Effective engagement: the European Union, liberal theory and the Aceh peace process
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Peace has finally come to Aceh. The Indonesian province has suffered for over 30 years through conflict with the Indonesian army. Instrumental in having achieved this peaceful outcome has been the role of the European Union (EU). Its crucial monitoring role and long term commitment had a profound impact on the province, helping to end the hostilities and to rebuild Aceh. The EU-led Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM) is the central feature of this thesis.
Like Aceh, Europe has experienced wars. However, since the beginnings of Western European institution building, peace and cooperation in the region transpired. This phenomenon has spread across the continent. The progressive structure enabled the EU to flourish as a cooperative institution, especially in the aftermath of the Cold War east-west division. This period also gave the EU an opportunity to expand its peaceful legacy by exporting its values abroad. The development of the EU's external capability to deliver such aspirations is a central part of this thesis.
The thesis seeks to draw a connection with the EU's quest to bring peace to Aceh with international relations (IR) theory. As such, it assesses the EU's motives and interests in the Aceh peace process to discover what they were based on.
After assessing both realist and liberalist IR viewpoints, the thesis’ central findings confirm the liberal motives of the EU. The EU has predominantly acted in the interests of Aceh. It helped bring many liberal based values to the province and experienced constructive relations with Indonesia and other powers in the region. Whilst realist orientated EU power motives are outlined, the EU's liberal agenda based on mediation, peace and security, multilateralism, democracy and human rights - as core liberal elements - are more convincing explanations as this thesis argues.