AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND AND REGIONAL SECURITY IN THE PACIFIC: REFLECTIONS ON PEACEKEEPING IN THE SOLOMON ISLANDS AND PAPUA NEW GUINEA (BOUGAINVILLE)
Keywords:Regional Security, Peacekeeping, The Pacific, The Pacific Islands Forum, The Solomon Islands, RAMSI, Papua New Guinea, Bougainville, Australia, New Zealand.
This paper examined conflicts and regional security in the Pacific. The paper has as its focus the roles of Australia and New Zealand (and the Pacific Islands Forum) in managing security in the Pacific using Papua New Guinea (Bougainville) and the Solomon Islands as case studies. It documented their peacekeeping experiences, and interrogated whether these operations were successes or not and why. Furthermore, the author explored whether the peacekeeping experiences in the Pacific and lessons learnt from these operations might be applicable to, and/or be helpful in developing a useful peacekeeping model for other regions. The argument of this paper is that, although Australia and New Zealand regional security management role is based on security concerns of the region but the national interests of these dominant states are also at play and a key factor that shape the nature and direction of interventions. As well, the dynamics of these operations have revolved around interaction between and among local, regional and global political factors. The author argued that peacekeeping in the Pacific (especially in Bougainville and the Solomon Islands) may not offer an appropriate peacekeeping model in such-conflict ridden settings as Africa where armed violence are more complex, protracted and involve full-scale military actions as opposed to low-intensity and localised conflicts in the Pacific, but some of the peacekeeping lessons from the region may be helpful to other peace operations, especially Peacekeeping the 'Pacific Way'.