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Inside and Out: Peacekeeping and the Duration of Peace after Civil and Interstate Wars

Virginia Page Fortna
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1079-1760.2003.00504010.x 97-114 First published online: 1 December 2003

Arguably the most important innovation in conflict management in the last fifty years is the practice of peacekeeping: the concept of sending personnel from the international community to help keep peace in the aftermath of war.1 What is now referred to as “traditional peacekeeping” developed during the Cold War and generally involved international personnel monitoring a cease-fire, or placing themselves between belligerent armies. Most peacekeeping operations during the Cold War involved wars between sovereign states (exceptions include United Nations [UN] missions in the Congo, Lebanon, and Cyprus, and the Organization of African Unity's mission in Chad). Since the end of the Cold War, the international community and the UN have moved beyond traditional peacekeeping, becoming much more involved in civil conflicts. Doing so has meant adding a new set of functions—election monitoring, police training, sometimes even administering the state—to facilitate the transition from war to peace.

Scholars and practitioners of peacekeeping have debated the merits of the new wave of more “robust” and complex forms of peacekeeping and peace enforcement developed after the Cold War and the effectiveness of more traditional forms of peacekeeping (Tharoor 1995/96; Luttwak 1999). The conventional wisdom in this debate is that the international community has been better at peacekeeping between states than within them. But no one has tested this assumption. There is a dearth of rigorous empirical studies of the effects of peacekeeping in either setting, let alone a comparison of the two. Does peace last longer when peacekeepers are deployed than when belligerents are left to their own devices? And are the effects of peacekeeping different after internal and interstate conflicts? This article presents some preliminary analysis of the effects of peacekeeping on the duration of peace in both interstate and civil conflicts to begin to answer these questions.

The assumption …

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