Different strategies affect time and type of regional peace

11/08/05

A study published in the latest issue of International Studies Review examines the reasons why there are differences in the level of peace among different regions of the world. The study also examines why the transition of some regions from war to peace was much earlier than in other regions. It argues that the underlying cause of a high amount of regional wars and the type of peace that follows is a result of state-to-nation imbalance. This is the lack of compatibility or fit between the existing territorial division of a region into states and the national identification of the peoples living in that region. The greater the state-to-nation imbalance is, the greater the drive towards war. "State-to-nation problems arouse strong emotions and passionate ideological commitments that make pragmatic compromise and bargaining more difficult," author Benjamin Miller explains

Dr. Miller's study describes three levels of peace: cold (war is absent with localized low-intensity violence, and conflicts are managed) normal (war is absent and conflicts are settled as state governments begin to work together) and warm (war is absent and there are extensive transnational relations and high regional interdependence). After warm peace, the highest level, ethnic conflicts are stabilized and are less likely to lead to violence. His three mechanisms for peacemaking in imbalanced regions begin with the great power strategy. This can lead to a cold peace, as a great power would lend external support that would limit local military powers and constrain a regional actor's ability to use force. The second, the regional conflict resolution strategy can create normal peace with elements including parties agreeing not to intervene in the domestic affairs of other states and resolving conflicts peacefully. The last, regional integration path, can bring warm peace as it promotes radical change-- states acting multilaterally and voluntarily to move some power to supranational institutions. Eventually, the presence and leadership of a great power will be less needed. "In effect, peacemaking strategies bring about the transition from war to peace only if certain conditions exist in the region," Miller states. The study focuses on identifying the regional conditions which make the emergence of peace possible. Different conditions produce different levels of peace.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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