1st Edition

Protecting the Global Civilian from Violence UN Discourses and Practices in Fragile States

By Timo Kivimäki Copyright 2021
    258 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    258 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book reveals why the UN is more successful than unilateral great powers in protecting civilians from violence, and focuses on the discourse, development and consequences of UN peacekeeping.

    Analysing statistics of state fragility and fatalities of violence, it reveals that the UN has managed to save tens of thousands of lives with its peacekeeping: a surprising statistic given the media consensus about the UN’s powerlessness and inefficiency. Using computer-assisted discourse analysis of resolutions from the UN Security Council, 1993-2019, the book offers data that describe the character and development of UN approach to the protection of civilians from violence. It then links the data to the statistics of conflict fatalities and state fragility to reveal, by means of qualitative and quantitative analysis, when, where, how and why the UN has been successful at protecting civilians.

    Two reasons for the UN’s success are highlighted in the book as being statistically most significant. First, the organization offers local ownership to peaceful solutions by considering conflicting parties as the primary agents of protection. Second, the UN approach is much less power-oriented than unilateral approaches by the great powers: protection for the UN does not mean deterrence or destruction, but rather, support for local protectors of civilians. However, strong great power influence on such operations tends to weaken UN’s ability to save lives.

    This book will be of much interest to students of humanitarian intervention, peacekeeping, human rights and International Relations in general.

    Chapter 1 Introduction

    Chapter 2 Theories and Concepts

    Chapter 3 Pitfalls of Unilateral Protective Military Operations by Great Powers

    Chapter 4 Measuring Success of UN Military Operations

    Chapter 5: UN Approach and Identity: beyond Unilateralism, Selfishness and Militarism

    Chapter 6 Material Resources and UN Peacekeeping

    Chapter 7 UN and the Other Cosmopolitan Agents

    Chapter 8 Scholarly Discourse and the UN Protection of Global Civilians


    Timo Kivimäki is Professor of International Relations at the University of Bath. In addition to purely academic work he has been a frequent consultant to the Finnish, Danish, Dutch, Russian, Malaysian, Indonesian and Swedish governments and to several UN and EU organizations on conflict.

    'Part of a growing quantitative literature that claims to demonstrate empirically that peacekeeping not only works but delivers impressive return on investment, Kivimaki’s core thesis is that peace operations save lives, especially in comparison with unilateral interventions. This argument makes intuitive sense, since great power interventions – whether Russia’s 2008 incursion in Georgia or the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 – rarely pay more than lip service to PoC principles...Kivimaki’s large-N conclusions –especially set alongside the work of Lisa Hultman and others – do in fact point to a statistically significant relationship between peacekeeper presence and violence reduction.'--Timothy Donais, International Peacekeeping November 2021