Do aspects of current UN peacekeeping operations affect the willingness of that body to authorize new operations? Our theoretical arguments center on the capacity and costs of the organization – specifically the committed resources and risks associated with ongoing operations – with the assumption that greater existing commitments and perceived risks lessen the likelihood that the UN will create new operations. Related to the concern with risk, does successful diplomacy that produces a peace agreement in the conflict at hand lessen expected costs and therefore make authorizing new peacekeeping operations more attractive? To answer these questions, we examine UN peacekeeping authorization decisions over the period 1989-2016. Our results demonstrate that UN decisions to authorize new peacekeeping missions are connected to two forms of conflict management. First, successful attempts at peacemaking (evidence by peace agreements) increased the likelihood that a UN peacekeeping operation would be sent to that conflict in the aftermath of the agreement. We also demonstrate that the number of ongoing UN peacekeeping efforts are a strong negative predictor of whether or not the UN authorizes new missions. Theoretically, the concepts of perceived carrying capacity and risk, derived from other conflict management efforts, provided the explanatory bases for these effects.
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