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When thinking about peacekeeping, various concepts may come to mind, such as the blue helmets of the United Nations (UN), humanitarian and developmental aid, or media reports detailing the human rights abuses that occur even with the presence of peacekeepers. Although one standard definition does not exist, scholars have developed a common understanding of what peacekeeping entails and define it as the deployment of international personnel to help maintain peace and security after a conflict (Fortna & Howard, 2008; Doyle & Sambanis, 2007). Due to media reports that focus on the failures of peacekeeping, it is difficult to know whether peacekeeping succeeds or what actually constitutes success. Not only should peacekeeping improve international security by intervening as a neutral third party to solve disputes, but it should also protect civilians from grave war abuses. Due to the involvement of many international actors, the costs of peacekeeping missions, and the importance of the moral values such as human rights and economic and social justice, how to define and evaluate the success of peacekeeping missions is of utmost importance for the functioning of international institutions conducting peacekeeping and the impacts of those who have a direct impact on their lives from peacekeeping.

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Instead of only focusing on reestablishing peace, the concept of peacekeeping now combines a warlike enforcement with a peacelike negotiation and after the Cold War, third party intervention in conflict has expanded immensely (Doyle & Sambanis, 2007). Because every post-conflict situation has different needs, there are different kinds of peacekeeping missions. While some missions focus on observing ceasefires, other missions, such as enforcement missions, operate under expanded mandates which gives peacekeepers the power to use force in order to protect civilians. Although the majority of peacekeeping missions are operated by the UN, other organizations, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), also implement missions. These organizations rely on member states to donate peacekeepers who then follow the mandate developed by the proper bureaucracy of the organization in charge. Because peacekeeping is so complex and involves so many actors, it is important to know how to recognize success or failure in order to improve the implementation of missions. Furthermore, this topic is important because the media often focuses on the failures of peacekeeping rather than the successes. If empirical research indicates that peacekeeping does successfully reduce violence and properly addresses social justice aspects, then the pessimism often surrounding peacekeeping can be alleviated.

%organization of lit review:
This literature review is organized as follows. First, I will discuss the different arguments for defining peacekeeping success. There are two camps of scholars. One camp favors a narrow definition which emphasizes a reduction in violence and the containment of a conflict. The other camp favors more qualitative criteria and considers how peacekeeping contributes to larger values such as world peace, justice, and reducing human suffering (Druckman et al., 1997). Second, I will discuss the relationship between the definition of success and the empirical research findings. So far, most studies find that peacekeeping successfully reduces violence but when analyzing qualitative criteria, such as social justice factors, the results are less conclusive. Lastly, I will include some concluding remarks and make suggestions for future research.

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