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Abstract

This project seeks to understand the United States’ significant involvement in UN peacekeeping operations after the Cold War. While current peacekeeping scholarship suggests that UN peacekeeping operations are undertaken because peace is desirable, the US’s substantial financial contributions and the emphasis on neoliberal democracy within the peacekeeping mandates themselves merit exploration. This paper challenges those assumptions using declassified documents from UN peacekeeping operations in Angola (UNAVEM) and Haiti (UNMIH). These cases demonstrate that in fact, UN peacekeeping operations can serve as a tool for the US to advance its interests in target states. In particular, this opportunity exists when the international system is ideologically unipolar and aligned with the ideology of the US, a condition which characterized the international system following the end of the Cold War. Ultimately, UN peacekeeping missions are not as neutral as their reputation suggests and, in fact, are malleable to the interests of intervening ideological hegemons. This new perspective on UN peacekeeping operations is missing in existing studies of peacekeeping and must be accounted for in future scholarship and policy recommendations.

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