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World Political Science Discussion Essay

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Updated: Jul 16th, 2021

Which of the four levels of analysis (Global, Interstate, Domestic, and Individual) is the most salient cause for conflicts in the 21st Century?

Conflict analysis is an important concept that helps stakeholders to comprehend the features, reasons, and trends of conflicts. This systematic study assists development, humanitarian as well as peacekeeping institutions to gain an understanding of conflict situations and come up with approaches to maintaining security. Influences of war are at global, interstate, domestic, and individual levels. However, influences at the domestic level can be viewed as the main cause of disagreements in the 21st century (Haynes et al. 23). These reasons can be related to nationalism, ethnics, dictatorships, political coalitions, public opinion, foreign policy bureaucracies, and gender issues.

Notably, 21st-century conflicts revolve around politics, power, and competition among actors as well as the changing of institutions to benefit a few individuals in society. Persons and groups cannot randomly fight each other unless individuals who have vested domestic interests mobilize them (Wehr 34). The conflict in Rwanda that was typified by brutal killings of victims in their villages and towns by their neighbors was premised on ethnic cleansing. In the former Yugoslavia, it was evident that ethnic hatred led to violations of human rights and mass atrocities. The conflict in South Sudan (ongoing) was caused by power contests between those in the government and those in the opposition. In addition, this war was fuelled by the desire of various armed groups to control the wealth accumulated from oil reserves. The crisis in Sudan can be attributed to democracy issues because the people felt that the government was not paying attention to the voices of the population. Thus, they took to the streets to protest political and economic policies that were unpopular. According to these illustrations, it is evident that domestic issues are the main reasons nations are characterized by conflicts, both armed and unarmed (Wehr 7). Whether these disagreements will reduce in the future depends on how individuals and institutions will handle local issues that affect the majority of citizens.

Do a critical assessment on the implications of the deployment of peacekeeping operations in Yugoslavia (i.e. Bosnia) OR Timor Leste. What is considered a successful or unsuccessful peacekeeping operation? What is your verdict and why?

Peacekeeping operations in Yugoslavia (Bosnia) were viewed as important activities as well as foreign policy instruments to create and maintain peace and security. Peacekeeping is one of the core approaches of the United Nations in maintaining peace and security around the world. Currently, there are more than one hundred thousand UN soldiers charged with protecting human populations and sustaining security in war-torn countries (Beardsley et al. 676). The UN has failed in some cases (for example, Rwanda), while it has succeeded in others (El Salvador).

The war in the former Yugoslavia started when the Soviet Union crumbled in 1991, and this collapse also resulted in the end of the Cold War. The liberal government of Canada argued that a humanitarian solution could be successful only if it was supplemented by the political commitment of the international community. On the one hand, NATO and UNPROFOR practiced the ‘dual key’ strategy, while on the other hand, the U.S. insisted on the utilization of air power (Beardsley et al. 680). The UN’s arms ban on Bosnia was violated because third-party nations were supplying Muslims in Yugoslavia and Croatia with weapons. Consequently, the United States of America decided to take a passive stand on the shipment of Iranian weapons to Muslims in both Yugoslavia and Croatia. The argument by the U.S. was that the shipments would advance these duo groups’ preparedness to offer resistance against the better arms used by Serbians (Beardsley et al. 686). The failure of the United Nations’ peacekeeping operations to prevent the fall of Srebrenica could be viewed as the inadequacy of the international community to launch successful peacekeeping operations.

The peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia did not yield anticipated outcomes because the UN failed to deploy enough soldiers to defend to Srebrenica and other towns that appeared safe. However, in this context, politics could not be separated from the operations (Beardsley et al. 675). Notably, the UN succumbed to political pressure to incorporate objective decisions on the deployment of troops. Successful peacekeeping operations should be conducted on the premises of intelligence that is collected by independent persons and agencies. Moreover, such safeguarding activities should be executed in an environment where members of the international community abide by the provisions of the established agreements between or among parties (Beardsley et al. 676). However, due to lack of these requirements, peacekeeping activities resulted in the severe implications for the prevention of cleansing as well as mass murder in the former Yugoslavia.

Discuss the legitimacy criteria for use of force in invoking the notion of Responsibility to Protect, ‘R2P’ and in application to a humanitarian intervention case study.

The responsibility to protect (R2P) is a worldwide political-based commitment by the United Nations member countries to avoid genocide, crimes that affect humanity, ethnic-based cleaning, and battle or war crimes (Kathman and Melin 150). This principle is premised on the view that the sovereignty of states entails an obligatory duty to protect societies from actions that result in mass crimes of undermining of human rights. Moreover, R2P is founded on a commitment to respect international law, particularly specific principles of law that are related to armed conflict, peace and security, independence of states, and human rights. In the context of Afghanistan, it should be understood that it was required to protect its people from genocide and other activities that could massively affect the population (Kathman and Melin 155). In other words, stakeholders in the war had to invoke the use the legitimacy criteria in invoking the notion of R2P. The international community had a duty to help as well as encourage nations to fulfil their obligatory responsibility to protect citizens, handle the causes of mass atrocities, improve the capacity to avoid such illegal actions, and address issues before they get worse.

When the U.S government and NATO defeated the Taliban, it started unleashing mass atrocities on Afghan leadership, ISAF, and citizens using tactics such as asymmetric warfare, suicide attacks, and turncoat killings. The commitment by the international community as well as global organizations to provide support to the Afghan government to protect citizens against illegal activities of the Taliban was within the legal provisions of the R2P – the legitimacy criteria to force to protect the citizenry (Sandler 1875). Notably, the insurgents’ activities resulted in mass crimes against humanity, and violence that reached peaks from 2007 to 2009. The number of military personnel started to rapidly increase from 2009 to 2011 when the figure stood at 140,000. Once Obama bin Laden was captured and killed by the U.S. military in 2011, the international community and forces that were intervening in the crisis said they would leave the country because the enemy had been killed (Sandler 1876). It is essential to underscore the contributions of the foreign states in maintaining peace and security in Afghanistan was critical in protecting the lives of the people who were targeted by the outlawed group. The most notable modes of protection exhibited by the international community while discharging R2P in Afghanistan included prohibitions on harm, direct physical shields, dedicated security activities, mainstreaming fortification, and restorative defense.

Analyze the quote below in reference to the ECOWAS intervention and support of the G5 Joint Force in the Sahel region. “Regional support is necessary because the UN lacks the capacity, resources and expertise to address all problems that may arise in Africa…the international community should strive to complement rather than to supplant African efforts to resolve Africa’s problems.”

The human populations in the Sahel region face a myriad of challenges, which are often interconnected. Some of these include food, environmental, insecurity and political instability, and fragile economy crises. Due to the complexity that typifies these crises in the region, the proposal that the United Nations has a duty to involve regional, as well as subregional approaches, would go a long way in ending crises and preventing them from recurring in the future (Duursma 446). The statement/proposal by the late Kofi Annan also stressed the concept of the international community supplementing rather than supplanting the continent’s efforts to solve problems.

In the context of the Sahel region, it is critical to state that regional economic communities (RECs) such as SADC and ECOWAS seem relatively strong in comparison to the African Union (AU) since they recognize and attempt to handle local concerns in better ways. Both SADC and ECOWAS are characterized by security arms within their structures; this implies that they can handle problems about insecurity. The coup d’etat in 2012 and the proliferation of armed radical groups in Northern Mali complicated issues for the AU (Duursma 456). Thus, the PSC mandated ECOWAS to be at the forefront of implementing interventions. Since the UNSC Resolution 2071 on Mali allows the principle of an international force, ECOWAS deployed 3,300 military personnel to contain the volatile situation in the region. According to the results of the involvement of forces deployed by ECOWAS, it is apparent that RECs and regional approaches could play a better role than the AU because they offer five groups of military forces (Charbonneau 420). Therefore, it would be an effective way to complement the activities of RECs than rather supplanting them since they can be utilized to bring long-lasting political and economical solutions to the region.

Works Cited

Beardsley, Kyle, et al. “Resolving Civil Wars Before They Start: The UN Security Council and Conflict Prevention in Self-Determination Disputes.” British Journal of Political Science, vol. 47, no. 3, 2017, pp. 675-697.

Charbonneau, Bruno. “Intervention in Mali: Building Peace Between Peacekeeping and Counterterrorism.” Journal of Contemporary African Studies, vol. 35, no.4, 2017, pp. 415-431.

Duursma, Allard. “Information Processing Challenges in Peacekeeping Operations: A Case Study on Peacekeeping Information Collection Efforts in Mali.” International Peacekeeping, vol. 25, no. 3, 2018, pp. 446-468.

Haynes, Jeffrey, et al. World Politics: International Relations and Globalisation in the 21st Century. 2nd ed., Sage, 2017.

Kathman, Jacob D., and Molly M. Melin. “Who Keeps the Peace? Understanding State Contributions to UN Peacekeeping Operations.” International Studies Quarterly, vol. 61, no.1, 2016, pp. 150-162.

Sandler, Todd. “International Peacekeeping Operations: Burden Sharing and Effectiveness.” Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 61, no. 9, 2017, pp. 1875-1897.

Wehr, Paul. Conflict Regulation. Routledge, 2019.

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