Research Handbook on Mediating International Crises
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Research Handbook on Mediating International Crises

Edited by Jonathan Wilkenfeld, Kyle Beardsley and David Quinn

Current conceptions of mediation can often fail to capture the complexity and intricacy of modern conflicts. This Research Handbook addresses this problem by presenting the leading expert opinions on international mediation, examining how international mediation practices, mechanisms and institutions should adapt to the changing characteristics of contemporary international crises.
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Chapter 13: The United Nations Security Council and conflict prevention in self-determination disputes

Peter B. White, David E. Cunningham and Kyle Beardsley


There is a great deal of scholarship on the UN’s response to violent crises, but less is known about the UN’s ability to prevent violence from erupting in the first place. Does the UN respond to potential intrastate crises to prevent civil war and are these efforts successful? In this chapter, the authors argue that the answer to both of these questions is yes. In addition to outlining the history of and scholarship on UN preventative action, they discuss statistical analyses of self-determination disputes in which they find that the UN does act to prevent potential crises from becoming violent. They find that the UN is motivated to act primarily by a dispute’s history of violence and potential regional contagion. They have found also that these efforts are generally successful in preventing non-violent disputes from becoming violent. In both analyses, diplomatic action, such as mediation, is a central activity.

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