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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War 1 Conflict Resolution in a Changing World Committee on International Conflict Resolution The world has transformed rapidly in the decade since the end of the Cold War. An old system is gone and, although it is easy to identify what has changed, it is not yet clear that a new system has taken its place. Old patterns have come unstuck, and if new patterns are emerging, it is still too soon to define them clearly. The list of potentially epoch-making changes is familiar by now: the end of an era of bipolarity, a new wave of democratization, increasing globalization of information and economic power, more frequent efforts at international coordination of security policy, a rash of sometimes-violent expressions of claims to rights based on cultural identity, and a redefinition of sovereignty that imposes on states new responsibilities to their citizens and the world community.1 These transformations are changing much in the world, including, it seems, the shape of organized violence and the ways in which governments and others try to set its limits. One indication of change is the noteworthy decrease in the frequency and death toll of international wars in the 1990s. Subnational ethnic and religious conflicts, however, have been so intense that the first post-Cold War decade was marked by enough deadly lower-intensity conflicts to make it the bloodiest since the advent of nuclear weapons (Wallensteen and Sollenberg, 1996). It is still too soon to tell whether this shift in the most lethal type of warfare is a lasting change: the continued presence of contested borders between militarily potent states—in Korea, Kashmir, Taiwan, and the Middle East—gives reason to postpone judgment. It seems likely, though, that efforts to pre-
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War vent outbreaks in such hot spots will take different forms in the changed international situation. A potentially revolutionary change in world politics has been a de facto redefinition of “international conflict.” International conflict still includes the old-fashioned war, a violent confrontation between nation states acting through their own armed forces or proxies with at least one state fighting outside its borders. But now some conflicts are treated as threats to international peace and security even if two states are not fighting. Particularly when internal conflicts involve violations of universal norms such as self-determination, human rights, or democratic governance, concerted international actions—including the threat or use of force—are being taken to prevent, conclude, or resolve them just as they sometimes have been for old-fashioned wars. In this sense some conflicts within a country’s borders are being treated as international. There are various prominent recent examples. They include the delayed international military responses to genocide in Rwanda, ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, and repression in East Timor; the unprecedented military response of NATO to repression in Kosovo; the establishment and enforcement of no-fly zones in Iraq; and the use of economic sanctions against South Africa and Yugoslavia. Threatened or enacted coups d’état against democratically established governments have also sometimes been treated as international conflicts, as in Haiti. Similarly, threats of the violent dissolution of states or of their dissolution into violence have triggered international concern, as in Bosnia, Albania, and Somalia. How important are such recent developments? In particular, do they make any important difference in how the actors on the world scene should deal with international conflicts? Do the tools developed for managing international conflicts under the old world system still apply? Are they best applied in new ways or by new entities? Are there new tools that are more appropriate for the new conditions? How do the old and new tools relate to each other? This book is devoted to examining these questions. This chapter begins the examination by identifying the major strategies of conflict resolution, old and new, that are relevant in the emerging world system. We use the term conflict resolution broadly to refer to efforts to prevent or mitigate violence resulting from intergroup or interstate conflict, as well as efforts to reduce the underlying disagreements. We presume that conflict between social groups is an inevitably recurring fact of life and that the goal of conflict resolution is to keep conflicts channeled within a set of agreed norms that foster peaceful discussion of differences, proscribe violence as a means of settling disputes, and establish rules for the limited kinds of violence that are condoned (e.g., as punishment for violations of codes of criminal conduct).
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War The new world conditions are validating some past conflict resolution practices that can now be more precisely defined and conceptualized and are bringing to prominence some techniques that had not been taken very seriously by diplomatic practitioners in the recent past. We consider the implications of these new developments for the practice of conflict resolution. What knowledge base can conflict resolution practitioners rely on in a world in which their accumulated experience may no longer fully apply? What can the careful examination of historical experience and other sources of insight offer them? We identify the ways in which a careful and judicious examination of empirical evidence can be of use to conflict resolution practitioners and the limitations of generalizations from past experience. Finally, we introduce the rest of the book, in which contributors address the above questions in the general case and in the context of a set of conflict resolution techniques that are likely to be important in the coming years. TRADITIONAL AND EMERGING STRATEGIES FOR INTERNATIONAL CONFLICT RESOLUTION The major practices of international conflict management during the Cold War period—the practices of traditional diplomacy—reflected the state system dominant in world politics for centuries. It made sense to treat international conflict as occurring between nation states that acted in a unitary fashion on the basis of stable and discrete national interests rooted in geopolitics, natural resources, and other enduring features of countries. If the behavior of states was dictated by such interests, it followed that conflict between states reflected conflicting interests. Such conflicts were often perceived as zero sum: the more one state gained, the more its adversary lost. In the world of national interests the chief methods of international conflict management were the traditional diplomatic, military, and economic means of influence, up to and including the threat or use of force. These tools of power politics—the same tools that states used to engage in international conflict—were the main ones employed in efforts to address conflict.2 Thus, states or coalitions of states tried to prevent or mitigate violence by using threats of armed force (deterrence, coercive diplomacy, defensive alliances such as NATO); economic sanctions and other tangible nonmilitary threats and punishments, such as the withdrawal of foreign aid; and direct military force to establish demilitarized zones. States were also sensitive to the delicate balance of nuclear power that could be jeopardized by this kind of coercive diplomacy. For this reason, in particular, they sought security regimes (see Jervis, 1983) that provided norms devised to reduce the risks of escalation. The implicit understandings gained through
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War an extended arms control negotiation process served to reduce the chances of superpower military confrontations during this period. Negotiation in the world of national interests meant balancing or trading the competing interests of states against one another or finding common interests that could be the basis for agreement even in the face of other conflicting interests. A search for common interests was characteristic of Cold War-era negotiations aimed at preventing military confrontations between the United States and the Soviet Union. For example, the negotiations to end the Cuban missile crisis and to develop confidence-building measures for avoiding accidental nuclear war were based on the common interest in reducing the risk of confrontations that might escalate to nuclear warfare. Such negotiations could proceed because it was possible to identify shared interests that cut across or partially overrode the conflicting ones.3 The traditional diplomatic strategies of influence were refined and elaborated greatly during the Cold War period. They continue to be relevant in the post-Cold War world, although their application is sometimes a bit different now (see Chapters 3 through 6). In deploying and threatening force to address and possibly resolve conflicts, there has been increased emphasis during the post-Cold War period on multilateral action (e.g., NATO intervention in Kosovo; the alliance that reversed the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait). States have increasingly looked to regional international organizations to advance conflict resolution goals, especially where unilateral state action might create new kinds of conflict and where influential nations within regions see merit in strengthening their regions’ institutions. Thus, for example, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), begun in the 1970s, matured in the 1990s into a formal organization—the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)—that has intervened in various ways in conflicts across a broad region, although not by force (see Chapter 14). Military organizations are now increasingly being used in new ways and for new conflict resolution purposes. Armed force is infrequently used in direct interventions, even in Europe, where regional organizations are particularly strong (exceptions are the NATO air campaign in Bosnia and the Russian interventions in Chechnya and Tajikistan). Peacekeeping missions still sometimes physically separate adversaries to prevent further violence, but they also provide humanitarian relief, resettle refugees, and rebuild infrastructure. Another new development is that states and associations of states are no longer the only actors that can use techniques of influence like those of traditional diplomacy. For example, in the 1980s, even before the end of the Cold War, transnational corporations, pressured by negative publicity about their investments, and even local governments used
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War their economic power to exert pressure against apartheid in South Africa. Small peace-oriented nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) can sometimes threaten states’ interests, for example, by threatening prospects for international assistance with a bad human rights report or deciding to leave a country because humanitarian relief efforts are being thwarted. A striking development since the end of the Cold War has been the emergence from relative obscurity of three previously underutilized strategies for international conflict resolution. These strategies all deviate from the zero-sum logic of international conflict as a confrontation of interests (see Table 1.1). The observation that these strategies are now more widely used is not meant to imply that they are always used effectively. Also, the strategies are often used together, and sometimes the distinctions among them may be blurred. One strategy may be called conflict transformation. This is the effort to reach accommodation between parties in conflict through interactive processes that lead to reconciling tensions, redefining interests, or finding common ground. This strategy departs radically from the logic of enduring national interests by making two related presumptions: that interests and conflicts of interest are to some degree socially constructed and malleable, and that it is possible for groups to redefine their interests to reduce intergroup tension and suspicion and to make peaceful settlements more possible. Certain intergroup conflicts, particularly those associated with the politics of identity, are seen as having significant perceptual and emotional elements that can be transformed by carefully organized intergroup processes so as to allow reconciliation and the recognition of new possibilities for solution. TABLE 1.1 Strategies and Tools for Conflict Resolution Strategy Tools that Feature the Strategy Power politics Threats of force Defensive alliances Economic sanctions Bargaining as a tradeoff of interests Power mediation Conflict transformation Problem-solving workshops Alternative dispute resolution Reconciliation by truth commissions Structural prevention Electoral system design Autonomy Legal guarantees of free speech and association Civilian control of military organizations Normative change OSCE invocation of human rights norms NOTE: These strategies and tools are often used in combination; moreover, the conceptual distinctions among them are sometimes blurred in use.
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War The conflict transformation approach is seen in its purest form in a set of techniques pioneered in the 1960s by academics and NGOs under such names as interactive conflict resolution, citizen diplomacy, and problem-solving workshops (e.g., Fisher, 1997; Saunders, 1999; also see Chapters 7 and 8). This approach features facilitated meetings at which members of groups in conflict seek to understand each other’s positions and world views in order to create an atmosphere more conducive to the peaceful resolution of disputes. The intent is that over the course of the meetings the participants will come to reinterpret the relationship between their groups and the possible futures of that relationship and that this change in the perceptions of a small number of individuals will lead either directly (through concrete peace proposals) or indirectly (e.g., through the rise to power of people who accept new ideas) to a more peaceful future for the groups. In recent years, conflict transformation strategies have also been promoted by NGOs that are spreading ideas such as alternative dispute resolution to emerging democracies in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. The so-called truth commissions in South Africa and some Latin American countries use a strategy of conflict transformation when they work to construct a shared understanding of history that can be a basis for emotional reconciliation, tension reduction, and the creation of a more cooperative political climate (see Chapter 9). A second previously underutilized strategy for conflict resolution is sometimes called structural prevention to distinguish it from “operational prevention,” which involves dealing with immediate crises likely to erupt quickly into deadly violence.4 Structural prevention involves creating organizations or institutionalized systems of laws and rules that establish and strengthen nonviolent channels for adjudicating intergroup disputes, accommodating conflicting interests, and transforming conflicts by finding common ground. Structural prevention typically focuses on the problems of culturally divided states, especially those with weak democratic traditions, deep ethnic divisions, and histories of collective violence perpetrated by one group against another or by past governments against civilian populations. Various tools are available for structural prevention, including institutions for transitional justice, truth telling, and reconciliation (Chapter 9); electoral and constitutional design (see Chapter 11); autonomy arrangements within federal governance structures (Chapter 12); laws and policies to accommodate linguistic and religious differences (Chapter 13); training for law enforcement officials in following the rule of law; institutions assuring civilian control of military organizations; and the development and support of institutions of civil society. Such institutions, including a free and pluralistic press, a set of NGOs dedicated to their members’ common and peaceful purposes, organizations for alternative dispute
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War resolution, and the like, serve in part as arenas for the integrative negotiation of differences. The third strategy is normative change, defined as developing and institutionalizing formal principles and informal expectations that are intended to create a new context for the management of conflict. Norms may also define responsibilities for states to prevent violent conflict. Although norms were established to manage conflict between states during the Cold War, a notable feature of the post-Cold War period is the effort to use international norms to regulate or prevent conflict within states. In previous eras the principle of noninterference in the internal affairs of sovereign states provided that sovereigns had license to control conflicts within their borders, free from outside influence. Although this norm was often breached by great powers acting in their own national interest within their spheres of influence, it was rarely overturned in favor of universal principles that held all states responsible to common standards. This situation began to change in the later decades of the Cold War, when norms such as human rights, democratic control, and the self-determination of peoples were increasingly invoked against states that abused their citizens. In Europe the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 was an historic watershed in this regard, permitting oversight by the 35 signatories of human rights conditions in each of their territories. Efforts like those of the Helsinki Watch groups in the former Soviet bloc, the disinvestment movement against apartheid, the democracy movement, and the indigenous peoples’ movements in the Americas showed the potential of universal norms to galvanize world opinion for conflict resolution. Of course, we are a long way from a world in which what is good for humanity consistently outweighs the prerogatives of states. Nevertheless, there are signs that universal norms, many of which are stated in the United Nations Charter and other international documents, are becoming embodied in transnational institutions that can exert influence on states. For example, human rights norms have, through the operations of the CSCE and OSCE, provided increasing leverage for the international community to curb organized state violence against minority groups. Continuing dialogue about the tension in international law between the norm of noninterference on the one hand and those of human rights and self-determination of peoples on the other may be leading toward a new international consensus on how to provide for the rights of minorities.5 Within the OSCE, for example, norms seem to be emerging that under certain conditions favor working out autonomy arrangements in preference to secession or submergence of minorities within unitary state structures (see Chapter 14). And the growing international acceptance of norms of democratic decision making are making it more legitimate for states, international donors, and NGOs to support struc-
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War tural prevention institutions in fragile states and to act against the perpetrators of coups d’état. It is too soon to be sure that the increased prominence of these new strategies of international conflict resolution is an enduring feature of a new world system. However, it seems likely that many of the forces that have made these strategies more attractive are themselves enduring. If intrastate conflicts continue to pose serious threats to global security, if nonstate interests remain important, and if global integration makes foreign policy increasingly difficult to organize exclusively around coherent and unitary notions of national interest, conflict resolution is likely to rely more than in the past on the transnational activities of nonstate actors and on techniques that do not depend on traditional definitions of national interest. Nation states are likely to remain important actors in international relations for some time to come, however, and the possibility of violent interstate conflict remains a serious concern. But recent events presage a more complex multidimensional arena of international conflict in which both state interests and nonstate actors are important parts of the mix. Under such conditions some recent trends are likely to stabilize. For example, NGOs with humanitarian and conflict resolution missions have a good chance to remain prominent players in world politics. Their comparative advantage lies in using conflict resolution tools that do not depend directly on power politics. Although NGOs can facilitate negotiations that trade off interests, states are probably better positioned to do this. NGOs are uniquely able to contribute by deploying the emerging tools of conflict resolution, as they have increasingly done in recent years. They have promoted conflict transformation by sponsoring interactive conflict resolution activities (see Chapters 7 and 8), providing training in informal dispute resolution techniques, and supporting various institutions of civil society that participate in democratic debate. They have contributed to structural prevention by advising on constitutional design and the rule of law, monitoring elections, and delivering information on other countries’ experiences with particular structural prevention techniques (e.g., Chapter 11, written by two staff members of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, summarizes knowledge on some constitutional design issues). The roles for NGOs in structural prevention are sometimes more prominent than the roles for states. And they have contributed to the development and enforcement of new international norms by promoting and monitoring conditions of human rights, treatment of minorities, and democratic governance (e.g., free and fair elections) and by arguing for international organizations to use their resources and influence to hold states to universal norms. The recently increased acceptance of NGOs in international conflict
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War resolution, as evidenced by their increasing use as conduits for international aid, is attributable in considerable part to their increasing political clout within democratic systems as well as to the potential that diplomats see in the emerging techniques of conflict resolution and to the advantages NGOs have in using those techniques. Their continued importance will depend not only on their usefulness to diplomats in the aid-donor states but also on their acceptance by the parties to the conflicts they want to resolve. Thus, to be effective, these NGOs must be accepted by their potential clients as democratic, accountable, and true to the humanistic principles they espouse. They must also find ways to ensure that their activities do not make conflicts worse (see Chapter 10). WHAT WORKS IN A CHANGED WORLD? If the post-Cold War world is qualitatively different from what came before, does it follow that what practitioners know about conflict resolution is no longer reliable? A provisional answer comes from the results of a previous investigation by a National Research Council committee that reviewed the state of knowledge relevant to preventing major international conflict, including nuclear war. Between 1985 and 1987 this group commissioned 14 comprehensive review articles covering major areas of knowledge about international conflict (National Research Council, 1989, 1991, 1993). By the time the reviews were published, the Cold War was over and it seemed timely to reexamine the reviewers’ conclusions on the basis of the very surprising international events of the period around 1989. Stern and Druckman (1995) identified 104 propositions that the authors of the reviews judged to be supported by the evidence available at the time. Each proposition was coded in terms of how well it stood up against a list of five political surprises of the period.6 The Stern-Druckman investigation reached conclusions that may also apply to knowledge about conflict resolution techniques. First, the great majority of the propositions (about 80) were not tested by the surprising events. Thus, these conclusions from historical experience remained as well supported as before. Second, of the propositions that were tested by events, most were supported by the events that occurred. This knowledge was also unchanged by the shift in the world system. Third, however, some of the most critical events of 1989 were not addressed by any of the propositions. Available knowledge about the international system had virtually nothing to say about the conditions under which an international epidemic of democratization would break out, or a great empire would peacefully liquidate itself, or a new historical era would dawn without a great-power war. So, although much of what passed as knowledge before 1989 was still reliable knowledge after that time, much of
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War what in retrospect was important to understand about 1989 had never been seriously analyzed by the community of specialists. The main lessons of the end of the Cold War were not that previous knowledge was wrong but that there was no knowledge about some of the most important phenomena of the new era. The results of that analysis suggest that, although it makes sense to look carefully and critically at what is known about the traditional strategies and tools of conflict resolution that have received considerable attention from scholars and practitioners, it is especially important to examine what is known about less familiar strategies and tools that received limited attention in the past and that may be of major importance under the new conditions. This book does not attempt to comprehensively review knowledge about the effectiveness of the conflict resolution techniques based mainly on the influence of tools of traditional diplomacy. Instead, the contributors were asked to examine only a few of these techniques and only in some areas of their application: threats of force by the United States (Chapter 3), economic sanctions (Chapter 4), methods for controlling “spoilers” in peace processes (Chapter 5), and the issues of timing and ripeness in negotiation and mediation (Chapter 6). Generally, what the contributors find is that the new conditions in the world have not invalidated past knowledge about how and under what conditions these techniques work. However, the new conditions do call for some modification and refinement of past knowledge and suggest that the old tools sometimes need to be thought of and used in new ways. Each of the above chapters includes a summary of the state of knowledge about the conditions favoring effective use of the techniques it examines. Much closer attention is paid to the emerging strategies of conflict resolution and to the techniques that embody them, about which much less has been written. For most of the conflict resolution techniques that involve conflict transformation, structural prevention, and normative change, there is no systematic body of past knowledge from the previous era that is directly relevant to current needs.7 Practitioners’ experience in implementing these techniques has not been seriously applied to post-Cold War conditions, and international relations scholarship did not pay much attention to them in the past. Therefore, careful examination of what is known about the effectiveness of these techniques is particularly needed at this time. Fortunately, these techniques, though underutilized, are not new. Each has a history that may hold lessons for conflict resolution in today’s divided states. For example, one type of structural prevention strategy is to offer autonomy—special status and governance rights—for certain culturally identified subunits in a unitary or federal state. There is a fairly long history of happy and unhappy examples of autonomy that may hold
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War valuable lessons for the current era. But it is only very recently that scholars have looked to cases like Scotland, Puerto Rico, the Soviet republics and autonomous regions, Catalonia, Greenland, the Native American reservations of the United States and Canada, the French overseas territories and departments, and the like to find lessons that might be informative in places like Chechnya, Bosnia, and Hong Kong (see Chapter 12). In the past, when such structural arrangements were the subject of scholarly attention, it usually came from specialists in domestic politics (e.g., comparative researchers on federalism) or international law, not international relations scholars, so the questions have been framed differently and the answers discussed in a community that rarely interacts with specialists in international conflict resolution. The same situation holds for constitutional design. The world is full of constitutions and electoral systems, and their consequences for conflict management in their home countries are available for historical examination. However, until recently, relatively little systematic attention was paid to the question of how electoral system design shapes the course of conflict in a society (see Chapter 11 for a review and analysis of the evidence). This book gives detailed attention to several nontraditional conflict resolution techniques in order to shed light on the potential for using techniques that employ the strategies of conflict transformation, structural prevention, and normative change as part of the toolbox of international conflict resolution. It devotes chapters to evaluating the effects on conflict of interactive conflict resolution workshops (Chapters 7 and 8), truth commissions (Chapter 9), “engineered” electoral systems (Chapter 11), autonomy arrangements (Chapter 12), language policy within states (Chapter 13), and the various conflict resolution activities of the OSCE (Chapter 14) and humanitarian NGOs (Chapter 10). The intent is to draw out lessons—what George (1993) calls generic knowledge—about the conditions under which each type of intervention in fact reduces the likelihood of violent conflict and about the processes that lead to such outcomes. Our primary intent in conducting this exercise is to provide useful input to the decisions of conflict resolution practitioners—decision makers in national governments, international organizations, and NGOs— who must consider a wider-than-ever panoply of policy options, some of which they have not seriously considered before. The contributors to this volume were asked to summarize available knowledge with an eye to informing these decisions. We also hope, of course, to advance knowledge among specialists about the functioning and effectiveness of the various techniques of international conflict resolution. But the rationale for developing this knowledge is more than the curiosity of science. It is also to help in efforts to reduce both organized and nonorganized violence in the world.
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War gies can reduce the scope of diversion but never eliminate the political incentives to tax assistance to fuel conflict. Stein examines three explicit strategies, some of them counterintuitive, which could contribute to the mitigation of violence, and offers three recommendations to NGOs and international organizations. First, she calls on humanitarian NGOs to think politically and coordinate with diplomatic and military institutions. NGOs must acknowledge that their actions in a complex emergency can have profound political consequences. Even as they insist on the imperative of legitimate authorities assuming responsibility, they must explicitly analyze the political consequences of their strategies to mitigate violence—relief delivery, refugee protection, election monitoring, postwar reconstruction, peace building—and plan for these consequences. Stein calls on NGOs to (1) improve their analytical capacity so that they can participate more effectively at global policy tables; (2) improve their capacity to monitor the consequences of their actions so that they can properly assess the consequences of their strategic choices (e.g., by developing diagnostics for early identification of systematic diversion); (3) enhance the knowledge and skills required for effective negotiation with implementing partners, international institutions, and political leaders; and (4) develop a specialized understanding of the political economy of the humanitarian assistance marketplace that will enable them to press for more flexible rules of engagement in complex emergencies. Second, Stein recommends that the UN secretary-general consider providing security from private markets when (and only when) public security for humanitarian operations is unavailable from global or regional institutions. Paid, volunteer, or professionally trained security personnel, employed without regard to national origin and beholden to their employer rather than to any single government, could reduce the likelihood of systematic diversion of humanitarian assets to fuel violence. Third, Stein advocates that NGOs be prepared to consider seriously the option of temporary withdrawal when assistance intended for humanitarian purposes is being diverted into renewed cycles of conflict. Such a strategy requires coordination among the principal NGOs that are providing assistance and a clearly stated set of conditions for return. Structural Prevention Chapters 11 through 13 discuss conflict resolution techniques that rely primarily on the strategy of structural prevention: creating organizations or institutions that are intended to direct social conflict into nonviolent channels. In Chapter 11, Ben Reilly and Andrew Reynolds consider
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War “whether the choice of a legislative electoral system in a culturally plural society can affect the potential for future violent conflict.” They conclude that electoral system design can have a marked influence but that the most helpful electoral system for conflict resolution must be selected to suit the society. The chapter classifies the great variety of electoral systems in use in the modern world and discusses them in the context of four broad strategies of constitutional design for divided societies, each of which features a particular electoral system. It finds that the appropriate electoral system design depends on factors specific to the country, including “the way and degree to which ethnicity is politicized, the degree of conflict, and the demographic and geographic distribution of ethnic groups. In addition, the electoral system that is most appropriate for initially ending internal conflict may not be the best one for long-term conflict management.” The chapter notes that electoral systems are often chosen by historical accident (e.g., adopting the system of a colonizing country) and only rarely designed on the basis of careful diagnosis of a country’s situation. Moreover, not all imaginable options are politically viable. The authors discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each strategy of electoral system design and its appropriateness for particular kinds of countries, thus making it possible to diagnose a country’s situation for the purpose of choosing an electoral system. For example, “centripetal” electoral systems that seek to encourage vote swapping among ethnic groups, usually by establishing multimember districts and an alternative vote electoral system in which voters rank their preferences, seem to work well for conflict management in countries where a small number of ethnic groups are geographically intermixed or a very large number live in segregation—that is, in countries where it is practicable to devise multiethnic electoral districts. As another example, systems that allocate seats by ethnic category tend to ensure ethnic representation but also entrench ethnic divisions; as a result, they seem advisable only in countries where these divisions are already very deep. Reilly and Reynolds note that new and established democracies have different requirements in electoral system design. For instance, the need for inclusiveness may decline, and the need for geographic accountability may increase, as democracy becomes more firmly established. As a result, a system that works well for an initial election or two in a transitional democracy may not seem so good when the democracy becomes established. The fact that each electoral system has strengths and weaknesses implies that electoral design involves tradeoffs. It is necessary for the designers to choose among desiderata for the electoral system. Consequently, for a system to work well over time, the involvement of local actors in making the design decisions is key. Electoral system designers must also choose
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War between achieving a system that seems optimal and staying with electoral features that are familiar to the electorate. The evidence suggests the value of making moderate changes that take advantage of what familiar systems do well and changing only what they do not. In Chapter 12, Yash Ghai considers autonomy as a strategy for conflict management. He defines a variety of autonomy arrangements “that allow ethnic or other groups claiming a distinct identity to exercise direct control over affairs of special concern to them while allowing a larger entity to exercise those powers which cover common interests.” The chapter documents the great variety of possible autonomy arrangements—a fact that creates broad opportunities for negotiation and compromise. The variety, Ghai notes, also creates a danger that negotiation will lead to agreement on arrangements that are too complex to make operational, creating a conflict between immediate and long-term conflict management objectives. Ghai enumerates the various arguments for and against autonomy and the variety of criteria for success. He concludes that “autonomy can play an important, constructive role in mediating relations between communities in multiethnic states…but it is not an easy device to operate,” requiring great political and technical skills. To make autonomy work, it is necessary to recognize both the particular needs of the group granted autonomy and the common needs of the whole. Success does not depend on particular provisions of an autonomy arrangement: similar provisions have “produced quite different results in different countries.” The success of autonomy arrangements can be assessed in terms of the purposes of granting autonomy, such as to acknowledge a group’s identity, to facilitate harmonious relations with other communities and the central government, to end a dispute, and to maintain the integrity of the state. It can also be judged by the extent to which interests are accommodated, by the durability of the arrangements, and by the ways it transforms preexisting relations (e.g., by leading to fair resolution of future disputes, improving ethnic relations, overcoming extreme positions, integrating rebels into society). Different parties have different expectations and apply different criteria of success. Ghai finds that autonomy arrangements are most likely to be made at times of regime change, when the international community is involved, in countries with strong democratic traditions, when the area claiming autonomy is small and relatively unimportant to the central state, when sovereignty is not an issue (i.e., secession is not considered an option), when there are more than two ethnic groups, and when the grounds for autonomy are not explicitly ethnic. He finds that success, in terms of many of the above criteria, is most likely to be achieved under the following conditions: when autonomy is negotiated in a participatory manner,
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War when the arrangement provides for consultation and negotiation, when flexibility is built in, when there are independent dispute settlement mechanisms in the political and judicial arenas, and when several specific issues of institutional design are carefully addressed. Although history provides exceptions to most of the above generalizations, flexibility and independent dispute settlement mechanisms appear to be critical design criteria for lasting autonomy arrangements. The best way to meet the criteria seems to be situation dependent. For instance, what can work in a federation created by aggregation of independent units may not work in a federation created by the breakup of an empire. Also, success is more likely in countries with established traditions of peaceful political bargaining and judicial independence. The evidence implies that international involvement may increase the chances of success in countries lacking these traditions. In terms of the social and political consequences of autonomy arrangements, Ghai finds that such arrangements typically begin as asymmetric, establishing special arrangements with the state for only certain regions or communities. Typically, national governments that grant meaningful autonomy feel pressure to offer similar opportunities to other regions, with the result that successful autonomy arrangements tend toward symmetry. There are exceptions for communities that are clearly and historically distinct, such as Greenland or Corsica, whose autonomy does not have this effect. A major conclusion is that true autonomy prevents secession, mainly by reducing the stridency of minority groups: cases in which autonomy preceded secession overwhelmingly involved refusals of the central government to respect autonomy provisions or the dissolution of the central state for reasons unrelated to autonomy. Serious problems arise with autonomy when the autonomous community wants superior power to other groups or when it wants unique powers not given to other communities in order to mark its special status. Such problems with the theory of autonomy adopted in a country may overshadow the practical problems of managing the arrangements. In Chapter 13, David Laitin considers the roles of language conflict and language policy in intergroup violence in multiethnic countries. The chapter considers two questions: What is the effect of language differences within a country on the potential for violent conflict between language groups there? What are the effects of policies for addressing language differences on the likelihood of such violence? On the first question, Laitin finds that, unlike some other bases of intergroup conflict that are rooted in group identity, language differences do not increase the likelihood of violence; under some conditions, in fact, he concludes that language conflict can help contain violence. Laitin analyzed data from the Minorities at Risk database (Gurr, 1993) on 268 politically
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War active communal groups and found that rebellion of a minority group against the state is most intense when both groups have the same language. Controlling for levels of economic development and democracy in a country, for whether or not a minority group has an established rural base, and for levels of religious grievance, language difference has no overall effect on levels of violence but mitigates violence when religious grievances are strong. Laitin, relying on game theoretical analyses and case studies, explains these findings in terms of the ease of subverting oppressive language laws, the difficulties of organizing rebellion by minority-language entrepreneurs, and the tendency of language conflicts to be “fought out in translation committees, school boards, and bureaucracies.” Religious conflict is much more incendiary for several reasons—among them, that religious groups’ hierarchies can impose discipline and organize resistance and that there is much more social resistance to bireligionism than to bilingualism as a way for a minority to get along in a society. The analysis of language policies, again relying on multicountry statistical comparisons, identifies five classes of language policies and reaches two main conclusions. One is that political bargaining over language grievances reduces the threat of violence regardless of the language policy a state has in effect and even if it is perceived as unfair. It is the refusal to bargain that predisposes to violence. The other conclusion is that there is no clear benefit of one language policy over another for defusing violence. For instance, in countries where several languages are recognized, there is no greater violence by minorities whose languages are not recognized than by those whose languages are. For international actors Laitin suggests that language policies that are unfair do not justify international intervention on the grounds of incipient violent conflict. Normative Change Several studies in this book conclude that the success of international conflict resolution techniques as varied as economic sanctions, truth commissions, and autonomy depends on international support. They suggest that creating international norms that can provide such support may in itself be an important strategy for international conflict resolution. In Chapter 14, P.Terrence Hopmann sheds some light on this hypothesis through his analysis of the efforts of the OSCE to prevent and resolve conflicts. He argues that the OSCE has developed into a security regime for the Eurasian region. It has created many of the conditions necessary for regional cooperation to maintain European security since the end of the Cold War. It has articulated shared values and constructed an institutional framework within which all members may attend to the security needs of one another, exchange information, and facilitate the peaceful
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War resolution of differences. It has also emphasized the development of common political, economic, and social principles based on the ideas of liberal democracy and market economies in an effort to create a “zone of peace.” Finally, the OSCE has created a set of structures intended to prevent conflicts, to mediate cease-fires in times of violent conflicts, to manage and resolve the underlying issues that have produced violence, and to assist states and regions that have experienced violence to rebuild their security. Thus, Hopmann’s analysis shows that the OSCE has used the strategies of structural prevention and normative change. The chapter assesses the contribution of the OSCE to limiting the escalation of conflict and to promoting the abatement and resolution of conflict in the aftermath of violence. It pays particular attention to (1) monitoring, early warning, and conflict prevention to head off incipient violence; (2) negotiating cease-fires in ongoing conflicts; and (3) preventing the reignition of violence and assisting the resolution of underlying issues in conflict situations. With respect to conflict prevention, Hopmann concludes that the OSCE experienced considerable success in Crimea. By intervening rapidly the OSCE mission was able to strengthen moderate forces on both sides and helped avert violence. With respect to negotiating cease-fires, the OSCE mission in Chechnya can be viewed as having played a positive role in bringing an end to the intense fighting between Russian and Chechen forces in the mid-1990s, but it fell short of its goal of restoring a secure environment within which Chechens could reestablish anything approximating a normal livelihood. With respect to prevention of the renewal of violence and conflict resolution, Hopmann concludes that it is necessary to establish an identity formula that guarantees the protection of the identity of the vulnerable group. In Transdniestria the OSCE was unable to achieve a long-term resolution of the conflict even though it did help prevent an escalation to violence. Hopmann concludes that a real strength of the OSCE is its broad approach to security, linking the “human dimension” to virtually all of its efforts to prevent escalation and to facilitate the abatement and resolution of conflict. He finds that the OSCE has contributed significantly to strengthening democratic processes and institutions in countries undergoing transformation. The OSCE has also proven to be remarkably flexible in reacting to potential crises, which has enabled it to react rapidly. SOME RECURRING THEMES Although the studies in this volume cover widely diverse topics in international conflict resolution, a few themes arise repeatedly. It is worth noting
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War these recurring themes because the fact that they have emerged independently in these studies may reveal important features of international conflict and conflict resolution in the post-Cold War period. The themes may suggest important issues for practitioners to consider when they apply conflict resolution techniques, even those not reviewed in this book; they may also suggest promising hypotheses for researchers to explore. Perhaps the most frequently recurring theme is the need for international coordination and support for conflict resolution processes. This theme appears in studies focused on traditional techniques of diplomacy (see Chapters 4 and 5 on economic sanctions and response to spoilers), conflict transformation (see Chapters 9 and 10 on truth commissions and humanitarian relief activities), structural prevention (Chapter 12 on autonomy arrangements), and normative change (Chapter 14 on the OSCE). Studies in this volume repeatedly and independently find that, across a broad range of conflict techniques, success is more likely if international support can be organized behind the efforts. The pervasiveness of this theme may reflect a general truth about the end of global bipolarity: coordination is difficult when there are no opposing alliances to facilitate it. The studies suggest that states and other actors in the international system that want to promote conflict resolution need to do more work to build the bases for international coordination in support of conflict resolution efforts. Another frequently recurring theme is the need for strong internal institutions for nonviolent dispute settlement in divided societies. This theme appears explicitly in studies of conflict transformation (see Chapters 7 through 9 on interactive conflict resolution and truth commissions) and structural prevention (Chapter 12, autonomy arrangements). It is also implicit in the study of electoral systems (Chapter 11), which presumes that elections are an institution for nonviolent dispute settlement. The frequent focus on internal institutions for conflict resolution may reflect an increased international recognition of the threat of internal conflict. It is worth noting that the themes of internal institutions and international coordination are related: the studies of autonomy and of truth commissions both note that appropriate international assistance may help compensate for weaknesses in internal conflict management institutions. Some recurring themes are associated with particular strategies of conflict resolution. For example, the studies of traditional diplomatic techniques (Chapters 3 through 6) confirm that basic principles of power politics, such as set forth in past work on deterrence and coercive diplomacy, operate as well in the present era as in the past. What may have changed, as the studies of economic sanctions and the threat and use of force both report (Chapters 4 and 3), is the ability of states to exercise these tools. Because of increased difficulty in applying these techniques,
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War both of these studies advocate that those who would employ them be more selective in their use and, when they do act, that they do so in a concerted and decisive manner. The studies of conflict transformation (Chapters 7 through 10) reveal another recurring theme: that there are new and important roles for NGOs in international conflict resolution. NGOs can be important both for building support for peace within societies, as indicated in the studies of interactive conflict resolution, and in responding to complex humanitarian emergencies. The studies of electoral systems and truth commissions reveal yet another potential role for NGOs—as a carrier of lessons about peace making from one country to another. These studies together suggest that international conflict resolution may benefit from improved skills of various kinds within NGOs, including skills in conflict analysis and in coordination with governments and other NGOs. The studies of structural prevention recurrently emphasize the importance of involvement of a spectrum of local actors in institutional design. This theme appears in the studies of electoral design, autonomy, and truth commissions (Chapters 11, 12, and 9) and is implicit in the study of language conflict (Chapter 13). These studies suggest that, in an era in which internal conflicts have gained greater importance, it is important for the parties to be actively involved in conflict resolution: participatory approaches are preferable to imposed solutions from above, and although outside technical assistance can be helpful, lasting success may depend on giving local actors the final say. Chapter 5 on spoilers addresses options for external actors when some of the parties will not participate. The structural prevention studies raise two other recurring, and related, themes. One is that the institutions that can be agreed on in a peace settlement may not be best for long-term conflict management in the society. This finding appears in the studies of truth commissions, electoral systems, and autonomy arrangements. The other theme is that the success of structural prevention often depends on flexibility and willingness to keep bargaining. This theme appears in the studies of language conflict and autonomy. Both themes suggest that it may be very important to design flexibility into institutional arrangements that are intended to prevent future conflict. We do not know enough yet to say that these recurring themes reflect enduring features of the emerging world system or that the lessons they may suggest are the right ones to draw from recent history. However, these studies, completed a decade into a new era of world politics, do suggest what some of the main issues may be in international conflict resolution in this era. Many of these, such as international coordination for conflict resolution, support of internal institutions for dispute settlement, strengthening the NGO role, devolving decision making power to
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War local actors, and designing flexible institutions, are quite different from the main conflict resolution issues of the Cold War period. To the extent that such issues emerge as critical, they will require new work from analysts and new understanding and skills from practitioners. We hope the studies in this book will help analysts and practitioners better understand and address the problems of conflict resolution in this new era. NOTES 1 Among the many scholarly works that address these changes and assess their potential implications are those of Ruggie (1993), Joseph (1998), Held et al. (1998), Russett (1993), Doyle (1997), Keck and Sikkink (1998), Ratner (1998), and Gurr (1993). 2 Researchers in the peace studies tradition often note the apparent contradiction between these opposed uses of the same tools of power politics. They typically stand these techniques in opposition to those they see as embodying the true spirit of international conflict resolution, which they define in terms of the use of nonviolent means in a spirit of dialogue and cooperation. For example, see Burton (1990) and Laue (1991). 3 Strategies of so-called integrative negotiation or integrative bargaining departed from zero-sum thinking with the notion that there may be ways to accommodate both parties’ interests in a negotiation. See, for example, Homans (1961), de Callieres (1963), and Pruitt (1986). In practice, integrative negotiation often involves adding inducements to bring one or both parties to recalculate interests enough to support an agreement. Thus, although integrative negotiation allows for nonzero-sum outcomes, in many applications it follows the logic of stable interests. 4 The distinction between structural and operational prevention was made in the report of the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict (1997). That report used the term structural prevention broadly to include all strategies that can obviate the need for operational prevention. We use the term more narrowly to include only efforts to modify structural conditions within states so as to improve opportunities for nonviolent conflict resolution. For example, although truth commissions do not engage in operational prevention, not everything they do is structural prevention in our usage. When they recommend modifications in the national judiciary or policing systems to prevent future human rights abuses, they are recommending structural prevention in this narrower sense. However, when their efforts are directed toward emotional reconciliation or establishing a common understanding of the past, they are using the strategy of conflict transformation. These changes, even if they are long lasting, are psychological rather than structural. 5 The norm of territorial integrity is also undergoing an interesting transformation. The cases of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia are making clear an emerging international consensus that, when division of a state becomes unavoidable, the division should be made along the lines of extant provincial subdivisions. 6 The surprises were: “(1) The Soviet empire, and then the Soviet Union, disintegrated without any major international or civil war. They effectively dismantled themselves. (2) The probability of strategic nuclear war between great powers diminished greatly. (3) Authoritarian regimes in many countries around the world, especially regimes that had been controlled or strongly supported by one of the superpowers, were replaced by new regimes voicing commitments to democracy. (4) Local wars erupted in areas where superpowers or superpower conflict would have not permitted them before [e.g., Kuwait, Yugoslavia, Nagorno-Karabakh].…(5) Communist insurgencies faded or reached accommodations with regimes in a number of countries, although not all (for example, Peru)” (Stern and Druckman, 1995:109).
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War 7 Arms control agreements during the Cold War often involved structural prevention of conflict, but it was conflict between states, and its relevance to the current spate of substate conflicts has not been clearly defined. On normative change, the spread of adherence to human rights norms during the last decades of the Cold War probably holds lessons for the current period. See, for example, Mastny (1992) and Lauren (1998). 8 The term generic knowledge and much of the discussion in this section are adapted from George (1993). However, unlike George, who restricts the term to knowledge about which strategies work under which conditions, we consider that other kinds of knowledge, for example, about the parties to a conflict, also may be generic in the sense of being applicable across situations. 9 George (1993) uses the term actor-specific behavioral models to refer to this kind of knowledge. 10 The method of structured, focused case comparison has been described in detail elsewhere (see George, 1979; Bennett and George, forthcoming). Although the contributors were not asked to follow this method in a formal way, most of them worked in that spirit. REFERENCES Bennett, A., and A.L.George Forth- Case Study and Theory Development. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, coming Burton, J.W. 1990 Conflict: Resolution and Prevention. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict 1997 Preventing Deadly Conflict: Final Report. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, de Callieres, F. 1963 On the Manner of Negotiating with Princes. Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press. Doyle, M. 1997 Ways of War and Peace. New York: Norton. Fisher, R.J. 1997 Interactive Conflict Resolution. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press. George, A.L. 1979 Case studies and theory development: The method of structured, focused comparison. In Diplomacy: New Approaches in History, Theory, and Policy, P.G.Lauren, ed. New York: The Free Press. 1993 Bridging the Gap: Theory and Practice in Foreign Policy. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press. George, A.L., and R.Smoke 1974 Deterrence in American Foreign Policy: Theory and Practice. New York: Columbia University Press. Gurr, T.R. 1993 Minorities at Risk: A Global View of Ethnopolitical Conflicts. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press. Held, D., A.McGrew, D.Goldblatt, and J.Perraton 1998 Global Transformations: Politics, Economics, and Culture. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. Homans, G. 1961 Social Behavior. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World.
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War Jervis, R. 1983 Security regimes. In International Regimes, S.D.Krasner, ed. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. Joseph, R.A., ed. 1998 State, Conflict, and Democracy in Africa. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner. Keck, M, and K.Sikkink 1998 Activists Beyond Borders. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. Laue, J. 1991 Contributions of the emerging field of conflict resolution. Pp. 300–332 in Approaches to Peace: An Intellectual Map, W.S.Thompson and K.M.Jensen, eds. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace. Lauren, P.G. 1998 The Evolution of International Human Rights: Visions Seen. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Mastny, V. 1991 The Helsinki Process and the Reintegration of Europe, 1986–1991: Analysis and Documentation. New York: New York University Press. National Research Council 1989 Behavior, Society, and Nuclear War, vol. 1, P.E.Tetlock, J.L.Husbands, R.Jervis, P.C.Stern, and C.Tilly, eds. Committee on the Contributions of Behavioral and Social Science to the Prevention of Nuclear War. New York: Oxford University Press. 1991 Behavior, Society, and Nuclear War, vol. 2, P.E.Tetlock, J.L.Husbands, R.Jervis, P.C.Stern, and C.Tilly, eds. Committee on the Contributions of Behavioral and Social Science to the Prevention of Nuclear War. New York: Oxford University Press. 1993 Behavior, Society, and International Conflict, vol. 3, P.E.Tetlock, J.L.Husbands, R. Jervis, P.C.Stern, and C.Tilly, eds. Committee on International Conflict and Cooperation. New York: Oxford University Press. Pruitt, D.G. 1986 Achieving integrative agreements in negotiation. Pp. 463–478 in Psychology and the Prevention of Nuclear War, R.K.White, ed. New York: New York University Press. Ratner, S.R. 1998 International law: The trials of global norms. Foreign Affairs 110 (Spring):65–80. Ruggie, J.G. 1993 Multilateralism Matters: The Theory and Praxis of an Institutional Form. New York: Columbia University Press. Russett, B. 1993 Grasping the Democratic Peace: Principles for a Post-Cold War World. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Saunders, H.H. 1999 A Public Peace Process: Sustained Dialogue to Transform Racial and Ethnic Conflicts. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Schelling, T.C. 1960 The Strategy of Conflict. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Stern, P.C., and D.Druckman 1995 Has the earthquake of 1989 toppled international relations theory? Peace Psychology Review 1:109–122. Wallensteen, P., and M.Sollenberg 1996 The end of international war? Armed conflict 1989–1995. Journal of Peace Research 33:353–370.
Representative terms from entire chapter: