This chapter explores United Kingdom (UK) engagement with United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations on the African continent since 2010. It takes a chronological approach, and argues that while it is difficult to identify a single overarching policy towards UN operations on the African continent, there are identifiable trends which have influenced how policymakers have treated the topic. First, there are varying degrees of scepticism as to the motivations, politics and practicalities of UN missions. Secondly, the UK’s interactions with Africa-based peacekeeping operations have generally been undertaken on a political level, be it in the chamber of the UN Security Council, through the UN Secretariat or through financial and bilateral contributions. At a time when the UK is re-engaging with UN peacekeeping on the African continent, the chapter reflects on where UK policy has come from and where it may go in the future.
This introductory chapter discusses the theme of this volume, which is about the connection between the United Nations' (UN) evolving approach to intra-state conflicts and the value system of the international community. This study takes issue with the relatively reductionist explanations of what the UN is and how it relates to peace and security. It explores the interest-norm complexes within which the cases in the Congo, Cyprus, Angola, and Cambodia were handled by the UN. This volume shows how relevant actors' normative preferences were resolved in specific peacekeeping environments where the UN was especially active in addressing intra-state conflicts.