The article was first published at Tomsk State University Journal, 2015, 395, 123–131. DOI: 10.17223/15617793/395/20.
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PARTICIPATION OF THE KINGDOM OF THE NETHERLANDS IN UN PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS (1945-1992)
Smolenchuk Olga Yu. Tomsk State University (Tomsk, Russian Federation). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keywords: Netherlands; Dutch foreign policy; peacekeeping operations; peace support operations.
The article examines the peacekeeping activity of the Netherlands in the United Nations from 1945 to 1992. The main features of four periods in the establishment of the Dutch peacekeeping are reviewed, and two independent variables are outlined: 1) the relationships between the government and the parliament of the Netherlands; 2) public opinion on the participation of the Dutch armed forces in peacekeeping. Dutch researchers identify four periods in the Dutch peacekeeping after the Second World War, each of which has its own characteristics. During the first (1945–1958), called “UN member against its will and the Korean War”, the Dutch pursued a reasonable policy to solve questions in the deployment of the Dutch armed forces. The government relied upon the broad support of the Dutch society that overreacted to the military actions, revealing liberal and humanistic features of behavior. Among the main aspects of the 1958–1978 period, outlined in the literature as the “standby position” or “containment position for the UN”, it is necessary to consider the personal preferences of the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Luns and the Atlanticism policy that he conducted. That political behavior was connected with the issue of using the Dutch armed forces in case of the Soviet threat for the UN. The third period (1979–1989), “UNIFIL: downtime and lessons”, is related to the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon and the Netherlands’ consent to participate in it, despite the fact that the mandate of this mission was not clearly defined. One of the main results was that the Dutch government agreed to have compulsory consultations with the parliament before the dispatch of the Dutch armed forces. The second was that soldiers were to give voluntary consent for their participation in peacekeeping. Many changes in the system of international relations took place in the late 1980s that had an impact on the new period of Dutch peacekeeping named “new priorities”. International challenges occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s that produced changes in public opinion; over time, public support of the army had decreased. The researchers suggest that cuts in the Netherlands budget caused a differentiation of the policies of the government and its arrangement of priorities and aims. To sum up, the most important results of consideration of the evolution of the Dutch peacekeeping during the period from 1945 to 1992 for the Netherlands was to maintain its international prestige and influence, and its position as a “strong player” in UN peacekeeping activities. By the late 1980s and early 1990s the “preliminary consultations” rule between the government and parliament in decision-making on the deployment of armed forces in different countries was established. During this time, the transition from the conscription army to the contract one would have provided more flexible mobilization of soldiers’ preparation for peacekeeping missions. But one of the main features of the Dutch peacekeeping was that the Netherlands, based on the foreign policy traditions, always tended to harmonize hostile parties. Throughout all considered periods, the participation of the Netherlands in peace support operations found relevant public support, the main feature of which is the constant search for consensus as a result of mutual actions and negotiations.
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