A Multidisciplinary Analysis
Leuven Global Governance series
Edited by Jan Wouters, Antoon Braekman, Matthias Lievens and Emilie Bécault
Chapter 7: Enforcement in global security governance: navigating Great Power confabulation in the United Nations Security Council
An effective system of global governance depends in no small part on the willingness of its membership to cooperate in the pursuit of common goals. In the case of the United Nations (UN), its primary object is to uphold and maintain global peace, an interest made clear within its preamble and first operative article. Undoubtedly, for this purpose, diplomacy and dispute resolution remain the most important tools in international relations in this endeavour, and rightly should be the first port of call when conflict arises. Yet, many disputes have proven intractable, and compromise impossible; particularly those steeped in a history of ethnic or religious tension, divided along powerful clan or familial lines, and those exacerbated by government authorities. Thus, when pacific means fail and disturbances turn into armed conflicts, the UN system’s ability to protect the peace becomes almost wholly dependent on its capacity for enforcement of its decisions. In worst-case scenarios, such as in the case of Syria’s most recent civil war, this means that it must be able to effectively rally military intervention. Under the Charter of the United Nations (UN Charter), that role is played foremost by the UN Security Council (UNSC). Indeed, the Council is the international community’s primary security body and is consequently responsible for deciding how to manage the increasingly complex diversification of actors, threats, challenges, opportunities and other external pressures that litter the international security environment.
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