Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional (Jan 2013)

Five generations of peace operations: from the "thin blue line" to "painting a country blue"

  • Kai Michael Kenkel

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 56, no. 1
pp. 122 – 143


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This article combines both international practice and analytical contributions into a systematic and synthetic presentation of the evolution of peace operations from their modern inception in 1948 to the present. It seeks to serve a didactic purpose in proposing a basic structure for Brazilian scholars' burgeoning debate on peace operations and intervention, rather than a definitive characterization of blue helmet practice. Peace operations' progression is traced through five analytical "generations," each adding a crucial factor distinguishing it from its predecessors. Each generation is placed in relation to changes in the nature of conflict and in the interpretation of the foundational principles of peace operations, and links to broader theoretical issues in International Relations are made explicit at each stage.