Andrew H Campbell of Bellevue, NE Discusses How International Peacekeeping Laws Are Changing


Peacekeeping operations are an integral part of the United Nations (UN) mandate. For many of its members, taking part in international peacekeeping missions is more about maintaining the legal order between the nations than out of each nation’s concern for its own security. However, recent shifts in the balance of power on the world stage have had a profound impact on UN peacekeeping missions. So much so that the laws governing these operations have themselves undergone fundamental changes.

Dr. Andrew H Campbell is a public speaker and researcher with a Master of Diplomacy in International Conflict Management who’s based in Bellevue, Nebraska. “The challenges facing the UN peacekeeping operations are multidimensional and complex,” he begins. The global environment is characterized by regional instability, failed states, increased weapons proliferation, and global terrorism and requires greater global leadership. “We see it in the rise of violent extremism as well as the increasing role of regional organizations in providing peace. With these challenges comes a need to address international security concerns from a practical perspective.” In fact, the urgency to understand the impact national and non-state leaders have on war and peace has never been higher in the halls of governments and peace developmental institutions. Thus, one of the single greatest challenges confronting the international community is how to understand the dynamics of contemporary political disputes and violent conflict in the international realm and how to better prevent, manage and resolve such discord.


A Brave New World Order

In today’s environment, as nation-states are becoming more interdependent, cooperation among leaders is becoming more critical to satisfying states’ interest in an interconnected world.  There was a time when the UN was the main player on the global stage, not just for peacekeeping but also for solving conflicts between nations. It was a responsibility that the UN had accepted and carried out with varying degrees of success.

However, according to Andrew H Campbell of Bellevue, NE, the role of the UN in certain regions has been marginalized. With the rise of non-state actors and organizations, the UN’s approach has come under scrutiny if not openly challenged by regional states. The reason is that regional and international institutions have an enormous impact on peace development, as “the nation-state is being so weakened by the political and socioeconomic factors underpinning globalism that it may be doomed as an institution. It’s one thing to be the major peacekeeping operator in a dispute,” says Dr. Campbell, “and it’s a totally different thing to find yourself giving the reins of the whole operation to regional states”. The international community is beginning to understand that leading societal change from a humanitarian crisis takes more than one organization when the political and social environment is unstable, fluid, and complex.  In many situations, in fact, the UN finds itself relegated to be mere supporters in peace development operations. This is true of disputes in parts of the world where the UN is wrongfully perceived as a tool of the developed countries to intervene in regional matters. However, despite the UN not being welcomed in some regions of the world, there are still over 60 multilateral peace operations running as of 2017.


Challenging Core Assumptions

After the end of the cold war, the fault lines shifted from East-West ideological conflicts to North-South rebalancing and civil war fallouts. Needless to say, these changing landscapes have forced the UN to reconsider its own reasoning and methodology as well as its approaches to security and peace.

Andrew H Campbell stresses that the UN shouldn’t be trying to play catch up. Instead, its strategy should be focused on building long-term peace in regions where border conflicts and disputes often arise. “Sometimes the UN faces a tough choice,” he says, “between upholding the interests of the international community and upholding the interests of the region. And let’s not forget that in the eyes of some populations, the UN represents many of their former colonizing nations. This is why in some geopolitical areas; regional organizations are considered a better alternative to international peacekeeping bodies.”


Pressing Reforms

Faced with these challenges and a fluid global stage, the UN’s response was in the form of proposed changes not just in its peace and security architecture, but in the management system and structures as a whole.

According to Andrew H Campbell of Bellevue, NE, these reforms couldn’t have come any sooner. The UN reforms, which were recommended by a High-level Independent Panel on UN Peace Operations, aim to make peacekeeping operations more effective by focusing on the prevention of conflicts and quick responses as ways to stop disputes from turning into civil or international wars. One of the reforms was the new Action for Peacekeeping initiative which is built around eight priority commitments including politics, women, safety, and protection.

International leaders seek UN reforms to address today’s peace development challenges by

  • shifting from retributive justice toward implementing restorative justice measures as a means not only to redress but also heal ruptured tribal and communal relationships from incidents of structural, psychological, and armed conflict.
  • religious peacebuilding initiatives transform the conflict by transforming the cultural mindset through a cultural spiritual awakening of individual and intergroup forgiveness and societal reconciliation toward ex-combatants is the linchpin for sustainable peace.

“That might explain the unsuccessful outcomes of the interventions in places such as Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia and Herzegovina which resulted in significant loss of life for the UN.”


Implications of the Changes in Global Relations

At a time when the UN finds its role in international peacekeeping diminished, it’s important to understand the transformations that lead to this situation. Bellevue, Nebraska’s Andrew H Campbell pinpoints one of these changes. “There’s a shift in regard to the relations between the global North and the global South. This not only impacts the financing of the UN but also its ability to intervene and provide the effective peacekeeping operations that are part and parcel of its mandate.”

More recently, peacekeeping approaches have undergone a change where there is more focus on human security. As a result, the priority of the UN now more than ever is to strike a balance between a people-centered approach to human security and a state-centered one.


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