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The Neutralization of Protracted Conflicts: The Case of UNTAC

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Abstract

In light of increasing revelations of human rights abuses within state boundaries, the traditional concept of state sovereignty is called into question. As a result, UN intervention in failing or failed states has become more widely accepted as an international practice.1 This chapter asks: Can the UN play a role in neutralizing protracted domestic conflicts?

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Notes

  1. G. Helman and S. Ratner, ‘Saving Failed States’, Foreign Policy, 89 (Winter 1992–93 ), pp. 3–30.

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  2. Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics ( Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1979 ).

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  3. Some scholars warn of the perils of military intervention in ethnic conflict. See William A. Stofft and Gary L. Guertner, ‘Ethnic Conflict: The Perils of Military Intervention’, Parameters (Spring 1995 ), pp. 30–42.

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  4. Joseph R. Rudolph, ‘Intervention in Communal Conflict’, Orbis (Spring 1995), pp. 259–73.

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  5. Mohammed Ayoob, The Third World Security Predicament: State Making, Regional Conflict, and the International System ( Boulder, Col.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1995 ), p. 158.

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  6. This chapter is not intended to provide a detailed background to the Cambodia conflict and the negotiation process leading to the signing of the Paris Agreement in October 1991. For background analysis, see Ramses Amer, Johan Saravanamuttu and Peter Wallensteen, From Intervention to Resolution (Penang, Malaysia: Sinaran Bros Sdn. Berhad, 1996 );

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  7. Amitav Acharya, Pierre Lizée and Sorpong Peou, (eds), Cambodia — the 1989 Paris Peace Conference: Background Analysis and Documents ( Millwood, NY: Kraus International Publications, 1991 );

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  8. Sorpong Peou, Conflict Neutralization in the Cambodia War: From Battlefield to Ballot-box (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Oxford University Press, 1997 ), chapter 1.

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  9. S. Duke, ‘The United Nations and Intra-state Conflict’, International Peacekeeping, 1, 4 (Winter 1994), pp. 375–93.

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  10. B. Kiernan, ‘Introduction’, in B. Kiernan (ed.), Genocide and Democracy in Cambodia: The Khmer Rouge, the United Nations and the International Community ( New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1993 ), p. 18.

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  11. M. Vickery, Cambodia: A Political Survey (Australia: The Department of Political and Social Change, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, No. 14, 1994 ), p. 2.

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  12. G. Klintworth, Cambodia’s Past, Present, and Future (Canberra: Australian National University, Working Paper No. 268, March 1993 ), p. 21.

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  13. P. Lizée, Building Peace: The Challenges and Contradictions of the Cambodian Peace Process ( PhD Dissertation, York University, September 1995 ).

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  14. Frank Frost, The Peace Process in Cambodia: Issues and Prospects (Australia: Faculty of Asian and International Studies, Centre for the Study of Australia-Asia Relations, Australia-Asia Papers, No. 69, October 1993), p. 1.

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  15. R. Amer, Peace-keeping in a Peace Process: The Case of Cambodia ( Uppsala, Sweden: Uppsala University, 1995 ), p. 65.

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  16. M. Doyle, UN Peacekeeping in Cambodia: UNTAC’s Civil Mandate ( Boulder, Col.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc., 1985 ), p. 66.

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  17. Janet Heininger, Peacekeeping in Transition: The United Nations in Cambodia ( New York: Twentieth Century Fund Press, 1994 ), p. 7.

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  18. M. H. Lao, ‘Obstacles to Peace in Cambodia’, Pacific Review, 6, 4 (1993), p. 389.

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  19. Sorpong Peou, ‘Cambodia’s Post-Cold War Dilemma: Democratization, Armed Conflict, and Authoritarianism’, Southeast Asian Affairs (1996), p. 141.

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  20. R. Bruce St John, ‘The Political Economy of the Royal Government of Cambodia’, Contemporary Southeast Asia, 17, 3 (December 1995), p. 265.

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  21. For the UN to be effective, it must be professionalized, streamlined and provided with resources adequate to carry out its tasks. Barry Blechman, ‘The Intervention Dilemma’, Washington Quarterly, 18, 3 (Summer 1995), pp. 63–73. Adequate performance will add to the adversaries’ perceptions of security and will encourage their cooperation with the United Nations, thus making the organization’s efforts more effective. According to Ingrid Lehmann, the UN operations in Yugoslavia and Somalia did not go very well because they failed to obtain support from influential segments of the population. Lehmann, however, argues that the more successful UN operations in Namibia and Cambodia benefited from strong information programmes.

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  22. I. Lehmann, ‘Public Perceptions of UN Peacekeeping: a Factor in the Resolution of International Conflicts’, The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, 19, 1 (Winter-Spring 1995), pp. 109–19. While this may be true in the case of Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge did not have any positive image of UNTAC and the Security Council.

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  23. In this context, the preventive nature of UN peace-oriented activity should be compatible with former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld’s imaginative concept of preventive diplomacy as opposed to former US President Woodrow Wilson’s concept of collective security with punitive measures in mind. For differences between preventive diplomacy and collective security, see W. Andy Knight and Mari Yamashita, ‘The United Nations’ Contribution to International Peace and Security’, in David Dewitt et al. (eds.), Building a New Global Order: Emerging Trends in International Security (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1993), especially pp. 330–1.

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© 2001 Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited

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Peou, S. (2001). The Neutralization of Protracted Conflicts: The Case of UNTAC. In: Knight, W.A. (eds) Adapting the United Nations to a Postmodern Era. Global Issues Series. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780333977774_12

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