The object of this paper is to demonstrate that the Canadian incapability to influence the performance of the UNPROFOR is due to foreign policy approach toward the UNPROFOR in Yugoslavia.
Brian Mulroney abandoned the traditional Canadian approach to peacekeeping and humanitarian missions and further replaced it with a more interventionist one—i.e. Jean Chrétien’s foreign policy, in contrast, comprised cautious and careful maneuvers, cuts in defence and foreign aid funding, as well as a general restriction of Canadian engagements in the international stage, all of which contributed to the decreased Canadian involvement in Yugoslavia.
The Foreign Policy of Brian Mulroney “It may well be said that Brian Mulroney’s foreign policy has been the most radical in history in that it sought, as no other government in Canadian history had, to reshape the contours of international relations.” In mid-1991, the former Yugoslav republics of Slovenia and Croatia sought a greater autonomy from the Yugoslav federation.
This situation led to a military conflict between Serbia on the one hand and the two independence seeking republics on the other. By the end of 1991, the conflict intensified, and Germany insisted on a recognition of Slovenia and Croatia as independent countries which facilitated the admittance of the two Yugoslav republics to the United Nations in May 1992.
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In 1992, Canada, the pioneer and world leader in peacekeeping operations, initiated the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) which operated in the former Yugoslav republics of Bosnia and Croatia.
Since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945, Canada has been one of the staunchest supporters of the organisation, contributing to virtually every mission with both funds and troops.
During the Suez Crisis of 1956, for instance, Canada accomplished its greatest achievement in peacekeeping, when the Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs, Lester B.
The period during which the UNPROFOR was in operation—February 1992-March 1995—coincided with a time of political change for Canada: after two consecutive terms in office, the Conservative Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, was replaced by the Liberal Jean Chrétien.
With regards to the international system, too, the UNPROFOR took place during a turbulent time period: the war in the former Yugoslavia erupted right after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, an event that put an end to the protracted Cold War.