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IR Working Paper 1990/7
Greg Fry, ‘Peacekeeping in the South Pacific: Some Questions for Prior Consideration’, IR Working Paper 1990/7, Canberra: Department of International Relations, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University, September 1990.
The idea of a permanent regional peacekeeping force has never moved beyond the fringes of the debate about security management in the South Pacific, but several recent developments suggest that policymakers may view the formation of an ad hoc regional force as an increasingly attractive option for dealing with a particular political crisis in an island state. Were such an approach to be adopted, it is likely that ‘peacekeeping’ would take a very different form to that traditionally associated with the United Nations. It would not be a neutral force monitoring an arrangement between two warring parties but rather a force in aid of the government of the day dealing with internal security problems such as urban riots or separatist movements.
This therefore involves prior consideration of questions of utmost significance for Australia and for the region – questions concerning the assumptions on which such an approach to security is based. These concern the ethics and legality of such intervention, and also the conceptualisation of the security ‘problem’ that is assumed in such an approach and the appropriateness of employing military force to ‘solve’ the problem.