chapter  12
7 Pages

Legitimacy and the conditions of success

The cases presented in the chapters above demonstrate the ways legitimacy is key to the success or failure of stability operations in the post-Cold War era. We have looked at the complex nature of legitimacy and ways it is established through the triangulation of bases, performance and support. Against a backdrop of the increasing complexity of stability operations in terms of objectives, scope, and multiplicity of participating and affected actors, the significance of legitimation has greatly increased vis-à-vis the success of international intervention in regional crises. This study of legitimacy, defined using the crasis/tripartite notion comprising bases, performance and support as developed by James Gow, further explores the conceptual links between legitimacy and the conditions for the success of stability operations. Success in stability operations depends on the interdependencies or close links established and maintained among these three elements. Close inter-linkage and balance among these elements sustain an operation through the process of legitimation; the reverse of legitimation-de-legitimation-may also take place. The use of armed force typically involves multiple bases of legitimacy, and in the case of stability operations these normally include both the ethical and the power-political. Ethical bases of legitimacy represent the laws, norms and practices that form the bases of regulated behavior, such as action based on humanitarian concerns or concerns to uphold human rights or international humanitarian law. Ethical bases may also involve interests in strengthening multilateral security, a conception of security in which domestic instability, including humanitarian crises and civil war, is defined as a threat to international peace. Such a notion of security is distinct from traditional “realist” conceptions of security focused on greatpower relations and power-balancing among them. (In the latter type of thinking, stability and expeditionary missions-which are often considered to concern remote crises and less-than-vital national interests, or are tantamount to investment in eventualities-are carefully avoided.) Ethical bases also historically include the strengthening of institutions, such as peacekeeping institutions and other mechanisms that serve purposes related to

multilateral security. In addition, stability operations were often legitimated on the bases of the need for state-building, reconstruction, democratization, and related aspects of transforming a country into a democratically governed, representative state with a liberal market economy.1