Remembering Javier Perez de Cuellar’s ‘Piecemeal’ Approach to U.N. Peacemaking

Remembering Javier Perez de Cuellar’s ‘Piecemeal’ Approach to U.N. Peacemaking
United Nations Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar shakes hands with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at 10 Downing Street, London, July 14, 1982 (Press Association photo via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Guest columnist Richard Gowan is filling in for Candace Rondeaux this week.

When former United Nations Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar turned 100 last month, his current successor, Antonio Guterres, sent a congratulatory message stating that “I have often reflected on your example and experience for inspiration and guidance.” This sounds like a standard diplomatic pleasantry, but there may have been a more to it than that.

As U.N. chief from 1982 to 1991, Perez de Cuellar, a former Peruvian diplomat, was intimately involved in ending Cold War conflicts from Afghanistan to Central America. Guterres, since his appointment in 2017, has warned that the U.S., China and Russia risk starting a “new Cold War” if they do not rein in their current tensions. Senior U.N. officials, who have spent recent decades focusing on ending violence in the developing world, wonder if and how the international organization can work in a new era of great-power competition.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.