Offering the Carrot and Hiding the Stick? Conceptualizing Credibility in UN Peacekeeping
In this article, Vanessa Newby, assistant professor at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs, discusses credibility in peace operations. This article argues that credibility in peace operations must be built for both deterrence and cooperation purposes.
- Vanessa Newby
- 19 September 2022
- Read the full article here
Credibility has been used to explain theories of deterrence and cooperation in international relations. In the peacekeeping environment, for what purposes should credibility be built and how can it be signaled? Despite being listed by the UN as a success factor in peace operations, our understanding of credibility in peacekeeping remains limited and focused on deterrence. This article argues that credibility in peace operations must be built for both deterrence and cooperation purposes. Drawing on the international relations, civil war, and peacekeeping literatures, it conceptualizes credibility in peacekeeping by identifying the purposes for which credibility must be built and signaled: deterrence and cooperativeness. It contends that while a peace operation’s ability to deter is limited, signaling cooperativeness - credibility in cooperation—enables a force to cultivate cooperation with national and subnational audiences. This helps to create a more predictable security environment by enabling the force to function on a daily basis.