Historiography Research Paper

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Historiography Research Paper

Historiography Research Paper 30% (300 points)

The success/failure of the United Nations as peacemaker
Select one major story of the 20th century and trace its evolution, both historically and historiographically, over a one hundred year period. This is a research paper so I expect you to use outside primary and secondary sources as well as readings assigned in the class. The topic is of your choosing, but the only criteria is that it span the entire 20th century (or at least very close to it) and be a topic that you can make a compelling argument was vitally significant in shaping the era. The paper should be 3750 words in length at a minimum, exclusive of front and back matter and notes. You must use fully scholarly apparatus using the system described in the Chicago Manual of Style or Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. Consult Turabian for all matters of form as well. NOTE: Internet sources (web sites) should be rarely used, if ever. Exceptions are scholarly websites and documents available through the APUS Online Library (Wikipedia is not considered a valid academic source DUE FINAL DAY OF CLASS.

Since the signing of the United Nations Charter in 1945, human rights became one of UN’s three pillars as coined in a dictum during the proceedings of the 2005 world summit: “There can be no peace without development, no development without peace, and neither without respect for human rights.” Although progress has been made in these three pillars, it is in regards to human rights that the UN’s engagement has experienced great shortcomings. For instance, the UN human rights pillar receives only 3 percent of the organization’s general budget[1].

The United Nations is committed to solve major and minor present, emerging and future threats such as the present conflict in Darfur in Sudan as well as the global threat of alarming climate change devastation. In regards to global politics, the UN’s role is to manage the problems of the world in an effective approach that explores the most excellent solutions accessible in collaboration with international organizations such as G8, European Union, World Bank, African Union as well as other nations. In striving to uphold its mandate, the UN faces myriad challenges and especially in peacekeeping[2]. Accordingly, this paper seeks to analyze available documented literature on the failures and successes of the UN in peacekeeping, so as to the question: Is the UN’s engagement in peacekeeping effective?


History of the United Nations

Signed in 1941, the Inter-Allied Declaration signed in London on June 12, and the Atlantic Charter signed on August 14, gave way to the establishment of the United Nations. President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States of America and Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, laid down a set of ethics to be used for international collaborations in upholding peace and security. In 1942, ambassadors of 26 Allied nations combating Axis Powers gathered in Washington, D.C. to sign the “Declaration by United Nations” in-support of the Atlantic Charter. The following year saw the Governments of China, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union come together in Moscow to propose an international body to uphold peace and security. In December 1943, this goal was instituted in a conference in Teheran.

The first draft of the United Nations was put-together at a forum held at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. where the objectives, structure and operations of the international organization were agreed upon. Following several meetings at Yalta, Prime Minister Joseph Stalin, Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt declared their tenacity to institute an overall international organization to uphold peace and security. The Following successive San Francisco Conference brought together ambassadors of 50 allied nations for the Nations Conference on International Organization. These meetings achieved the 111-Article Charter and in 1945 the United Nations was created[3]. Dag Hammarskjold, UN secretary general used the Suez Crisis opportunity created by the France and Britain’s invasion of Egypt in 1956, to influence governments to institute peacekeeping forces[4].

Evolution of Peace Keeping Operations

            There are no explicit peacekeeping provisions in the 111-article-long Charter. For the duration of the Cold war, UN peace keeping had a comparatively minor role that was fundamentally confined to the Middle East conflicts linked to decolonization. Thus, peacekeeping troops helped to arrest those crises where neither superpower had a key interest, forestalling their participation and ensuing escalation[5]. By the end of 1956, the UN General Assembly had created the initial United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF I) to avert the Suez Crisis. Subsequently, the role and power of mandating has since been bestowed on the Security Council. The mandate of UNEF I was to separate the sides, supervise the pulling out of the French, Israeli and British units, and patrol the Gaza strip and the Sinai Peninsula. Additionally, in 1960 to 1964, the UN undertook another very important peacekeeping operation in the Congo[6].

Since both of these operations were not simple procedures, a second force was established to monitor the cease-fire as well as offer a buffer zone in the Arab-Israeli War. Most of the principles that guide the UN peacekeeping operations were coined in this mission. Some of these principles essential to justify deployment include: the consent of the sides involved, continued support from the Security Council, readiness of party states to contribute personnel, use of force only to self-defend, and lastly, the willingness of the Security Council and member states to fund the peacekeeping operation. The second force, therefore, was largely military in composition and was charged with the role of maintaining calm on the front lines, giving time for the peacemakers to mediate a dispute settlement[7]. Although most of these negotiations have failed, the UN peacekeeping forces have successfully averted the expansion most conflicts.

A major transition in the UN peacekeeping occurred in 1989 following an unprecedented mutual aid between the five permanent members of the Security Council. The end of the Cold War tensions reduced the East-West rivalry leading to an unprecedented era of growth and optimism[8]. The scope of the UN peacekeeping operations and number of missions increased from five peacekeeping missions in 1988 to 18 missions and from 9,950 troops in the field to a record 80,000 by 1993.

PKOs in this era are commonly described as second-generation and included operations such as the UN Observer Mission in El Salvador (1991-95), the UN Transition Assistance Group in Namibia (1989-90), as well as the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (1992-93)[9]. These operations were set out as negotiated political solutions where peacekeepers were tasked with responsibilities such as human rights monitoring, electoral assistance, police training, safeguarding of humanitarian relief efforts, refugee resettlement, and disarmament/ demobilization of the military[10].

[1] Gilmour, Andrew. “The Future of Human Rights: A View from the United Nations.” Ethics & International Affairs (Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs) 28, no. 2 (2014): 239-250.

[2] Mehta, Vijay. “How effective is the UN in Peacekeeping and mediating Conflict?” The United Nations and Student Association (UNYSA) of the University of St Andrews, Scotland. University of St Andrews, Scotland, 2008. 1-13.

[3] Weiss, Thomas G., Tatiana Carayannis, and Richard Jolly. “The “Third” United Nations.” Global Governance 15, no. 1 (2009): 123-142.

[4] Mehta, How Effective is the UN, 2

[5] OSMANÇAVUŞOĞLU, EMEL. “Challenges to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in the post-Cold War Era.” The Journal of International Affairs. IV, no. 4 (2000).

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid

[8] Ibid

[9] Ibid

[10] Ibid

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