The United Nations' reach in peacekeeping is fast outdistancing its grasp. Spread across seventeen countries, the U.N.’s over 80,000 civilian and military personnel monitor cease-fires, protect aid convoys, and separate warring parties. As the U.N. extends its arms, financial resources seem to slip through its fingers like grains of sand. In short, the U.N. lacks the resources to continue increasing its peacekeeping responsibilities.
In An Agenda for Peace (Agenda), Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali proposes that part of the solution to the economic problems of the U.N. lies in reconsidering how regional organizations interact with the U.N., a suggestion which revisits a half century debate between advocates of globalism and advocates of regionalism. This Note examines the globalist/regionalist debate as it affects an area of particular importance in the post-Cold War era: the international community's response to the growing number of civil wars.
In studying this topic, parts I and II will provide brief summaries of the legal issues relating to civil wars in general and to issues raised by the language of the U.N. Charter itself. By means of a case study of the European Community's reaction to the conflict between Croatia and Serbia, part III will act as a counterpoint to the textual summary of the preceding sections. It will illustrate practical considerations in regional organization intervention. Part IV, by reincorporating the textual and historical approaches, will return to the Charter and re-examine its text in light of the Croatian case and other examples. Part V will consider various political and empirical factors that affect the action of regional organizations and will suggest a series of textual and institutional changes that can be made to invigorate cooperation between the U.N. and regional organizations.