Introduction: New Wars and the Bumpy Ride to Peace Building

  • Herbert Wulf


The internationalization and privatization of war and peace efforts are already realities in today’s world. Privatizing violence and international peace support missions are part of, and a reaction to, what have become known as the ‘new wars’. Today, not only the United Nations but also ‘coalitions of the willing’ have decided to intervene with military means more quickly and more often than in the past. While Blue Helmet operations or peace enforcement missions were exceptions until the end of the Cold War, they are now squarely on the international agenda, although both disagreements or blockades in the UN Security Council and the lack of resources of the UN has equally prevented them in recent times. In a few cases, such as in 1999 in Kosovo, a number of Western governments felt the responsibility to respond militarily when the Security Council failed to mandate a UN operation. Such interventions, it was argued by its proponents, were needed because of humanitarian concerns, for example the prevention of genocide, ethnic cleansing or other gross human rights violations, the promotion of democracy or a change of regime, and the need for nation-building. In these cases the military is supposed to act as a stabilizing factor. The ‘responsibility to protect’, as it is termed by a commission reporting to the UN (International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty 2001), quickly turned into an attitude that Bary Buzan (2002) aptly described with the question of ‘who may we bomb’?


Europe Defend Malone Sudan Iraq 


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© Herbert Wulf 2005

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  • Herbert Wulf

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