International peacekeeping forces have become an important component in world affairs, but their actual effect is much less than that originally envisaged, partly due to direct attacks on them by the combatants. In addition, military efficiency is impaired by: political requirements of representative heterogeneity in composition; inadequate security because of the emphasis on negotiation and a restrictive interpretation of self-defence; dangers of involvement in domestic power struggles when confronted with an authority vacuum in the host country; erratic financing; lack of cooperation from major powers or local belligerents; reluctance on the part of lesser powers to contribute contingents; and erosion of credibility as conflicts appear no nearer to political solution after years of peacekeeping. In practice, it has proved difficult to separate effective peacekeeping from escalating confrontation, intervention in domestic strife and the abdication of peacekeeping responsibilities.
Difficulties are highlighted by the killing of 241 American and 82 French members of the peace-keeping force in Beirut on 23 October 1983.
Attacks are to be expected if the peace-keeping forces lose their impartiality, as is what happened with the UN peace-keeping forces in Lebanon.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
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