UN takes proactive role in world politics after Arab Spring

(Deutsche Welle) After fading from the international limelight when the US unilaterally invaded Iraq in 2003, the UN Security Council has returned to center stage by demonstrating a renewed willingness to use force to protect civilians.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has adopted a more proactive role in international politics in recent months as the world has been rapidly confronted with one crisis after another. In the civil wars in both Libya and Ivory Coast, the UN mandated the use of “all necessary means” to protect civilian life.

This willingness to decisively confront international crises comes after years of a post-Iraq malaise in which the Security Council largely took a back seat as the United States unilaterally pursued its national interests around the world.

But as popular uprisings have rapidly spread from one Arab country to another, the Security Council has become the focal point of international efforts to adopt common positions on crises that impact global stability.

The council has demonstrated itself willing and capable – under the right political circumstances – of using military force and economic sanctions in order to enforce international law and human rights.

“In many ways the [Security] Council has become more active on all those fronts in terms of coercive instruments,” Edward Luck, Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, told Deutsche Welle.

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