Peace Enforcement

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Peace Enforcement

Functions of the UN: Maintenance of International Peace and Security Peace Enforcement

Introduction to Peace Enforcement

In addition to peacekeeping missions, the UN can also authorize peace enforcement operations. Unlike peacekeeping missions, which help willing parties maintain an existing peace agreement, peace enforcement operations seek to repel international aggression, using military force if necessary. Under chapter 7 of the UN charter, the Security Council may authorize member countries to take military action in response to international breaches of the peace. The UN’s founders initially envisioned chapter 7 as the teeth in the UN charter.

An early example of the UN’s role in peace enforcement came in 1950, when North Korea invaded South Korea, starting the Korean War. The UN Security Council condemned the invasion and authorized a multinational force, led by the United States, to repel the attack. This resolution was only possible because the USSR boycotted the Security Council meeting to protest the UN’s refusal to recognize the communist government of China. When the USSR returned to the Security Council, it used its veto to protect its ally, North Korea. After the Korean War, the Cold War prevented further UN peace enforcement operations.

The UN again authorized a peace enforcement mission in 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait. After Iraq refused to comply with UN demands to withdraw, the UN launched a military operation to expel Iraq from Kuwait. This operation was again led by the United States, and it included a vast coalition of forces from many UN member countries (see Persian Gulf War). UN-sponsored peace enforcement operations remain rare, however, because of the difficulty of getting all five of the veto-wielding great powers to agree to military action.” (1)

Peace Enforcement


See Also

  • Peacebuilding
  • Peacemaking
  • Peacemaking Criminology
  • Peacemaking theory
  • Peacekeeping
  • Peace Enforcement
  • Peacemaking Circles


Notes and References

Guide to Peace Enforcement

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