The Enduring Impact of United Nations Operations in Somalia

  • Colonel Andrew A. Olson

Since the end of the Cold War, the capacity of states to maintain legitimacy and control their populations has become increasingly important to international stability. In the globally connected world, this situation is increasingly important because failed or fragile states serve as a host for conditions which are favorable to trans-national organized crime, violent extremism, and insurgency, all of which are destabilizing. First experiences are always formative and the United States efforts with the United Nations in Somalia have profoundly shaped the humanitarian and peace operations of the future. When United States Marines hit the beaches of Mogadishu in 1992, it was not to destroy enemy forces ashore, but rather to defeat the effects of famine in the Horn of Africa. The decision to intervene by the United Nations in 1992 was a manifestation of the expanded scope and capacity of multi-lateral efforts to confront threats to international security and well-being.