Preventing Conflict in the Post-Communist World Mobilizing International and Regional Organizations

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This book is concerned with preventing violent conflict in eastern and central Europe (ECE) and the former Soviet Union (FSU). By now it is clear that the many violent conflicts erupting in this area have a very different meaning for the international community than conflicts and civil wars during the era of superpower competition and nuclear stalemate. It is not that the nature of conflict has changed. Ethnic and tribal wars have raged throughout history. But their significance, understood (and misunderstood) only within the simple framework of superpower rivalry and cold war risk a few years ago, is now far more difficult to grasp. The East-West stalemate no longer stabilizes an uneasy peace among nations.

Western politicians, pundits, and public were wholly unprepared for the violent conflicts erupting in eastern and central Europe and the former Soviet Union after the end of the cold war. The governments emerging from communism lack both the authoritarian control to suppress domestic differences and the democratic power to manage them.

Old conflicts resurfaced and new ones were kindled in virulent form from Bosnia to Chechnya. The stability of governments and the status quo of borders have been thrown into question. Actual and threatened disintegration of states in the area is widespread. No reference points have emerged to replace the cold war paradigm. Nor is there a way of knowing which conflicts can be contained within accepted borders and which may spill over. The prospect not only of widening conflict, but also of new precedents challenging old certainties of international life, causes deep concern in Western Europe and the United States.

Europe has many experienced international organizations under whose umbrella states organize to achieve common purposes. How are these organizations attempting to deal with the internal conflicts that are both the cause and the result of the end of communism and the East-West confrontation? The authors show how difficult it is to achieve effective joint action on a sustained basis. They contend that a concerted effort to discover how to achieve joint action is the necessary next step in mobilizing international organizations for preventing ethnonational conflict.

In addition to the editors, the contributors are Diana Chigas, Jarat Chopra, Michael W. Doyle, Keitha Sapsin Fine, David S. Huntington, Christophe Kamp, Jeane E. Manas, Elizabeth McClintock, John Pinder, Wolfgang H. Reinicke, Reinhardt Rummel, Melane H. Stein, Shashi Tharoor, Thomas G. Weiss, Richard Weitz, and Mario Zucconi.

Preventing Conflict in the Post-Communist World Attributes

Author: Abram Chayes and Antonia Handler Chayes.
Publisher: Washington, DC: Brookings Institute, 1996