Since the end of the cold war, a series of costly civil wars, many of them ethnic conflicts, have dominated the international security agenda. The international community, often acting through the United Nations or regional organizations like NATO, has felt compelled to intervene with military forces in many of these conflicts -- four of which comprise the heart of this book: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Somalia, Cambodia, and Rwanda. "Civil Wars, Insecurity, and Intervention" is a detailed examination by a host of distinguished scholars of these recent interventions in order to draw lessons for today's policy debates.
The contributors view ethnic conflict and internal war through the prism of the concept of the security dilemma -- a situation in which parties with strong incentives to cooperate wind up nonetheless in bloody competition out of distrust of the opponent. "Civil Wars, Insecurity, and Intervention" assesses how international intervention can help solve the security dilemma in civil wars by designing political and military arrangements that make security commitments credible to the warring parties. The mixed record of partial successes, failures, and in some cases counterproductive interventions suggests an urgent need to extract lessons with a view toward developing a framework for making future policy choices.
This volume is a must for anyone interested in the management of ethnic conflicts as it does a good job of highlighting the difficulties and dilemmas that have to be overcome if interventions are [sic] be more successful in the future than they have been in the past. -- Peter Viggo Jakobsen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark International Affairs