United Nations peacekeeping participation and civil-military relations in troop contributing countries
Rawal, Surendra Singh
Sotomayor, Arturo C.
Kapur, S. Paul
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This study focuses on Nepal's historical contribution to United Nations peacekeeping missions and identifies an empirical puzzle: Nepal suffers from unstable civil-military relations (CMR) at home, even as it supports UN peace efforts with large peacekeeping deployments. This finding is counterintuitive because the conventional wisdom on CMR argues that participation in international peacekeeping operations promotes stable CMR by making young soldiers more cosmopolitan, less nationalistic, and more resistant to calls for military "salvation" via coups in times of crisis. This work traces the policy-making process on peacekeeping issues, including the role of the foreign ministry and the military establishment, and analyses the evolution of CMR in Nepal. The study finds that while peacekeeping has provided valuable international experiences to Nepal's armed forces, the benefits of such an engagement are withheld due to its weak political institutional framework and constant political crises. The armed forces' focus is still dominated by the domestic context, while civilians pay little attention to foreign policy and peacekeeping matters. Both trends-a military focus on domestic stability and civilian apathy towards defense and foreign policy--help explain why CMR in Nepal are inherently unstable despite its military involvement in peacekeeping duties abroad.
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