reassures another. In the Cambodian peace process, China backstopped the Khmer Rouge, just as France did Prince Sihanouk, and Russia (with Vietnam) did the State of Cambodia. The friends open more flexible channels of communication than a single UN mediator can provide. They also advise and guide the UN intermediaries in peacekeeping and peacebuilding, as discussed below, although the process tends to work best when they support rather than move out in front of the UN.

While valuable, the "friends" mechanism can also disrupt the UN's efforts to coordinate a peace process and, in effect, use the UN's multilateral credibility for partisan national purposes. In part this danger is the corresponding cost of the many advantages "friends" bring. One way to reduce the tendency toward runaway "friends" is to have the UN's special representative chair the "friends'" meetings in the field and an assistant secretary-general from the Department of Political Affairs do so in New York.

Multidimensional Peacekeeping

A peace treaty is a crucial step in mobilizing consent and establishing new international authorities and capacities. But good peacemaking is not enough. Even consent-based peace agreements fall apart. Today, new challenges have arisen that require dynamic, proactive peacekeeping.

Why? In the circumstances of partisan violence and "failed states," agreements tend to be fluid. In the new civil conflicts, parties cannot force policy on their followers and often lack the capacity or will to maintain a difficult process of reconciliation leading to a reestablishment of national sovereignty. The South West African Peoples Organization (SWAPO) in Namibia, FMLN in El Salvador, and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia all defected from (or failed to implement) crucial elements of the peace agreement within months and, in some cases, days. (11)

All of this erodes the principles of traditional peacekeeping. Neutrality, impartiality, consent, and the non-use of force were a related whole. In traditional interstate disputes, cease-fires and separation lines tended to be respected once agreed upon, or the UN withdrew if they were not. Buffer zones truly separated the interests of the parties and the UN could patrol them, impartially and neutrally, ensuring transparent cooperation.

Civil war settlements tend to be more challenging. Peace treaties are often confusing and ambiguous. In order to get an agreement, diplomats assume all parties are acting in good faith and patch over disagreements with abstract phrases. Ambiguity becomes the mother of consensus as, in the Cambodian agreement, the Khmer Rouge genocide became the "unfortunate practices of the recent past." Diplomats seek to incorporate into the treaty the most complete peace to which the parties will agree, while UN officials seek to clarify and limit the UN's obligations. Confusing mandates are an almost inevitable result of this tension.

Moreover, the peacekeeping mandate, like a natural resource contract, is an obsolescing bargain. The spirit of agreement is never more exalted than at the moment of the signing of the peace treaty, the authority of the United Nations is never again greater. At that point, the parties assume that the agreement will be achieved and that all are cooperating in good faith. They depend upon the UN to achieve their various hopes. Although the UN has put some of its diplomatic prestige on the line, it has yet made no investment in material resources. The UN, in short, holds most of the cards. But as soon as the UN begins its investment of money, personnel, and operational prestige, then the bargaining relationship alters its balance. The larger the UN investment--these multidimensional operations represent multibillion-dollar investments--the greater is the independent UN interest in success and the greater the influence of the parties becomes. Because the parties control an essential element in the success of the mandate, their bargaining power rapidly rises. Thus, in the late spring of 1993 as crucial elections approached, United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) chief Yasushi Akashi acknowledged, "I cannot afford not to succeed." (12)

These tensions in designing peacekeeping operations emphasize that time is critical. The UN should be ready to implement the mandate as soon after the signing of a peace treaty as is practicable. UNTAC suffered a large decrease in authority in early 1992 as time passed and expectations of the factions and the Cambodian people were disappointed. (13) These tensions also explain how the ideal framework (both legal and political) of a treaty can dissolve in months or even days, as the Cambodian peace agreements did. The provisions of peace accords become so general, ambiguous, or unworkable that many of the details have to be worked out in the implementation process.

To be minimally effective under those circumstances, the UN must manage politically, proactively. (14) One key innovation is an ad hoc, semi-sovereign mechanism designed to provide effective transitional authority in order to address those new challenges by dynamically managing a peace process and mobilizing local cooperation. Examples of these ad hoc, semi-sovereign mechanisms include the Supreme National Council (SNC) in Cambodia, the Commission on the Peace (COPAZ) in El Salvador, the Bonn/Sintra Peace Implementation Council for Bosnia, and the National Consultative Council in East Timor. The Paris Peace Agreement authorized the SNC to make sovereign decisions on behalf of Cambodia if the four factions represented on it agreed or, failing that, if Prince Sihanouk thought it was necessary or, failing that, if UN Special Representative Akashi so decided. Significantly, no faction's veto could erode the formal legitimacy of the peace process.

A second mechanism is the delegation of temporary effective sovereignty to the international community as was done in Kosovo, East Timor, and Brcko in northern Bosnia, where supervisor Bill Farrand, with the assistance of a US cavalry battalion, became law and order.

The value of these ad hoc, semi-sovereign artificial bodies is that they provide a potentially powerful, political means of encouraging and revising, if necessary, the shape of consent embodied in the peace treaty. Created by a peace treaty, they permit the temporary consensus of the parties to be formally incorporated in an institution with regular consultation and even, as in the Cambodian Supreme National Council, a semiautonomous sovereign will. These transitional authorities can represent the once-warring parties and act in the name of a preponderance of the "nation" without the continuous or complete consent of all the factions. They can both build political support and adjust--in a legitimate way, with the consent of most of the parties--the mandate in order to respond to unanticipated changes in local circumstances.

Reconstructive Peacebuilding

The secretary-general's report No Exit Without Strategy (April 2001) focused on peacebuilding for a sustainable peace. It defined peacebuilding as fostering the capacity to resolve future conflicts by three means: (1) consolidating internal and external security; (2) strengthening political institutions by increasing effectiveness and participation; and (3) promoting economic and social reconstruction. (15)

It sounds anodyne enough. But what this often means in practice is revolutionary change. Civil war revolutionizes a society, creating competitive authoritarian war polities, war economies, societies dominated by the military, and cultures mobilized against the enemy. Effective peacebuilding reverses all of that. It creates a unified polity, one army, a return to civilian participatory rule, an economy geared to civilian consumption, and the first steps toward reconciliation.

Traditional peacekeeping strategies of conflict resolution, when successful, were designed to resolve a dispute between conflicting parties. Successful contemporary peacebuilding changes not merely behavior but, more importantly, it transforms identities and institutional context. More than reforming play in an old game, it changes the game.

This is the grand strategy General Sanderson invoked when he spoke of forging an alliance with the Cambodian people, bypassing the factions. Reginald Austin, electoral chief of UNTAC, probed the same issue when he asked what are the "true objectives [of UNTAC]: Is it a political operation seeking a solution to the immediate problem of an armed conflict by all means possible? Or does it have a wider objective: to implant democracy, change values and establish a new pattern of governance based on multipartism and free and fair elections?" (16)

UNTAC helped create new actors on the Cambodian political scene: the electors, a fledgling civil society, a free press, and a continuing international and transnational presence. The Cambodian voters gave Prince Ranariddh institutional power and the Khmer Rouge was transformed from an internationally recognized claimant on Cambodian sovereignty to a domestic guerrilla insurgency. The peacebuilding process, particularly the election, became the politically tolerable substitute for the inability of the factions to reconcile their conflicts.

Given the scope of the changes often required, the first implication is that peacebuilding is a long-term investment. It is clear in retrospect, for example, that the UN left East Timor much too soon and that it would have been much wiser to accept Jose Ramos Horta's request for a five-year UN administration. (17) But even with sufficient UN transition, the job of peacebuilding is one that foreigners can only assist in at the beginning. The long-run tasks will be completed by locals, or peace must collapse.

Second, as noted above, another clear implication is the consequent importance of risk-spreading multidimensionality. Authentic and firm consent in the aftermath of severe civil strife is rare. The UN should design as many routes to peace--institutional reform, elections, international monitoring, economic rehabilitation--as the parties will tolerate, for some will almost inevitably fail.

Third, and for similar reasons, the international negotiators of a peace treaty and the UN designers of a mandate should attempt to create bargaining advantages and independent authority for the UN peacebuilders. Even seemingly extraneous bargaining chips will become useful as the spirit of cooperation erodes under the pressure of misunderstandings and diverging interests. In Mozambique for example, Special Representative of the Secretary-General Aldo Ajello skillfully deployed a trust fund to assist Renamo's demobilization.

In Cambodia, the UN achieved a mixed peacebuilding success. It counted on the financial needs of the Cambodian factions to ensure their cooperation and designed an extensive rehabilitation component to guarantee steady rewards for cooperative behavior. (18) But the Khmer Rouge's access to illicit trade (with the apparent connivance of elements of the Thai military along the western border) eliminated this bargaining chip. And the suspicion of the dominant faction's (the state of Cambodia) rivals prevented a full implementation of rehabilitation in the 80 percent of the country it controlled.

In contrast, the UN electoral component and refugee repatriation in Cambodia seem to have succeeded simply because they did not depend on the steady and continuous positive support of the four factions. Each initiative had an independent sphere of authority and organizational capacity that allowed it to proceed against everything short of the active military opposition of the factions. Civil administrative control and the cantonment of the factions, however, failed because they relied on the continuous direct and positive cooperation of each of the factions. Each of the factions, at one time or another, had reason to expect that the balance of advantages was tilting against itself, and so refused to cooperate. A significant source of the success of the election was Radio UNTAC's ability to speak directly to the potential Cambodian voters, bypassing the propaganda of the four factions and invoking a new Cambodian actor, the voting citizen. But voters are only powerful for the five minutes it takes them to vote, if there is not an institutional mechanism to transfer democratic authority to bureaucratic practice. Now, lacking such a mechanism in Cambodia that might have been created by the strengthening of the court system and an impartial police force, the voters are vulnerable to the armies, police, and corruption that dominate after the votes are tallied.

Strategic political reconstruction was missing in the Cyprus and Rwanda peace operations. Neither peacekeeping operation was prepared to effect the institutional and social changes that were needed to change the structure of the competition by advantaging moderate forces. By contrast, in Eastern Slavonia and Brcko, the peace operations created new social agents--the Serbian Croatian civil service in Vukovar and the new property holders (both Bosniac and Serb) around Brcko whose livelihood now relied on the sustain-ability of an integrated peace. The strategy developed there, and in Cambodia and El Salvador, was to build a coalition favoring a moderate peace.

Peace Enforcing and Inducing

Even with well-designed peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding, UN missions will sometimes fail. These operations will also need discrete peace enforcement and inducement.

The UN has not been effective at wide peace enforcement that is imposing law and order by force without consent on resistant factions. The failures and dangers of Chapter VII enforcement operations, whether in Somalia or pre-1995 Bosnia, leave many observers to think that it is extremely unlikely that troop-contributing countries will actually sign up for such operations. The risks are far more costly than the member states are willing to bear for humanitarian purposes. But when we look at Chapter VI operations, we see that consent by parties easily dissolves under the difficult processes of peace as spoilers take them hostage and veto further implementation.

Fortunately, some UN operations in the midst of civil strife have been rescued by the discrete, impartial, but non-neutral use of force or positive inducements. Such were the operations in the Congo, (19) when Katanga's secession was forcibly halted, and also the operation in Namibia, when SWAPO's violation of the peace agreement was countered with the aid of South African forces. (20) Rather than attempting to enforce an external solution on a civil war (making war as in Somalia), "narrow" or "discrete" enforcement seeks to veto the vetoers, implementing (by force, when needed) a key aspect of a comprehensively agreed peace. This is dangerous terrain. Even when done well, discrete inducement is risky. Both the Congo and the Namibia instances nearly derailed the peace process by eroding local, regional, or global support.

Sometimes positive inducements--that is, bribes--are sufficient. In Mozambique, Special Representative of the Secretary-General Aldo Ajello carefully employed a slush fund financed by Italy to facilitate the transformation of the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) from guerrilla army to political party. In Eastern Slavonia, demining contracts were awarded in a way that recognized groups that were supporting the peace process.

Sometimes peace enforcement is indirect. In Cambodia, for example, UNTAC--operating in full accord with the Paris agreements--appealed to all the factions to protect the election. The appeal was impartial and based on the peace treaty to which all the parties had consented. The result was distinctly not neutral among the parties, as the armies (most effectively, SOC's army) that were cooperating with the peace plan pushed the Khmer Rouge back from the population centers. This subcontracted use of force permitted a safer vote with a larger--and hence more legitimate--turnout in the last week of May 1993. (21)

Sometimes the enforcement is direct, when the UN has the capacity to do so. In 1996, in Eastern Slavonia, relying on a nod from both President Milosevic of Serbia and President Tudjman of Croatia, UNTAES successfully exercised its "executive authority" and employed overwhelming coercive force against the paramilitary gangs controlling the Djeletovici oil fields. In May 2000, in Sierra Leone, force was once again employed to rescue a floundering peace operation as the British Parachute Regiment rushed to Freetown to prevent the cutoff of the UN force and liberate the city from the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) that had terrorized the country. The British force stayed to train 1,000 members of the Sierra Leonean army, prop up both the UN peace operation and the government of President Ahmed Kabbah, and, in July 2000, free the remaining 220 UN peacekeepers being held by RUF forces. (22)

Discrete, impartial use of force in the context of comprehensive peace operation can be effective, and it is often essential to rescue a challenged peace. Discrete enforcement was tragically absent in Rwanda, where early limited use of force might have deterred the Interahamwhe, or in Cyprus, where the unwillingness to enforce the mandate signaled that the moderates could be ignored.


In examining what the UN has achieved as a peace builder, the factors that explain their record of successes and failures, and how the combined operations of four strategic innovations have produced this record, the strategic message is clear. Whether in peacemaking, peacekeeping, reconstructive peacebuilding, or discrete enforcement, the UN's multilateralism--so disadvantageous in making war--contributes significantly to its success in fostering self-sustaining peace. Multilateral impartiality--the principles of equality of states and universal human rights embedded not just in the Charter but deeply in the UN's ethos and composition--make the quasi-colonial presence that a multidimensional peace operation entails not only tolerable but effective. The UN's mere presence guarantees that partial national interests are not in control. (And its very inefficiencies make fears of empire-mongering seem far-fetched.) At their best, UN peace operations mobilize a diverse and complementary set of national talents and serve by their very multinational character to announce that cross-ethnic and cross-ideological cooperation can work.

But the key to effective strategy is a combined portfolio. Good peacemaking generates the consent and authorizes the legitimate capacities that allow peacekeeping to work, just as effective peacekeeping organizes the reconstructive peacebuilding that creates the new institutions and new actors through which genuine transformation toward peace can take place. Discrete force and bribes are the inducements that stop the gaps in the previous three and prevent a peace operation from becoming hostage to spoilers who are determined to thwart peace under any terms. These four factors work together, each reinforcing the other in a successful combination. The absence of any is an invitation to failure.


Michael W. Doyle is Harold Brown Professor of International Affairs, Law, and Political Science at Columbia University, and former chair of ACUNS.

1. Michael Doyle and Nicholas Sambanis, Making War and Building Peace: United Nations Peace Operations (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006). This article is from the John W. Holmes lecture "Building Peace," given at the ACUNS Annual Meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 9 June 2006.

2. Roy Licklider, "The Consequences of Negotiated Settlements in Civil Wars, 1945-1993," American Political Science Review 89 (September 1995): 681-690, calls this the Wagner Hypothesis and assesses its significance in a study of civil wars ending in the early 1990s, before the wave of UN peacebuilding.

3. See Making War and Building Peace, tables 3.1 and 3.2.

4. See Stephen Stedman, "Spoiler Problems in Peace Processes," International Security 22 (Fall 1997): 5-53.

5. For a wide-ranging collection of recent experience in UN and other peacemaking, see Chester Crocker, Fen Hampson, and Pamela Aall, eds., Herding Cats: Multiparty Mediation in a Complex World (Washington, DC: USIP, 1999).

6. William Zartman, Ripe for Resolution: Conflict and Intervention in Africa (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), and William Zartman, The Elusive Peace (Washington, DC: Brookings, 1995).

7. For discussion of this mechanism see Ian Johnstone and Mark LeVine, "Lessons From El Salvador," Christian Science Monitor, 10 August 1993, p. 889; and "Conclusion" in M. Doyle, Ian Johnstone, and Robert Orr, eds., Keeping the Peace (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).

8. John Sanderson, "The Incalculable Dynamic of Using Force," in Wolfgang Biermann and Martin Vadset, eds., UN Peacekeeping Trouble: Lessons Learned from the Former Yugoslavia (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998), pp. 203-217.

9. The group of "friends" for Haiti consisted of France, the United States, Canada, and Venezuela.

10. For a good discussion of the UN's and, especially, the secretary-general's potential strength as a diplomatic legitimizer, see Giandommenico Picco, "The UN and the Use of Force," Foreign Affairs 73, no. 5 (September/October 1994): 14-18. The friends mechanism seems to answer many of the objections to UN mediation expressed by Saadia Touval, "Why the UN Fails," Foreign Affairs 73, no. 5 (September/October 1994): 44-57.

11. Both SWAPO and the KR have correctly remarked that the UN was not ready to receive the troops that the factions were prepared to canton. SWAPO later implemented the peace agreement, after a tragic confrontation. The KR continued to undermine the Cambodian agreement.

12. Yasushi Akashi, interview in "Peace in the Killing Fields," part 3 of The Thin Blue Line, BBC Radio 4, released 9 May 1993.

13. For valuable surveys of the UNTAC experience see Trevor Findlay, Cambodia: The Legacy and Lessons of UNTAC (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995); Janet Heininger, Peacekeeping Transition: The United Nations in Cambodia (New York: Twentieth Century Fund, 1994); Carlyle Thayer, "The United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia: The Restoration of Sovereignty," in T. Woodhouse, R. Bruce, and M. Dando, eds., Peacekeeping and Peacemaking: Towards Effective Intervention in Post-Cold War Conflicts (London: Macmillan Press Ltd., 1998), pp. 145-165; Beatrice Pouligny, "Promoting Democratic Institutions in Post-Conflict," International Peacekeeping 7, no. 3 (Autumn): 17-35; Sorpong Peou, Conflict Neutralisation in the Cambodia War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).

14. On peacekeeping, consent, and the use of force see Mats Berdal, Whither UN Peacekeeping? An Analysis of the Changing Military Requirements of UN Peacekeeping with Proposals for its Enhancement (London: Brassey's for the International Institute for Strategic Studies, 1993); Trevor Findlay and Thomas Mockaitis, "Intervention in Civil Conflict: Peace-Keeping or Enforcement," in Alex Morrison and James Kiras, eds., Peacekeeping with Muscle (Clementsport, Nova Scotia: Lester Pearson Canadian Peacekeeping Centre, 1997), pp. 31-50; Simon Chester-man, You the People (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004); and Bill Durch, ed., UN Peacekeeping, America's Policy and the Uncivil Wars of the 1990s (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996).

15. UN, Report of the Secretary-General, "No Exit Without Strategy," S/2001/394 (20 April 2001).

16. Reginald Austin, "Electoral Component Final Report," UNTAC, 1993.

17. Shawn Donovan, "Dili Dilemma: How Blunders in Building a Nation Are Being Laid Bare," Financial Times, 12 June 2006, p. 13.

18. This link was drawn explicitly by Deputy Secretary Lawrence Eagleburger at the Conference on the Reconstruction of Cambodia, 22 June 1992, Tokyo, where he proposed that assistance to Cambodia be "through the SNC--and only to those parties which are so cooperating with UNTAC in implementing the peace accords--and only to those parties which are so cooperating" (Press Release USUN-44-92, 23 June 1992). Disbursing the aid through the SNC, however, gave the Khmer Rouge a voice, as a member of the SNC, in the potential disbursement of the aid.

19. The Congo case, ONUC, is one of the UN's most complex. Enforcement was essential for success and there was no overall peace settlement on which to rest, unlike the other cases reviewed in this section. Careful management kept the force limited and the costs nearly destroyed the UN. It is the sort of exception that proves the rule advanced here. For good accounts of the use of force in ONUC see Trevor Findlay's chapter on the Congo in Trevor Findlay, The Use of Force in Peace Operations (SIPRI/Oxford University Press, 2002).

20. William Durch, "The UN Operation in the Congo," in William Durch, ed., The Evolution of UN Peacekeeping (New York: St Martins, 1993), chapter 19, pp. 315-352, and John Carlin, "Namibia's Independence is UN's Triumph," The Independent, 20 March 1990, p.11; and for a thorough account of UNTAG, see Virginia Page Fortna, "Success and Failure in Southern Africa: Peacekeeping in Namibia and Angola," in Donald C.F. Daniel and Bradd C. Hayes, eds., Beyond Traditional Peacekeeping (London: MacMillan, 1995), pp. 282-301.

21. Author's conversation with Lt. General John Sanderson (UNTAC Force Commander) at the Vienna Seminar, 5 March 1995. On 28 May 1993, the author observed this in process in and around the small town of Stoung, which was surrounded by the Khmer Rouge. The Indonesian battalion established an inner perimeter around the town. The CPAF (SOC's army) created an outer perimeter and trucked in voters from outlying villages.

22. James Clark and Jon Swain, "SAS Rescue Mission Leads Jungle Hostages to Safety," Financial Times, 16 July 2000, and James Clark, "Freetown Parades its British Army," Sunday Times, 23 July 2000.
COPYRIGHT 2007 Lynne Rienner Publishers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Doyle, Michael W.
Publication:Global Governance
Article Type:Viewpoint essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2007
Previous Article:The UN Intellectual History Project: review of a literature.
Next Article:Healing broken societies: can aid buy love and peace?

Related Articles
Peace literature, from Ackerman to Zinn. (Paths to Peace).
War or Words?
City of Collision: Jerusalem and the Principles of Conflict Urbanism.
Contemporary issues in business ethics; the Callista Wicklander lectures DePaul University, 1991-2005.
Bits over barrels: the end of the institutional voice: everyone's a publisher now.
Computers and people; essays from The Profession.
War and peace in the ancient world.
The John W. Holmes lecture: can the UN be reformed?

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2022 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |