This note will examine the consequences of the Security Council’s decisions to deploy under-resourced operations to civil war situations and various proposed means by which the Security Council might more effectively fulfill its responsibilities. Part II will look at a number of post-Cold War U.N. operations in civil wars—UNPROFOR in Croatia and Bosnia, United Nations Operation in Somalia I (UNOSOM I), United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda II (UNAMIR II), and United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL)—and show how, at least partly because of the Security Council’s failure to ensure that the operations it authorized were provided with sufficient numbers of adequately equipped troops, significant mandate elements could not be achieved. Part III will argue that decisions to authorize an inadequate number of troops and supplies (in Croatia, Somalia, Bosnia, and Sierra Leone), or to authorize troops whose rapid deployment was unlikely (in Rwanda and Bosnia), were taken in the face of clear indications of the likely obstacles to success, thus suggesting that the cause of failure was not lack of information, unexpected events on the ground, or unexpected failures to commit troops. What is required is not an improvement in, for example, the U.N.’s intelligence capability, but, rather, structural change to the peacekeeping system. Part IV will examine various proposed changes to the system of U.N. peacekeeping that aim to avoid this phenomenon of underresourcing, and will argue that none of them offers a politically achievable way of remedying these flaws. Part V will argue that, since a blanket decision by the Security Council to avoid involvement in any situation where these “warning signs” exist would represent an abdication of its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, efforts at innovation should be focused not on overhauling the system of U.N. peacekeeping, but on improving means of U.N. involvement with other force providers—regional and multinational—whereby the strengths of each can be used to improve, and guard against the failings of, the other.
“Soldiering on in Hope”: United Nations Peacekeeping in Civil Wars, 35 N.Y.U. J. INT’L L. & POL. 839