Dean Johnstone Analyzes "Managing Consent in Contemporary Peacekeeping Operations"

International Peacekeeping

Consent to UN peacekeeping has faced powerful challenges. Host governments have either called for premature withdrawal of missions or so obstructed operations that fulfilling mandates became almost impossible. This article argues that strategies for managing deteriorating consent can be devised from relational contract theory. That theory envisages peace agreements as embodying a dynamic set of relationships among multiple actors, not only the signatories to the agreement but all stakeholders in a peace process. Original consent to the agreement – and to a peace operation deployed to support its implementation – matters, but the terms of the agreement should be understood as also encompassing the shared expectations that emerge from the ongoing relationship and the normative context in which it is embedded. The effective management of consent must account for that as well as the peacekeeping operation’s own evolving relationship with the relevant actors, both internal and external.