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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides a history of the Security Council from 1945 until today. The authors argue that the common division into a Cold War period, during which the Council was largely paralyzed, and a post-Cold War one, during which it has emerged as a central actor in international conflict management, obscures important changes since the end of the Cold War. Most occur in the twenty-first century and include a resurgence in peacekeeping, a growing thematic agenda, a preoccupation with terrorism and other transnational threats, and increasing attention to civilian protection. The Council has also seen a return of great power tensions, manifest by P-5 differences over Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. However, the biggest division does not run among the P-5 but the ten elected members that struggle to leave a mark in Council decision-making. Reform is essential.

Keywords: Security Council, permanent members (P-5), elected members (E-10), veto, peacekeeping, sanctions, use of force, civil war management, transnational threats, reform

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