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Bandit Country: The IRA and South Armagh by Toby Harnden One of my fascinations with Northern Ireland in the s and 80s is how it became a place where different rules applied, where reality itself seemed up for grabs. This book, too; an incredible insight into the mind of Stone, by one of the most consistently challenging Troubles commentators. Stone talks about violence as a simple fact, as a power that possesses and that is inscrutable in its possession. Country by Michael Hughes Narratives in Northern Ireland are all about who is telling the story and what historical precedents they can muster in its defence: the Irish are born myth-makers.

This is Ireland as the eternal country. Where They Were Missed by Lucy Caldwell The Troubles, here, are a form of distant illumination that makes heartbreakingly sad the lives played out in their shadow. The novel is an untangling of the fictions we live with, the stories we inherit from our parents, and the possibilities of reinventing our own. A powerful and original work. But I often asked myself: when will my final fix arrive?

The one that will kill me, put me in prison or break me. 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. 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, that provided norms devised to reduce the risks of escalation. The implicit understandings gained through. 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.

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.

Thus, for example, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe CSCE , begun in the s, matured in the s 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 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 s, even before the end of the Cold War, transnational corporations, pressured by negative publicity about their investments, and even local governments used.

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. 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. 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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The conflict transformation approach is seen in its purest form in a set of techniques pioneered in the s by academics and NGOs under such names as interactive conflict resolution, citizen diplomacy, and problem-solving workshops e. 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.

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.

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.

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.


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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 was an historic watershed in this regard, permitting oversight by the 35 signatories of human rights conditions in each of their territories.

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. 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-.

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. 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. 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 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 and this group commissioned 14 comprehensive review articles covering major areas of knowledge about international conflict National Research Council, , , Stern and Druckman identified 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.

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.

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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 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 was still reliable knowledge after that time, much of. 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. 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. 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.

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. 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 In the past, when such structural arrangements were the subject of scholarly attention, it usually came from specialists in domestic politics e.

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.

The intent is to draw out lessons—what George 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. Conflict resolution practitioners need many kinds of knowledge to achieve their objectives. Some essential knowledge is highly situation specific and can come only from examining features of particular conflict situations in the present—the political forces currently affecting the parties in conflict, the personalities of the leaders, the contested terrain or resources, and so forth. Other kinds of essential knowledge apply across situations. They tell what to expect in certain kinds of conflicts or with certain kinds of parties, leaders, or contested resources.

These kinds of knowledge are generic, that is, cross-situational, and therefore subject to improvement by systematic examination of the past. The chapters in this book are organized around problems in conflict resolution and techniques or classes of techniques for addressing them. Problems are situations encountered repeatedly, though in different contexts, in the conduct of the practice of diplomacy or conflict resolution, such as deterring aggression, mediating disputes, managing crises, achieving cooperation among allies, and so forth.

Practitioners typically consider several specific policy instruments and strategies for dealing with each of these generic problems. In this process they can benefit from several types of knowledge about them. First, general conceptual models identify the critical variables for dealing effectively with the phenomenon in question and the general logic associated with successful use of strategies or techniques to address a type of problem.

For example, deterrence theory in its classical form e. It presumes that the target of a deterrent threat is rational and thus, if well informed, can make a reasonably accurate calculation of the costs and risks associated with each possible response to the threat, and it prescribes the characteristics of threats that are effective with rational actors. A conceptual model is the starting point for constructing a strategy or response for dealing with a particular conflict situation.

Second, practitioners need conditional generalizations about what favors the success of specific strategies they might use. This kind of knowledge normally takes the form of statements of association—that a strategy is effective under certain conditions but not others.

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Although conditional generalizations are not sufficient to determine which action to take, they are useful for diagnostic purposes. A practitioner can examine a situation to see whether favorable conditions exist or can be created for using a. Good conditional generalizations enable a practitioner to increase the chances of making the right choice about whether and when to use a technique. Third, practitioners need knowledge about causal processes and mechanisms that link the use of each strategy to its outcomes. For example, one indication that an electoral system in a culturally divided society is channeling conflict in nonviolent directions is that each major party is running candidates from several ethnic groups.

When party conflicts are no longer reflections of raw ethnic conflict, future political conflicts are likely to be less highly charged. Knowledge about such mechanisms is useful for monitoring the progress of a conflict resolution effort and for deciding whether additional efforts should be made to support previous ones.

Fourth, in order to craft an appropriate strategy for a situation, practitioners need a correct general understanding of the actors whose behavior the strategy is designed to influence. Only by doing so can a practitioner diagnose a developing situation accurately and select appropriate ways of communicating with and influencing others. Faulty images of others are a source of major misperceptions and miscalculations that have often led to major errors in policy, avoidable catastrophes, and missed opportunities.

Area specialists in academia can make useful, indeed indispensable, contributions to developing and making available such knowledge, as can diplomats and other individuals on the scene of a conflict who have personal knowledge about the major actors. All of these types of knowledge are generic in that they apply across specific situations.

It is important to emphasize, however, that although such knowledge is useful, even indispensable to practice, a conflict resolution practitioner also needs accurate situation-specific knowledge in order to act effectively. Skilled practitioners use their judgment to combine generic and specific knowledge in order to act in what are always unique decision situations. The contributors to this volume have attempted to develop the first three kinds of knowledge described above: general conceptual models of conflict situations, knowledge about the conditions favoring the success of particular conflict resolution techniques, and knowledge about the causal processes that lead them to succeed or fail.

In doing this they have had to grapple with other important but difficult issues: defining success. Each contributor to this volume was asked to carefully define a technique or concept of conflict resolution and to evaluate the available historical and other evidence regarding the conditions for its success. In Chapter 2 , Stern and Druckman discuss the challenges of making such evaluations.

They identify the difficulties of making valid inferences about efforts to change the course of history and discuss strategies by which knowledge can be developed in the face of these challenges. The other contributors tried to meet the challenges, each by examining a particular technique, concept, institution, or problem. Most of the contributors used some form of structured case comparison to do their work.

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The results of their efforts have been sets of propositions or empirically based hypotheses about the conditions and mechanisms by which particular efforts at international conflict resolution yield results that can be considered successful. It is our hope and expectation that the knowledge developed by the contributors will be of practical value. We do not expect that it will be prescriptive in the sense of providing a standard set of procedures that tell practitioners what to do in particular situations.

However, it is intended to be useful to practitioners when they combine it with specific knowledge about what kind of situation is at hand. Generic knowledge also has diagnostic value for practitioners because it describes the characteristics to look for in situations that make a difference in terms of which actions will be effective.

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After a practitioner has accurately diagnosed a. However, even with the perfect diagnosis of a situation, generic knowledge cannot be expected to provide prescriptions for action, for several reasons. First, this kind of knowledge will never be solidly established in the fashion of a law of physics. For one thing, human actors can defy the laws said to govern their own behavior; for another, world conditions continually change in ways that may invalidate conclusions from past experience.

Second, the many tradeoffs in any decision situation make general knowledge an imperfect guide to action. Sometimes, all the aspects of success cannot be achieved at once and choices must be made. Sometimes, conflict resolution outcomes are not the only ones relevant to practitioners, who must then weigh those outcomes against other desired outcomes e. Despite such limitations, we believe the kinds of knowledge developed in this volume will prove useful to conflict resolution practitioners.

They can help practitioners identify options for action they might not otherwise have considered, think through the implications of each course of action, and identify ways of checking to see if actions, once taken, remain on track. However, one must recognize that practitioners may resist accepting conclusions developed by systematic analysis. Many practitioners mistrust such conclusions and prefer to trust their own experiential knowledge and that developed by other practitioners.

Anticipating this possibility, we have involved current or former practitioners in discussion about each of the studies presented in Chapters 3 through 14 from the earliest phases and in the review of the chapters.


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  8. We hope that this sort of interaction between researchers and practitioners will, over time, improve mutual respect for and understanding of the kinds of knowledge that direct experience and systematic analysis taken together can provide. Bridging the gap between scholarship and practice remains an overriding challenge for international conflict resolution George, We believe this volume will also be of value for scholars of international relations and conflict resolution.

    For them it will collect useful knowledge, raise important issues for the future development of knowledge, and generate a variety of propositions to examine and hypotheses to test in future research in this area. The remainder of this book consists of 13 studies, one methodological and 12 substantive, concerned with particular techniques of conflict resolution.

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    They identify the inherent difficulties of this task and show how progress can be made in the face of these obstacles. They conclude that a systematic approach based on social scientific concepts and techniques can produce useful generalizations about which techniques work under which conditions and thus raise the level of understanding available to conflict resolution practitioners.

    The main challenges of evaluation defined in Chapter 2 concern developing analytical concepts, selecting cases for analysis, measuring outcomes and the factors affecting them, and making inferences about cause and effect. The conceptual challenges include defining and classifying interventions, defining success, and setting reasonable expectations for the effects of an intervention. The problems of case selection include delineating the relevant universe of cases and drawing a representative sample of them—for instance, the universe of known cases may not be representative of all actual cases.

    Measurement problems include taking into account events that cannot be observed, such as closed negotiations or unpublicized mediation efforts. Key inference problems are raised by the lack of adequate comparison situations and the need to compare actual events with imagined, or counterfactual, ones; the need to take into account the effects of other events that occur at the same time as the intervention; the need to consider indirect effects of the interventions; and the need to sort out the overlapping and conflicting effects of the multiple efforts that are often made to resolve a conflict.

    The authors then consider ways of meeting these challenges. With regard to the conceptual challenges, they emphasize the importance of clear definitions and taxonomies of intervention types and of conceptual frameworks that link concepts together and generate hypotheses about the conditions under which interventions have particular consequences over a short and longer span of time.

    With regard to sampling, suggestions are made to carefully develop purposive sampling frames guided by theory as an alternative to the sort of random sampling that only has meaning in the context of a specified universe of cases. The chapter discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the main available systematic methods of making inferences: experiments including quasi-experiments and simulations, multivariate analysis, and enhanced case study methods such as the approach of structured and focused case comparison.

    The authors reach three important conclusions.

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    First, they conclude that theory development, including taxonomies and hypotheses about. Second, a dialogue between theory and experience, with progress in each leading to refinements in the other, is the best route to improved understanding. Many of the substantive studies in Chapters 3 through 14 take up the challenges defined in Chapter 2 , making new contributions to knowledge by clarifying concepts; defining types of interventions; stating explicit hypotheses about causes, effects, and causal mechanisms; defining outcome indicators; and so forth.

    In this respect these chapters may be previews of the directions that the field is likely to take during the first decade of the new millennium. Below, we briefly summarize the topics and findings of the 12 substantive studies in this book. The summaries are not intended to substitute for the studies; rather, they are intended as a guide to the reader. We group the summaries under the four strategies of conflict resolution previously identified: traditional diplomacy and power politics, conflict transformation, structural prevention, and normative change.

    This classification is artificial in some cases because some conflict resolution approaches employ more than one of these strategies. For example, truth commissions may promote conflict transformation while also recommending structural prevention measures. These complexities are mentioned below and are more evident in the chapters that follow.

    Chapters 3 through 6 assess conflict resolution techniques strongly rooted in traditional diplomacy. Chapter 3 , for example, focuses on the use and threat of force. It examines the limited ability of the United States, despite its military dominance in the post-Cold War era, to achieve diplomatic objectives through threats of force and limited exemplary uses of force. Barry Blechman and Tamara Cofman Wittes explain this paradox of power by identifying a number of conditions that, although neither necessary or sufficient for the success of a U.

    Blechman and Wittes examine eight major post-Cold War cases: Panama — , Iraq — , Somalia — , Macedonia — , Bosnia — , Haiti — , Korea — , and Taiwan To a large extent they find that the enabling conditions were present in those cases in which U. The authors go beyond this correlation to suggest how the enabling conditions operated to produce the outcomes in the eight cases.

    The authors draw three noteworthy conclusions from their case analyses. First is the critical importance of how much is demanded of the target. The greater the demand made, the greater the reluctance to comply. Thus, in six of seven cases of success the demand made was a relatively modest one—compliance was relatively easy. A second finding was that coupling threats with positive incentives for compliance increased success.

    Positive incentives were employed in six of seven success cases. A third important lesson concerned the degree of public support for the policy in the United States. Potent threats are harder to sustain because they imply greater risks, triggering the U. The International Actors 4. International Behavior Space-Time 5. International Expectations And Dispositions 6. International Actor And Situation 7. International Sociocultural Space-Time 8. Interests, Capabilities, And Wills 9. Latent International Conflict