The Future of Peacekeeping

  • Shashi Tharoor


Early in 1995, The New York Times turned its magisterial gaze upon the future of UN peacekeeping, an activity that had come in for considerable criticism in the American media over the preceding two years. ‘Rethinking and retrenchment are in order… There should be a shift back toward more limited objectives like policing cease fires’, it declared. ‘UN peacekeeping does what it can do very well. It makes no sense to continue eroding its credibility by asking it to do what it cannot.’1 This somewhat startling advocacy of a return to traditional verities gave pause to many of us who had been engaged in the practice of peacekeeping during its recent tumultuous history. Was The New York Times right, and if so, were we to contemplate a future of retreating headlong into the past?


Member State York Time Security Council Peace Settlement Peacekeeping Operation 
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  1. 2.
    For analyses of these contemporary challenges, see James N. Rosenau, Turbulence in World Politics: A Theory of Change and Continuity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990); Lawrence Freedman, ‘Order and Disorder in the New World’, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 71 (1991-2) pp. 20–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Thomas G. Weiss, ‘UN Responses in the Former Yugoslavia: Moral and Operational Choices’, Ethics and International Affairs, Vol. 8 (1994), esp. pp. 13–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 9.
    Manfred Woemer, ‘A New NATO For New Era’, speech at the National Press Club, Washington DC (6 October 1993). The UN is similarly positive: see Kofi Annan, ‘UN Peacekeeping Operations and Cooperation with NATO’, Nato Review, Vol. 41, No. 5 (October 1993) pp. 3–7.Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays (New York: Scribners, 1864),’ self-Reliance’.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1996

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  • Shashi Tharoor

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