Surveying the succession of proposals for making standing forces permanently available to the UN Security Council, this chapter illustrates how these proposals have always run into the same obstacles.

Since the formation of the United Nations, the creation of a standing UN military force has repeatedly been proposed. Such a force has been seen as a means of improving the organisation’s response to urgent problems of international war, civil war and mass killings; as a way of expediting the provision of peacekeeping forces to back up ceasefire and peace agreements; and as a basis for preventive deployments to ward off imminent dangers. The Security Council has generally been envisaged as having a key role in the creation and direction of such a force.

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Adam Roberts is a senior research fellow in the Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford University and Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. He was Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at Oxford University from 1986 to 2007. His books include United Nations, Divided World: The UN’s Roles in International Relations, 2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, 1993, editor with Benedict Kingsbury) and Documents on the Laws of War, 3rd ed. (Oxford University Press, 2000, editor with Richard Guelff).

Dominik Zaum is a lecturer in international relations at the University of Reading. He was previously a research fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Author of The Sovereignty Paradox: The Norms and Politics of International Statebuilding (Oxford University Press, 2007), he has published articles in Review of International Studies, International Peacekeeping and other journals.

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