Peace enforcement is a practice of ensuring peace in an area or region. Part of a three-part scale between peacekeeping and peacemaking, it is sometimes considered to be the midpoint. Peace enforcement is different from peacemaking where options, possibly including force, are used to bring conflicting parties to negotiations. While it is an approach to maintaining an existing peace, and can thus only be done by an outside party which is recognized as neutral, this is differentiated from peacekeeping largely in the level of force the outside group is willing to use in response to violations of the established peace.
The difference between peace enforcement and peacekeeping:
Peacekeeping, a role the U.N. has played over the years, is relatively straightforward and, despite its difficulties, comparatively easy. Peacekeeping involves monitoring and enforcing a cease-fire agreed to by two or more former combatants. It proceeds in an atmosphere where peace exists and where the former combatants minimally prefer peace to continued war. Peace-enforcement, as it is used by the Joint Staff, entails the physical interposition of armed forces to separate ongoing combatants to create a cease-fire that does not exist. Boutros-Ghali, on the other hand, uses the term to refer to actions to keep a cease-fire from being violated or to reinstate a failed cease-fire. It is a subtle difference, but it does imply the existence of some will for peace. The American version more realistically portrays another, far more difficult matter. By definition, in a situation for which peace-enforcement is a potentially appropriate response, war and not peace describes the situation, and one or more of the combatants prefer it that way. This means that, unlike peacekeepers, peace enforcers are often not welcomed by one or either side(s). Rather, they are active fighters who must impose a cease-fire that is opposed by one or both combatants; in the process, the neutrality that distinguishes peacekeepers will most likely be lost.
Peace enforcement has largely been avoided in the past. The level of violence encountered by peacekeeping operations in some areas (such as the 1994 events in Rwanda, where several Belgian soldiers were forced to watch the ongoing massacres and were ultimately killed themselves without being allowed to engage) has shocked the international community and led to unwillingness on the part of nations not otherwise involved to enter peacekeeping operations in potentially "hot" conflicts unless they have the ability to use force if necessary.
- "Peacekeeping, Peacemaking and Peace-Enforcement: The U.S. Role in the New International Order" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-07-03.
- The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/m/melvern-betrayed.html
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