Shashi Tharoor


Peace-keeping today is in flux, if not in crisis. Two sets of powerful images - one reflective of the limitations of international peace-keeping in situations where there is no peace to keep, the other seemingly demonstrating the potential of the use of force to promote peace in the same situation - frame the context of this discussion. If peace-keeping is to serve as a useful instrument in the maintenance of international peace and security, it needs conceptual clarity, political support, and financial resources. For peace-keeping to remain effective in a changing world, its credibility must not be jeopardized by the application of peace-keeping to inappropriate situations, by the issuance of mandates unsupported by doctrinal consistency or military means, or by the undermining of its authority by attempts to reconcile peace-keeping with war-making under the rubric of peace-enforcement.

This article begins by describing the current dilemma facing peace-keeper. Next, two different types of peace-keeping scenarios: (1) Traditional peace-keeping, where the parties agree to end their conflicts and only need our help to keep their word; where the consent and co-operation of the parties can be assumed and the impartiality of the peace-keepers is unchallenged; and (2) more modern peace keeping situations characterized by "the nature of the world we live in and the challenges the new world disorder." Finally the article explores limitations and potentials of peace-keeping in the later context