UN Peacekeeping as Public Diplomacy

Certain countries, China in particular but also potentially Brazil and India, are increasingly leveraging UN peacekeeping as an opportunity to engage local populations to further national interests.  China, for example, has followed through on its word to increase its UN activities to further its image as a responsible power and to create awareness and connections with individuals and countries alike. 

At World Politics Review (subscription required), I have a short article that explores what may be the third transformation of UN peacekeeping.  From its inception as means to keep an agreed upon peace between two warring parties (hence the name), to peacemaking, some countries are using opportunities facilitated by wearing the Blue Helmet to build relations in troubled places that posses valuable resources and, secondarily, markets. 

A subtle evolution of United Nations peacekeeping operations is underway. …

The global movement of people, information, goods, and services creates new opportunities, but also new threats for peacekeepers. With the immediate and persistent availability of information, peacekeepers and their home countries will be increasingly held accountable for their actions, as well as their failure to act — a situation countries were long able to avoid. …

This public diplomacy component of peacekeeping, which connects with the general public and leaders alike, is potentially transformative and empowering for a country’s agenda, as increased contact creates awareness of culture, language, and narratives. This facilitates greater understanding, as well as personal and institutional connections, potentially opening markets and access to resources through the development of formal or informal relationships.

Read the U.N. Peacekeeping as Public Diplomacy in its entirety. A subscription is required, so subscribe or sign up for a trial subscription.

2 Replies to “UN Peacekeeping as Public Diplomacy”

  1. Really nothing new here. As an Army veteran I served as a peacekeeper in Macedonia near the border of Kosovo in the early 90s. The “winning of hearts and minds” was a constant endeavor, as were interactions with the children (shaping the next generation). The commander of the U.S. battalion was quite proud of the atmosphere we established while the countries that were working other sectors struggled a bit more (no difference in culture or language). The key here is that the international community pays for a country to conduct its PD and not the nation.

  2. Hey, KSH I was wondering, since you used to be a peacekeeper,what was it like? Im doing a project on diplomacy from the UN about peacekeeping for history day. Could you help me out?

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