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International Crises, 1945-1975: The UN Dimension Jonathan Wilkenfeld and Michael Brecher.

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Presentation on theme: "International Crises, 1945-1975: The UN Dimension Jonathan Wilkenfeld and Michael Brecher."— Presentation transcript:

1 International Crises, : The UN Dimension Jonathan Wilkenfeld and Michael Brecher

2 The UN involvement in international crises: Two research questions 1) What is the relationship between the attributes of international crises and the extent, substance and effectiveness of UN intervention 2)Under what conditions this intervention is more likely to lead to favorable outcomes Data on 160 crises from the International Crisis Behaviour Project

3 Third party intervention Any action taken by an actor that is not a direct party to the crisis, that is designed to reduce or remove one or more of the problems of the bargaining relationship and to facilitate the termination of the crisis itself. (Young) Istitutional sources of third party intervention: global, regional, security organizations, major powers and lesser actors.

4 Third party intervention can act in two ways 1)Can make direct positive contribution, such as providing an agenda, helping reaching agreements and timing 2)Can work to weaken constraints on the primary parties, by certifying the benefits of an agreement, providing insurance against the risk of agreement failure, etc, Third party intervention occurs at the level of the international crisis as a whole.

5 Research focus and general findings 1) Level of UN involvement in terms of the specific organs which take active role(Security Council, General Assembly, Secretary General) 2) Extent to which resolute action or non- resolute action was undertaken 3) Effectiveness of the UN in abating the crisis, preventing hostilities or contributing to crisis termination

6 UN acted in 59% of 160 crises, was effective in crisis abatement in 18% of the total(one third of the total crises in which acted as a third party) UN intervention was more important during the more critical years so was its effectiveness in abatement of crises : average of 2.78 interventions per year (bipolar period) : average of 4.15 (polycentric period)

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9 Hypothesis on crises attributes and UN intervention Hp 1: The more serious the international crisis the more likely it is the UN intervention Seriousness of crisis: 1)Violent Crisis triggers (violent events that triggered a crisis for the initial crisis actor) 2)Gravity of threat to Values 3)Number of Crisis Actors 4)Extent and severity of violence 5) Superpower involvement

10 The more violent the crisis triggers, the graver the threat to actor values, the larger the number of crisis actors, the more extensive and severe the violence employed, the higher the level of superpower involvement the more likely it is that the UN will become involved.

11 Hypotesis on UN intervention and Crises outcomes Hp 2: The more active the UN is in an international crisis, the more likely it is that outcomes will be favorable to the participants and the international system in general Favorable outcomes: 1) Termination in agreement (achievement of formal or semi-formal agreement) 2) Satisfaction with outcome 3)International Tension(reduction of long-run tensions among the parties)

12 Unintended Consequences The more active the UN is in an international crisis, the more likely it is that outcomes will be indecisive The more active the UN is in an international crisis, the more likely it is that the duration of the crisis will be extended

13 Type of Crisis trigger and UN activity

14 Gravity of threat and UN activity

15 Crisis management technique and UN activity

16 Extent of violence and UN activity

17 Severity of violence and UN activity

18 Number of Crisis Actors and UN activity

19 Extent of superpower involvement and UN activity

20 UN activity and form of crisis outcomes

21 UN activity and form of crisis outcome

22 UN activity and escalation or reduction of tensions

23 UN activity and substance of outcome

24 UN activity and duration of crisis

25 1) Violent triggers: 46% of all crises 2) UN intervened in78% of all crises involving threat to existence 3) Violent CMT in 60% of all crises 4) UN was active in 29 of 32 cases of full-scale war(effective in 13) 5) The larger the number of actors the greater the likelihood of UN intervention 6) The higher the involvement of superpowers the higher the intervention of UN 7) UN was more effective with High-level activity in most serious crises

26 Findings on outcomes 1) The 48% of crises ended in agreement, and were more likely to do so the crises with UN intervention. 2) The 60% of crises showed reduction in tension with no clear relationship with UN intervention 3) High-level UN activity was more likely to lead to compromise. (compromise=23% of crises) 4) The higher the level of UN activity the longer the duration of the crisis

27 While the UN appeared to have generated agreements, it displayed a very mixed record as a crisis manager.


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