Peacekeeping in principle
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The term “peacekeeping” is not to be found in the Charter of the UN, yet every newspaper and the daily TV screen are filled with the pictures and the dramatic accounts of the UN’s peacekeepers, the Blue Berets, at work. Currently there are 17 peacekeeping operations and 71,000 peacekeepers. Peacekeeping missions have been resorted to increasingly in recent years, with a total of 36 operations since 1948 at a cost of more than $10,400 million; 650,000 men and women from 70 countries have donned the blue beret and launched into a score of arduous and imaginative enterprisesover 1,000 have paid with their lives. There is a wealth of controversy, sometimes ill-informed, as to the effectiveness and validity of some of these operations. At times the UN has been seen not so much active as inactive. This chapter will consider, first, some of the UN’s early approaches to the task of peacekeeping; the Cold War era apparently rendered many of these impotent and questionable. Efforts to modify peacekeeping principles by successive Secretary-Generals are next described, followed by the most recent proposals for UN peacekeeping. Finally, this chapter briefly explores the transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding, emphasising particularly the controversial issue of UN intervention within a state’s frontiers.