Canada and Missions for Peace: Lessons from Nicaragua, Camboida and Somalia
One of the defining features of Canada’s role in the world, both for Canadians and the international community, has been our unflagging support for United Nations peacekeeping. Up until the beginning of this decade, when the number of intrastate conflicts literally exploded, we boasted a perfect record, having participated in all UN-sponsored peacekeeping missions. That was a far simpler world. Actors were clearly identified, the missions were simple, and the rules understood. The reality we faced in the aftermath of the Cold War was radically different. Not only was the United Nations overwhelmed by the demands put on it by the multiplication of conflicts, but it had to face a completely different type of situation — one for which it was ill-equipped. The UN Secretary General’s An Agenda for Peace, its supplement (Boutros-Ghali 1992, 1995), and the Canadian report entitled Towards a Rapid Reaction Capability for the United Nations (GOC 1995b) were among the first attempts to come to grips with a new breed of threat to international security — a threat coming from within states rather than between them. These reports also reflected a growing international preoccupation with human vulnerability and well-being — socalled human security.