Danish Defence Research Database


Denmark and UN peacekeeping: glorious past, dim future

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Denmark became a staunch supporter of UN peacekeeping during the cold war
because it simultaneously served its interests and values and this winning
combination meant that it relatively quickly became internalized as part of
Denmark’s foreign policy identity. Denmark turned its back on UN
peacekeeping when NATO took over from the UN in Bosnia in 1995. Since
then Denmark has prioritized NATO- and US-led operations. The Danish shift
was driven by the interest in supporting the Western great powers as well as
an altruistic desire to improve United Nations Protection Force’s (UNPROFOR)
dismal humanitarian record in Bosnia. This belief was also generated by the
positive lessons learned from Denmark’s pioneering use of tanks in
UNPROFOR. This tank deployment and subsequent participation in NATO and
US-led missions created a new warrior identity. This identity and the Danish
interest in maintaining a close relationship to NATO’s great powers make a
major Danish return to UN peacekeeping unlikely.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Peacekeeping
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)741-761
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sep 2016


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