Avatar for amix 29 марта 2004
amix сотрудник

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The week 6 was midterm, and the 7th week's task was:

[color=darkred]Week 7: Lecture 10-11 (Due Monday, March 29 th , 12:00 midnight Moscow time)

Please answer only ONE of the following two questions:

  • In terms of the Paris Peace Accords, the U.N. set up a transitional authority (UNTAC) that assumed a wide range of governance tasks for an interim period in Cambodia. In your opinion, is it a good idea to entitle the U.N. to provisonally take over the governance of countries ravaged by civil wars? Under what circumstances, if ever, would you recommend such a temporary transfer of sovereignty to the U.N.?
  • Do states ever intervene in foreign conflicts for purely humanitarian reasons or only when they believe that their national interests are at stake? In other words, is humanitarianism only a fiction that serves as a fig leaf for the self-interested actions of states? Make a coherent argument and illustrate it with concrete examples./color

We chose the first topic. As we usually do. It's our soapbox.
Our essay, written by Liza and defaced:[b]/b) by me:

[color=darkred]PROVISIONAL U.N. ADMINISTRATION: WHERE AND WHY?

There are cases when the UN provisional administration should be established in crisis-ridden countries; this measure has its advantages and disadvantages. This essay is an attempt to demonstrate them.

To begin with, we will examine the cases in which provisional administration is essential.

Firstly, if previous government was totally marginalized or eliminated during a civil war, it would be a logical decision to set a temporary international administration.

Secondly, if it was stated in the peace accord that a “third party” should govern the country until democratic institutions and self-enforcing peace is established (free and fair elections, etc.), and it was the only condition under which parties agreed to cooperate, the UN can be considered the best mediator.

The possible actors to play a “third party” role – same as in the case of intervention – are three: UNO, regional organizations and states. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages; however, the main aspect (relevant to all situations) is, probably, combination of continuity and resources available (in comparison with other actors). To dwell on the question of continuity, we should imagine a “typical” (in quotes, unfortunately) situation: UN intervenes in a civil war and stops killings; it’s perhaps in a basic logic to continue the mission, as personnel is aware of all details, knows the conditions, is much more likely to define possible spoilers and to find possible remedies. Regardless of the result (for example be it Rwanda or El Salvador), lack of cooperation and coordination between different international actors will be reflected negatively on efficiency of the operation.

The provisional UN administration also appears to be preferable – or even indispensable for solving the conflict – when regional or great powers support different parties in a civil war. For example, in his lectures professor Stedman says about main factions in the Cambodian civil war [lecture 10]; the factions were supported by three great powers, and only UN could be the ‘interim transition authority’ in such case.

Talking about advantages and disadvantages of UN provisional governance, we should consider several points listed and commented above.

Legitimacy. Too often do we hear about victims among peace-keepers. However, there is a chance that more people will tolerate UN presence and administration because UN is a universal organization which aim is to maintain international peace and security.

Personnel. In his article Soprong Peou mentions staffing problems during the operation in Cambodia. However it seems to us that for UN it’s much easier to find qualified personnel than for a regional organization or state.

Neutrality. There is always a threat of a state (governing until elections) to act rather in its own interests than in interests of peace and security of citizens; the governing state could gain economic and political advantages and even establish a puppet regime. UN is more likely to be neutral, although it’s harder to start an operation because having conflicting opinions can even paralyze the actions.

Impartiality. A state is likely to choose one party and to support it.

Transparence. For international community, UN is easier to control than a state.

Concord. All members of UN have to comply with its decision, while a state exercising the role of government is likely to face opposition even among its allies. The worse it is if there is more than one governing state. Such opposition can bring tensions in other regions.

Flexibility. Compared to a coalition of states, UN often spends much more time to reach a concord. UN cannot adapt to a new situation or changing conditions as easily as a state can. UN’s mandate is not easily changed or modified

Regionalization. We think that the point Stedman made for intervention is adequate for provisional government as well. If we admit that regional organizations are to conduct provisional government, than soon the main burden will lie upon the shoulders of African organizations as the majority of conflicats are in Africa. However, it is obvious that African Organizations are not powerful enough to cope with the task. Also, as in a regional organization there are usually a few dominating states, this variant can take over the weak aspects of single state variant.

Thus, we consider the UN provisional administration appropriate for the cases of marginalized or eliminated government during a civil war, or if the peace accord presumes a third party governing until a self-enforcing peace is established. There are factors that make the discussed measures more or less important. While UN is not an ideal mediator for these cases, it is probably the preferable one./color

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