Should regional actors play a greater role in international peace operations

As Hettne and Soderbaum argue, the UN is built on a Westphalian nation-state model in which the UN sits at the top with regional actors participating with the authority and support of the UN. At the same time however, regional organizations such as the EU, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have become legitimate institutions quite capable of managing conflicts on their own.3
The UNSC has at times appointed regional peace keeping operations that were either under-resourced or ineffective or simply chose not to intervene.4 While Coleman’s global legitimacy pyramid suggests that regional actors require UNSC mandates in order to achieve legitimacy and therefore to be effective,5 the rise of regional organizations suggest that a post-Westphalian reality exists and the UNSC may need regional actors in order to achieve greater legitimacy. Moreover, Article 52 of the UN Charter calls for regional initiatives in peace keeping.6 The UNSC however, has failed to forge comprehensive relationships with regional organizations despite regional actors’ significant role in managing conflicts.7
Given the rise of regional powers8 and the soft power associated with the UNSC’s peace keeping practices9, this paper uses the theory of neoliberal institutionalism and social constructivism to consider whether or not regional actors should play a greater role in international peace operations. Traditional theories of international relations focuses too narrowly on materialism and state actors whereas neoliberalism looks more narrowly at how politics at the international level is institutionalized at either formal or informal levels.10 Social constructivism provides a theoretical framework which explains international relations in terms of security as a collective endeavor rather than self-help ambitions and thus allows a more