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The United Nations and the Nordic Four: Cautious Sceptics, Committed Believers, Cost-benefit Calculators

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This analysis explains the evolution of the Nordic-UN relationship as the result of continuous interaction between international and national factors and argues that the level and nature of Nordic UN support has ebbed and flowed depending on how their interests, ideals and national identities interacted. Nordic support for the UN was low in the early years because the UN was viewed with scepticism and seen as a potential source of entrapment in the Cold War. Peacekeeping contributions were made with reluctance and the Nordic aid contributions were ranked at the bottom in the annual statistics published by DAC. This changed in the second part of the 1960s as Nordic decision-makers realized that they by cooperating with each other and by supporting the UN could enhance their own security, promote their values, generate pride at home and enhance their international prestige and influence abroad. The Nordics became UN believers playing leading roles within the fields of development assistance and peacekeeping, and maintaining this position became a foreign policy objective in its own right, which was internalized as part of their national and Nordic identities. Being Nordic meant making greater contributions (in relative terms) to UN development aid and peacekeeping than most other nations.
This changed with the end of the Cold War when the UN’s position as the world’s sole development donor and peacekeeper was challenged by a series of failures and the rise of new actors eager to take over. The Nordics increased their aid and troop contributions to the EU and NATO for a combination of interest-based and altruistic reasons and this gradually gave the UN a less prominent position in their foreign policy identities. The Nordics has not abandoned the UN, however. While the troops contributions to UN peace operations have been reduced to a minimum, the Nordics continue to provide considerable support for UN development organisations and programmes, and they also continue to support UN peace operations in other ways. But the Nordic-UN relationship has become more instrumental. Support for the UN is no longer automatic and a question of identity. The UN has become one instrument among others that the Nordics use to pursue their interests and altruistic objectives, and the UN is only chosen when it is perceived as the best avenue for doing so.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TitelThe Routledge Handbook of Scandinavian Politics
RedaktørerPeter Nedergaard, Anders Wivel
Udgivelses stedLondon
UdgiverRoutledge
Publikationsdato27 jun. 2017
Kapitel22
ISBN (trykt)9781138905856
StatusUdgivet - 27 jun. 2017
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