Peacekeeping and the international system in the twenty-ﬁrst century: looking back to look forward
One of the themes of this book has been the continuity of purpose that has characterized peacekeeping from the early twentieth century to the early twenty-ﬁrst century. In pursuing this, we have challenged the idea that the underlying function of peacekeeping has undergone any signiﬁcant qualitative change since the end of the cold war. Nevertheless, it is the case that there has been a signiﬁcant quantitative transformation in the occurrence of peacekeeping since the late 1980s. More peacekeeping operations took place in more parts of the international system in the 1990s than in any preceding decade. This raises questions for the future. A very few years into the post-cold war era there were already clear signs that peacekeeping demand threatened to outstrip supply in the sense that available resources – institutional, human and ﬁnancial – were becoming unequal to the range of crises on which they had to be expended. New approaches were proposed, for example by Boutros-Ghali’s An Agenda for Peace, and some were tried, in west Africa and in Europe, with mixed results. The twenty-ﬁrst century, therefore, began with peacekeeping in something of a crisis, though a slow-burning one that remained manageable in the short-term.