Peacekeeping by the UN and Regional Organizations: Sharing the Burden or Passing the Buck?

  • Yukari IwanamiEmail author
Part of the The Political Economy of the Asia Pacific book series (PEAP)


Since the end of the Cold War, a number of regional arrangements have been established to quell local violence. Some scholars welcome the proliferation of actors dispatching peacekeepers, believing that it will reduce the burden of the United Nations (UN), while others suspect that such cohabitation may result in the UN’s buck-passing, allowing it to circumvent conflicts where no major powers’ interests are at stake. I use a game-theoretic model to address questions of how the availability of an alternative affects the likelihood of UN intervention and how the organization leading an operation alters the extent of personnel contributions of member states. My main findings are threefold. First, the UN may pass the buck if countries in a conflict-affected region have a sufficient capacity to handle the conflict on their own. Second, countries in a region that has set up an institutional mechanism of regional arrangements tend to make larger contributions to a UN-led operation than countries in a region without such an institutional setup. Third, states may dispatch more troops to a UN peacekeeping mission than to a mission of their own, especially when they can deploy only a small number of peacekeeping troops by themselves. The second and third findings suggest that states in a region with a weak framework of conflict management may contribute a significant number of military personnel to a UN-led mission to secure the involvement of the UN by reducing the burden of countries outside the region. I illustrate the logic behind each of these by using conflicts in Asia.


UN peacekeeping Regional organizations Collective action Conflict management Asia 


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of EconomicsOsaka City UniversityOsakaJapan

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