Summary of "Cooperating for Peace: The Global Agenda for the 1990s and Beyond"

Summary of

Cooperating for Peace: The Global Agenda for the 1990s and Beyond

By Gareth Evans

Summary written by Conflict Research Consortium Staff

Citation: Cooperating for Peace: The Global Agenda for the 1990s and Beyond. Gareth Evans, St. Leonards, Australia: Allen and Unwin, 1993, 224 pp.

Cooperating for Peace: The Global Agenda for the 1990s and Beyond analyses contemporary security problems facing the international community, and suggests a strategy for responding to such problems which emphasizes prevention, peace building, and cooperative security. The role of the United Nations in securing peace is discussed throughout.

Cooperating for Peace: The Global Agenda for the 1990s and Beyond will be of interest to those who seek a better understanding of the United Nations role in resolving international security problems. This work is divided into six sections, with a bibliography and index. Section One clarifies the types of problems, possible responses which typically arise in national and international conflict. Problems may be classified as emerging threats, disputes, armed conflicts, or as major security crises. Responses to these problems may take the form of peace building, peace maintenance, peace restoration, or peace enforcement. The author suggests criteria for matching response to type of problem. Section One also describes the various organizations which are active in resolving international security problems. The United Nations (UN) system and its various agencies are described in detail. Other important groups include regional organizations, sovereign states, non-governmental organizations, national liberation movements and think tanks.

Section Two focuses on the peace building process. "Peace building strategies are those that seek to address the underlying causes of disputes, conflicts and crises: to ensure either that conflicts don't arise in the first place, or that if they do arise they won't recur."[39] It first examines various international laws, treaties, and agreements. These international peace building regimes are discussed in three categories: legal regimes and dispute resolution mechanisms, arms control and disarmament regimes, and dialogue and cooperation arrangements. Section Two then examines in-country peace building. Domestic peace building may be undertaken preventively, or in the aftermath of internal conflict. In-country peace building promotes political justice, securing human rights, and fair economic distributions.

The third section explores strategies for maintaining peace. It begins by describing preventive diplomacy and by analyzing past UN attempts at preventative diplomacy. Based on these analyses, Evans suggests that emphasizing early preventive diplomacy would make future UN diplomacy more effective. In the early 1990s the UN began to employ preventive deployment, in addition to diplomacy. Preventive deployment involves the use of military force "with the primary object of deterring the escalation of that situation into armed conflict."[81] The author analyses past uses of preventive deployment, and urges a cautious approach to further use.

Section Four discusses strategies for restoring peace after armed conflict has broken out. The task of peace making can be broken down into two stages. The first stage involves managing the conflict to bring an end to armed hostilities. The second stage seeks to obtain a lasting political settlement. Evans analyses peace making efforts by both the UN and by other regional organizations and independent states. Peace keeping involves the deployment of military personnel after armed conflict has erupted, and aims at ensuring that the political agreements achieved in the peace making process are upheld. Peace keeping forces are acting cooperatively with the disputing parties to maintain political agreements. This section reviews UN peace keeping operations over the past fifty years, and explores the cases of Cambodia and Angola in more detail. Drawing on these analyses, the author identifies the conditions for effective peace keeping, and suggests improvements for the future organization and management of UN peace keeping operations.

Section Five discusses peace enforcement. Unlike peace keeping, peace enforcement involves the active use of military force to put down threats to international security. Peace enforcement is an option of last resort according to the UN Charter. Non-military sanctions are the first stage in peace enforcement. Evans reviews the use of sanctions and trade embargoes in the past decade. He describes the strategy's limitations and the conditions under which sanctions may be most effective. When sanctions fail military intervention may be called for. Section five goes on to discuss UN peace enforcement operations in the Gulf War, and in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and to draw specific lessons for further enforcement operations from those cases. The UN intervention in Somalia marked a new use of UN military force in support of humanitarian objectives. Evans evaluates the use of military intervention to promote humanitarian goals, and suggests deployment criteria and operation guidelines for future interventions.

The final section draws on the earlier analyses and argues that the UN is in need of reform if it is to be able to effectively respond to security problems. Evans identifies seven priority issues. These include: restructuring the Secretariat, solving the UN funding crisis, improving the management of peace operations, giving priority to prevention, rethinking humanitarian coordination, emphasizing the importance of peace building, and regenerating the Security Council. Section Six ends by returning to the notion of cooperative security. Evans argues for the general adoption of the cooperative approach, and further illustrates that approach.

Cooperating for Peace: The Global Agenda for the 1990s and Beyond offers a thorough overview of contemporary international strategies for maintaining and restoring peace, with careful analyses of recent successes and failures.