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Abstract

The United Nations was created in 1945 to prevent another world war. It was designed, as the Preamble to the Charter states, to eliminate the scourge of war. The failure to agree on a permanent UN international army meant that the UN had to improvise in dealing with wars. Peacekeeping, which is not mentioned anywhere in the UN Charter, had to be invented. This study investigates how peacekeeping has evolved through four “generations,” culminating in Unsanctioned multinational forces consisting of “coalitions of the willing.” The study also stresses how one of the greatest peacekeeping failures of the UN in the twentieth century was its inability to prevent genocide from taking place in Rwanda and Bosnia. After an analysis of the UN’s role in the war against terror, the war in Afghanistan, and the war in Iraq, the study concludes with a discussion of various proposals for reform designed to improve the capacity of the UN to engage in more effective peacekeeping in the twenty-first century.

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