Paper prepared for the Second Workshop with Civil Society: Draft Policy Paper on Peace Support Operations, Department of Foreign Affairs, Pretoria, 11 November 1997. Updated 23 November. (Reprint of African Political and Economic Monthly, Policy Dialogue Series, Vol 11:3 January 1998.)


The Draft Policy Paper on Peace Support Operations, prepared by the departments of defence and foreign affairs [1], has a number of limitations. While the title suggests the formulation of national policy, the text focuses largely on procedural matters. It does not offer any political or strategic criteria for deciding when and how South Africa should become involved in peace operations. It insists that these operations are fundamentally political and that military deployment should always be viewed as subordinate to political objectives, but it concentrates on military means and ignores the question of political ends.

The document does not analyse the dynamics and causes of conflict scenarios in which military deployment might be contemplated. It ignores the international debates on peace operations. It presents lengthy definitions of preventive diplomacy, peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and peace enforcement, without assessing the viability and value of these activities in different situations. In short, it does not provide the perspective required of a government policy paper.

The pressure on the international community to undertake peace operations stems largely from humanitarian concerns about massive human suffering, depicted graphically by CNN and other media. The moral impulse to alleviate suffering does not constitute a sufficient basis for action, however. External interventions also have to be based on a pragmatic assessment of their potential effectiveness. Such assessment obviously depends on the circumstances of each case. Less obviously, it depends on the manner in which conflict (`the problem’) and peace (`the desired outcome’) are understood at a more general level.

This is not a matter of abstract theorising. Every planned action is based on some kind of analysis, whether or not the analysis is conscious and sound. If the problem or the desired outcome are misconceived, then peace endeavours will be ineffectual or counter-productive. Since the efforts of the international community to promote peace in Africa have not yielded great success, this paper adopts a radical stance, both in the sense of questioning conventional wisdoms and in the sense of shifting focus from the symptoms to the causes of crises.

The paper presents a framework for understanding conflict and peace, and explores the implications for peacemaking and peacebuilding, in the context of intra-state crises in Africa. It argues that military operations have limited utility in this context and that the emphasis of the Draft Policy Paper should therefore lie with the broader dimensions of peace initiatives. This would be consistent with South Africa’s comparative advantages, which derive from the success of its transition to democracy and not from its military capacity.

In using terms like `Africa’, `the international community’ and `local actors’, the paper obscures significant differences within each category. There may consequently be important exceptions to the generalisations made below, and the framework should be accompanied by country- and actor-specific analyses when determining appropriate strategies in a particular case. Apart from the section on military operations, the paper draws on the experience of practitioners at the Centre for Conflict Resolution and its partner organisations in Africa. For reasons of space, it does not address the role of civil society; for lack of expertise, it does not deal with macro-economic issues.

Conflict and crisis

Many people regard conflict as an intrinsically negative dynamic. This perspective is implicit in much of the academic and policy literature on peace operations, where the terms `conflict’ and `conflict prevention’ typically refer to situations of crisis characterised by an actual or potential outbreak of widespread violence. The perspective is understandable in the light of the destruction wrought by violent conflict in Africa and elsewhere, but it is analytically limited and misleading.

The reality is that conflict is inevitable and natural in all societies comprising diverse groups. Whether the groups are defined by ethnicity, religion, politics or class, they have different interests, values and access to power and resources. These differences necessarily generate conflict and competition. Moreover, conflict can be viewed as a means to change or at least a desire for change. An assessment of whether conflict is positive or negative therefore depends on a contextual judgement of what is to be changed, to what end, and by what methods.

How we understand conflict at a general level has a critical bearing on our response in specific situations. If we regard the phenomenon as inherently destructive, then our efforts will be directed towards suppressing it. This is a feature of authoritarian regimes and is more likely to heighten than reduce tension. On the other hand, if we view conflict as normal and inescapable, then the challenge is manage it in constructive ways. States which are stable are not free of conflict but are rather able to deal with its various manifestations in a manner which is broadly acceptable to citizens.

In the national context, constructive conflict management is the essential, on-going business of governance. It is the formal responsibility, in different ways, of the executive, parliament, provincial and local authorities, the police and the judiciary. Crises occur when weak states lack the capacity, and when authoritarian states lack the legitimacy, to fulfil that responsibility. In the absence of credible institutional means of addressing disputes and grievances, individuals and groups may resort to violence.

Crises also arise when ethnic or religious communities are excluded from state institutions and mainstream political and social life. Hostilities may be intense because the issues at stake are fundamental: physical security; the protection and advancement of interests and rights; and psychological needs regarding cultural identity. These issues relate as much to perceptions as to material conditions, and are as important to the ruling group as to marginalised communities. Crisis resolution is further inhibited by entrenched cultural stereotypes and deep feelings of animosity, fear, uncertainty and mistrust.

Where diversity is a source of strife, stability might be sought through the physical separation of antagonistic groups. [2] Since this is seldom feasible, the most viable alternative are structural arrangements which accommodate, simultaneously, the aspirations of the majority, the fears of minorities and the basic rights of citizens. In contrast to authoritarian and democratic forms of majoritarianism, structural accommodation incorporates inclusivity and respect for diversity in the constitution, the form of government, the political system and state institutions.

With specific reference to Africa, many of the crises which beset individual countries have common, deep-rooted causes. These include a lack of coincidence between nation and state; resultant ethnic tension and the suppression of minority or majority groups; corrupt and dictatorial regimes; support for these regimes by Northern powers through arms and trade; unstable civil-military relations; chronic underdevelopment and poverty; inequitable economic opportunity and access to resources; and the debt burden and imbalance in trade relations between North and South which exacerbate underdevelopment.

Both within and outside the continent, the attention paid to these formidable problems is largely rhetorical. The substantial resources and energy of the international community are mobilised mainly around the symptoms, especially when these reach the catastrophic proportions of civil war, genocide and mass starvation. This is not to undermine the importance of emergency action, but rather to make the point that the symptoms will persist, and crises will recur, for as long as the underlying causes prevail.

Notwithstanding the common problems outlined above, the origins and dynamics of intra-state conflict in Africa differ markedly from country to country as a result of historical, political, cultural, geographic and other factors. Broad generalisations about a continent characterised by diversity are not helpful in addressing national crises. At the risk of undermining the propositions advanced in this paper, it must also be stressed that different cultures perceive conflict and conflict management differently. [3]

These considerations are not widely appreciated by foreign governments which intervene in African crises. Even where they have good intentions, their interests, ethnocentric world view and preoccupation with quick-fix solutions result in superficial analysis and a profound lack of respect for local actors. They regard Africans as villains or victims, and therefore as the objects rather than the subjects of development and peace initiatives. Not surprisingly, the initiatives are frequently ineffective.

The concept of peace

Just as our understanding of conflict informs the nature of peace endeavours, so too does our concept of peace. For the governments and citizens of stable Western democracies, the concept is unproblematic. Defined as the absence of widespread physical violence, peace is held to be an unqualified good in terms of orderly politics and the sanctity of life. Where large numbers of people are being killed in civil wars, it therefore seems obvious that the paramount goal is to end hostilities.

In the context of such wars, however, this perspective may have little relevance. Oppressed groups may prize freedom and dignity more than peace and may be prepared to provoke and endure a high level of violence to achieve the rights of citizenship. Authoritarian regimes and the foreign powers which sustain them are interested in peace only in so far as popular resistance threatens the status quo. The cessation of hostilities is thus less a goal in its own right than an outcome of the antagonists’ willingness to reach a settlement which addresses the substantive causes of violence.

Put differently, the absence of justice is frequently the principal reason for the absence of peace. Acute injustice typically gives rise to popular struggles which are met by systematic repression; if it has not already led to endemic violence, it invariably has this potential. Foreign powers which support dictators for the sake of `stability’, as in the case of former Zaire, are simply postponing the inevitable conflagration. Moreover, ethnic discrimination, denial of basic rights, extreme economic inequity and other manifestations of injustice are themselves forms of violence, described by Johan Galtung as `structural violence’. [4]

Both ethically and analytically, the primary objective of external and local efforts to prevent and resolve African crises is therefore better formulated as the establishment of peace with justice. [5] This is not meant in a simplistic and romantic sense. Indeed, the formulation helps to explain why the termination of civil wars is so complicated and so difficult for the antagonists.

Even where the disputant parties have a common interest in peace, they will have significantly different perspectives on the constituent elements of justice in a post-settlement dispensation. The differences may derive from cultural norms, historical experience or, in the case of minorities, a need for special protection against discrimination and exclusion. To a greater or lesser extent, depending on the balance of power, the parties may have to compromise their positions in order to accommodate those of their opponents.

Further, during transitions from authoritarian rule to democracy, the imperatives of peace and justice may be in conflict with each other. This tension is acute when groups and leaders responsible for oppression have to accommodated in the new order because of their popular support or capacity to thwart the transition. A related debate concerns the alternatives of prosecution and indemnity in respect of previous violations of human rights. While prosecution would be consistent with justice, the prospect of war trials may heighten the perpetrators’ resistance to a settlement.

International bodies which view justice and human rights in absolute terms tend to enter such debates with a hard-line position. In the complex and tenuous process of forging a democracy, however, the tensions between peace and justice are better understood as dilemmas which have no easy resolution and may entail trade offs. Without detracting from the importance of international human rights standards, what matters greatly is that the settlement is regarded by the disputant parties and their constituencies as sufficiently just.

Strategic framework

The schematic overview presented above has many implications for strategy. Highlighting the distinction between conflict and crisis underlines the importance of managing the former and addressing the causes of the latter. Because conflict is ever-present and the causes of crises are numerous, complex and structural, both processes have to be undertaken in a sustained and systematic manner. In particular, there is no single, simple or short-term approach to resolving crises. Peace operations should therefore be viewed as a component of long-term endeavours rather than as an end in themselves.

Further, preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and post-conflict peacebuilding are not inherently sequential activities, as suggested in An Agenda for Peace; according to Boutros-Ghali, “preventive diplomacy is to avoid a crisis; post-conflict peacebuilding is to prevent a recurrence”. [6] Peacebuilding encompasses entrenching respect for human rights and political pluralism; accommodation of diversity; building the capacity of state institutions; and economic growth and equity. These measures are the most effective means of preventing crises; they are consequently as much pre-crisis as post-crisis priorities. The term `post-conflict peacebuilding’ is itself inapt since peacebuilding has everything to do with the on-going management of social and political conflict through good governance.

The international community should abandon the delusion that it is responsible for resolving crises and managing conflict in African countries. For better or worse, these functions can be performed only by local actors. Peacemaking and peacebuilding are not sustainable unless their form and content are shaped by these actors. Accordingly, the nature of the international community’s contribution should be reoriented from the delivery of products to the facilitation of processes.

In the context of peacemaking, this would entail supporting local negotiations and problem-solving rather than prescribing outcomes based on Western experience. In the case of peacebuilding, efforts should be directed towards strengthening the capacity of government and civil society through the transfer of skills and knowledge. Literally and metaphorically, teaching people to build bridges is more useful than building bridges for them; more useful still if it draws on their expertise and is not reliant on foreign technology; but useless if they want roads and not bridges.

The greatest need for capacity-building is in the area of national and local governance. In the post-crisis reconstruction of states, sectors of the international community are preoccupied with democratic governance, a condition which they believe is met through free and fair elections. Much less emphasis is placed on efficient and effective governance. Yet without viable systems, the principles of democracy cannot be `operationalised’. It is hard to imagine how Laurent Kabila could have held elections within months of taking power in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as expected by the United States, when the country’s administrative and logistical capacity to conduct elections was virtually non-existent.

By way of further illustration, adherence to the rule of law presupposes the existence of a competent and fair judiciary, police service and criminal justice system. The requirement that police personnel respect human rights is unrealistic if they have not been trained in methods other than use of force. Stable civil-military relations depend not only on the values of the armed forces but also on the functional expertise of departments of defence and parliamentary defence committees. In each of these areas, capacity can be built only through long-term programmes. The British military advisory and training teams in Southern Africa are an excellent example of this approach.

By far the most significant contribution of the international community would be to attend to the ways in which foreign powers and institutions deliberately or inadvertently provoke and exacerbate conflict in Africa. The issues here include excessive and injudicious arms sales; political and economic support for authoritarian regimes; the debt crisis and structural adjustment programmes; and international trade relations. With respect to development aid and humanitarian relief, the desire to do good should be secondary to the imperative of not causing harm.

In summary, the efforts of the international community should address the causes of African crises; prioritise long-term capacity-building, especially in the area of governance; be grounded in a sound analysis of national and regional dynamics; be based on real respect for local parties and communities; and seek to support and empower them. Against this background, the sections which follow consider the strategy of mediation, the utility of military operations, and South Africa’s contribution to peacemaking and peacebuilding in Africa.


In the course of an intra-state conflict, the belligerents may come to believe that the cost of perpetuating hostilities is too high and that their interests would be better served through a political settlement. The initiation of negotiations may nevertheless be inhibited by intense animosity and fear of a disadvantageous outcome. In these circumstances, a skilled mediator can help to create a climate of confidence, facilitate talks and guide the parties through setbacks in the negotiating process.

Many mediators make serious mistakes, however. They believe that their authority and mandate derive from their personal stature or the body which appointed them, rather than from the disputant parties. They seek to promote or impose a particular solution rather than assist the parties reach a collectively acceptable settlement. Most seriously, they disregard the cardinal principle that mediators should be non-partisan; if they display an overt bias, they are likely to lose the trust of one or more of the disputants and become a party to the conflict.

This perspective does not negate the necessity for advocacy and enforcement action in certain circumstances. The international community should oppose authoritarian rule and support the cause of oppressed communities. The use or threat of diplomatic and economic sanctions may constitute effective pressure on minority regimes and other hardline groups to engage in negotiations and abide by their undertakings. Advocacy and enforcement may thus complement mediation. The critical point is that they should not be pursued by the mediator. By definition, a mediator is something like an umpire, and certainly not a player.

This principle creates a dilemma for a country like South Africa which is not a major power broker but has the moral stature to make an important contribution to peacemaking and peacebuilding on the continent. It can campaign openly for democracy and respect for human rights, or it can seek to facilitate the resolution of national crises through low-key diplomacy, but it cannot do both simultaneously since the former necessarily compromises the latter. The appropriate course of action has to be determined on a case-by-case basis and obviously depends on whether the disputants are receptive to South Africa (or a South African) performing the role of mediator.

Military intervention

Peacekeeping and peace enforcement

Where intra-state conflict escalates to the point of actual or imminent violence on a large scale, the international community is sometimes (though not always) moved to consider the option of military intervention. The objectives might include containing hostilities, establishing safe havens, protecting refugees and ensuring the delivery of emergency aid. In order to expedite the deployment of a multi-national force at the speed at which crises break, a UN Stand-by Arrangements System (UNSAS) has been established and the US has launched the African Crisis Response Initiative.

The underlying assumption about the utility of military intervention in such situations is surprising given its limited success historically. The lack of success is not surprising though. If the deployment occurs without the consent of the warring factions, it will inevitably be regarded by one or more of them as partisan. It may become a target of attack and embroiled in fighting. At the very time that unity and cohesion are critical, the countries participating in the mission may withdraw their support or get bogged down in disputes over the scope and command of the operation.

These predicaments characterised the UN missions in Bosnia and Somalia. In the postmortems which followed, a number of states and scholars argued that the problem lay in the UN’s failure to adapt to the post-Cold War generation of `grey area’ operations which fall somewhere between pacific peacekeeping and outright warfighting; they sought, in particular, to address the doctrinal confusion relating to use of force. [7] A prominent example of this approach is the British Army’s field manual, Wider Peacekeeping.

These efforts are misplaced because the problem has been diagnosed incorrectly. Doctrinal and operational confusion are inescapable consequences of deployment in a civil war. Internal hostilities typically take the form of irregular warfare which does not lend itself to conventional military containment. Since the distinction between combatants and civilians is blurred, neither the source of attacks nor the target of counter-attacks can be identified clearly. If the belligerents enjoy popular support, entire communities may have to be subdued. The use of maximum force may lead to extensive civilian fatalities and undermine the legitimacy of the UN, while minimum force may be insufficient to fulfil the aim and protect the members of the operation.

Further, military intervention cannot address the causes of intra-state conflict and it cannot substitute for a negotiated settlement between the antagonists. It will not inhibit parties driven to fighting by extreme hatred, fear or the imperatives of survival and justice. When the conflict erupts into civil war, the odds of reversing the momentum in the short-term, whether by military or political action, are small. Peace cannot be imposed on the belligerents, and other objectives are unlikely to be met in the absence of peace.

Pacific peacekeeping has been more successful than quasi-peace enforcement precisely because it takes place with the consent of the disputant parties, subsequent to a cessation of hostilities, and is therefore not reliant on force to fulfil the mission. The presence of impartial multi-national troops and civilians under UN authority serves as a confidence-building measure, providing psychological and physical space for the parties to pursue the process of peacemaking. As in Mozambique and Namibia, the `blue helmets’ can assist in monitoring adherence to a cease-fire, overseeing elections, repatriating refugees and demobilising combatants.

Given both the record of international peace operations and the nature of domestic crises, South Africa should adopt a preference for peacekeeping and a presumption against peace enforcement in its various guises. The essence of this position is summed up in the observations of Sir Brian Urquhart, former UN Under Secretary-General responsible for peacekeeping, reflecting on UN missions in Congo and elsewhere:

Although military commanders often want them, I have always been strongly opposed to UN peacekeeping operations having offensive or heavy weapons. The real strength of a peacekeeping operation lies not in its capacity to use force, but precisely in its not using force and thereby remaining above the conflict and preserving its unique position and prestige. The moment a peacekeeping force starts killing people it becomes a part of the conflict it is supposed to be controlling, and therefore part of the problem… A peacekeeping force can never use unrestricted force, and the moment it gets into a fight, governments and the press will hasten to tie its hands behind its back. [8]

Opposition to military intercession in a civil war may seem heartless, especially where there are no viable alternatives to halting the slaughter. Yet it is futile to undertake a strategy that will not achieve its purpose or might make matters worse. The bottom line is captured in Clausewitz’s assertion that `war is merely the continuation of politics by other means’. Although the maxim is often misinterpreted to suggest that war is no different from the ordinary business of international politics [9], Clausewitz was concerned with the relationship between means and ends and sought to underline the primacy of political objectives when states resort to force: “The political object is the goal, war is the means of reaching it, and means can never be considered in isolation from their purpose”. [10]

This dictum is applicable to international peace operations and should constitute the basis for deciding whether deployment is advisable in a given case. [11] The mission is bound to fail if the political goal is unclear or unattainable; if the deployment is not a realistic strategy towards the achievement of that goal; or if the means are confused with the ends in the sense that military action becomes a substitute for politics.

Violent crises may break quickly but they are years if not decades in the making. This is true, for example, of the Rwanda genocide, the Burundi massacres and the refugee emergency in eastern Zaire. Of the many fallacies in the peace field, proposals on early warning systems win first prize for `The Emperor Without Clothes’. There is ample evidence to suggest that the problem lies in the absence of political will, on the part of African governments and the international community, to heed the early warnings issued by UN agencies, foreign embassies, human rights groups and specialist publications on Africa. [12]

If `early warning’ refers to the first signs of impending catastrophe, then it is probably not early enough. The most compelling early warning indicators are the structural causes of crises, such as authoritarian rule and ethnic exclusion. As argued earlier, the most effective preventive strategies are those described inappropriately as `post-conflict peacebuilding’: socio-economic development and equity; capacity building in the area of governance; respect for human rights and political pluralism; and structural accommodation of cultural diversity.

African Crisis Response Initiative

The African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI) entails a substantial training effort by the United States, Britain and France to build the capacity and inter-operability of African armies for engagement in peace support operations. This may deepen and broaden the contribution of African states to multi-national missions within and beyond the continent. Nevertheless, the endeavour has a number of troubling aspects which stem in part from ambiguous concepts and flawed assumptions.

First, US officials have studiously refrained from specifying the scenarios in which intervention is contemplated. Although ACRI policy statements emphasise preparation for peacekeeping with the consent of the disputant parties, they motivate the initiative with reference to the crises of Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi, and clearly anticipate operations where there is no peace to be kept. [13] The training curricula designed by US special forces cover both peacekeeping techniques and a range of battle drills, including ambushes, attacks and other infantry tactics. [14]

US officials suggest that the nature of deployments will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Yet training is already underway, and the OAU and African governments are expected to make policy decisions on the ACRI, in the absence of clarity on this issue and the related questions of doctrine and rules of engagement. This can only heighten the operational confusion and hazards described above. Dan Smith’s critique of calls for military intervention in former Yugoslavia is apposite here:

When it is not pure peacekeeping, military intervention is an act of force. People will be killed. Risks must be taken. Some things will go wrong. This truth must be faced head on and absorbed within the case for intervention, or the argument will be only tenuously connected to reality and a disaster may ensue. The advocates of intervention have not confronted the reality of what they advocate [and] have been knowingly vague about objectives… . [15]

Second, the main hypothesis of the ACRI is questionable. African and non-African states are generally unwilling to participate in rapid reaction deployments into high-intensity conflict zones. [16] Their reticence is not founded chiefly on a lack of African capacity for peacekeeping, the problem which the ACRI aims to address. Instead, their concerns are exactly those raised earlier about the limitations and dangers of `grey area’ operations, problems on which the ACRI is silent. Ironically, it is the US that has raised these concerns most strongly in the context of actual crises. [17]

Third, in the light of the post-Somalia caution on the part of countries in the North, the ACRI appears to be driven by a desire to `let Africa sort out its own problems’. [18] If this is the motivation, it is insulting to Africans. It ignores the extent to which foreign powers have been, and in certain respects remain, a cause of crises on the continent. It may also lead to the `ghettoising’ of peace operations and undermine the founding premise of the UN, namely that the maintenance of international peace and security is the responsibility of the international community.

Fourth, in building African capacity to attend to the symptoms of crises, the ACRI might end up exacerbating the causes. Given the prevalence of coups on the continent, armed forces themselves present a major threat to democracy and stability. As Mark Malan has noted, training conducted by US special forces, renowned for their `gung-ho’ attitude, is unlikely to promote respect for human rights and civil authority; indeed, African soldiers have used their US military training to fight elected governments at home. [19] Military education and training programmes might have greater coherence and benefit if they focussed on democratic civil-military relations, international humanitarian law and the techniques of pacific peacekeeping.

South Africa’s contribution to peace in Africa

It was argued above that military operations have limited utility in preventing and resolving national crises, and that the efforts of external actors should be directed towards addressing the underlying causes of conflict, promoting and facilitating dialogue between disputant parties, and helping to build capacity in the area of governance. While not abstaining from involvement in peacekeeping, South Africa should not devote substantial resources to this activity. It should concentrate rather on the non-military dimensions of peacemaking and peacebuilding in Africa.

As it happens, an evaluation of South Africa’s comparative advantages leads to the same conclusion. For several reasons these do not lie in the military realm. The SANDF may be a large force by African standards but, assessed objectively, its capacity is modest. For the foreseeable future its priorities will lie in the areas of support to the police, border protection and regional defence co-operation; these priorities already stretch the limits of a declining defence budget.

Moreover, South Africa would be ill-advised to mount a major external military operation until the processes of integration, rationalisation and transformation in the Defence Force are complete. As demonstrated by the premature deployment of the National Peacekeeping Force in 1994, there are great dangers in sending soldiers into conflict zones before sufficient control, cohesion and discipline are achieved.

South Africa’s comparative advantage lies in the process and outcome of its negotiated transition to democracy. Unlike the foreign states concerned about the continent, South Africa is an African democracy; and in contrast to many other African countries, it has found a formula for managing, and in some respects transcending, racial and ethnic divisions. As a result, it enjoys a kind of moral authority which far exceeds the limited power derived from its economic and military capacity.

On the basis of this experience and status, South Africa could campaign against authoritarian rule and abuse of human rights; share the political and technical lessons of its transition with other countries through exchange programmes; facilitate the resolution of national crises through diplomacy and mediation; and lobby on behalf of the continent around the many inequalities in North-South relations.

In respect of all these roles, there is the danger that South Africa may be perceived by other African countries as arrogant. It is thus critical that the roles are played with sensitivity and in partnership with other states. In particular, there should be no assumption that the details of the South African model are applicable elsewhere. The greatest lesson from its transition lies precisely in the fact that the settlement was forged by local actors and not imposed on them by external bodies. This lesson could usefully be shared with foreign powers by way of caution, and with African countries by way of inspiration.

Given the number and complexity of actual and potential crises in Africa, South Africa will have to utilise its limited resources selectively. In terms of its national interests, the priorities lie in this order: meeting the socio-economic needs and enhancing the security of its own citizens; contributing to development and stability in Southern Africa; and engaging in peace initiatives elsewhere on the continent. The benefits which accrue from such initiatives may not be immediate and direct, but they will nevertheless be significant in the long-run. One of the advantages of favouring political efforts over military operations in this regard is that the former are considerably less expensive than the latter and would therefore not detract from domestic imperatives.


1. Draft Policy Paper on Peace Support Operations (Fifth Draft), Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Defence, Republic of South Africa, 29 January 1997.

2. Examples here include the break up of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, and the creation of Eritrea and Pakistan. In some instances this option transfers intra-state conflict to the inter-state level.

3. For a fascinating discussion on the assumptions of the Western approach to conflict resolution, see Paul Salem, “A Critique of Western Conflict Resolution from a Non-Western Perspective”, Negotiation Journal, October 1993, pp. 361-369.

4. Johan Galtung, “Violence, Peace, and Peace Research”, Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 6, 1969, pp. 167-191.

5. This formulation corresponds with Galtung’s (1969) distinction between `negative peace’, defined as the absence of direct, physical violence, and `positive peace’, defined as the presence of social justice.

6. An Agenda for Peace, 1992. New York: United Nations.

7. See John Ruggie, “The UN and the Collective Use of Force: Whither or Whether?”, International Peacekeeping, Vol. 3, No. 4, Winter 1996, pp. 1-20. See further the other articles in this edition of International Peacekeeping.

8. Quoted in Jerzy Ciechanski, “Enforcement Measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter: UN Practice after the Cold War”, International Peacekeeping, Vol. 3, No. 4, Winter 1996, pp. 82-104, at pg. 90. See also the critique of the ECOMOG mission in Liberia by Lt Gen Erskine, “African Military and Peacekeeping Operations”, presented at the Seminar on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures, UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, Windhoek, 24-26 February 1993.

9. See, for example, John Garnett, Contemporary Strategy, 1975. London: Croom Helm. In: Michael Smith, Richard Little and Michael Shackleton (eds), Perspectives on World Politics, 1981. London: Croom Helm, pp. 63-75.

10. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, ed. and trans. by Michael Howard and Peter Paret, 1976. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. In: Laurance Freedman (ed.), War, 1994. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 206-212.

11. This argument is informed by Dan Smith’s synthesis of Clausewitz and the Just War tradition in considering the case for military intervention in former Yugoslavia. See Dan Smith, “Just War, Clausewitz and Sarajevo”, Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 31, No. 2, 1994, pp. 136-142.

12. On early warnings and missed opportunities in respect of Rwanda, see Linda Malvern, “Genocide behind the Thin Blue Line”, Security Dialogue, Vol. 28, No. 3, September 1997, pp. 333-346; and in respect of the refugee emergency in eastern Zaire, see James Appathurai and Ralph Lysyshyn, “Lessons Learned from the Zaire Mission”, June 1997.

13. For the official US position on the ACRI, this section draws on Ambassador Marshall McCallie and Colonel David McCracken, On-the-Record Briefing, Washington DC, 28 July 1997,; and Ambassador McCallie, “Building an `African’ or an `African-International Crisis Response Force’?”. In: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Improving African and International Capabilities for Preventing and Resolving Violent Conflict: The Great Lakes Region Crisis, 1997. Report on the Second International Berlin Workshop, 3-5 July 1997, pp. 143-147.

14. Mark Malan, “US Response to African Crises: An Overview and Preliminary Analysis of the ACRI”, Occasional Papers, No. 24, August 1997, Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria.

15. Smith (1994:138).

16. On the poor response of states to proposed UN missions to Congo-Brazzaville, see Lt Gen Manfred Eisele in Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (1997:149); to Burundi, see Eisele (1997:149) and McCallie (1997:144); and to Rwanda, see Malvern (1997).

17. See, for example, Malvern (1997); and International Institute for Strategic Studies, “The Future of UN Peacekeeping, Strategic Comments, Vol. 3, No. 8, October 1997. Following the Somali debacle, President Clinton’s Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 25 provided that the US would not intervene in future crises unless its national interests were clearly at stake.

18. See notes 16 and 17 above.

19. Malan (1997:16-17).

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