[New & Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era]

Article excerpt

It is now widely recognized that the basic nature of international conflict has changed with the end of the cold war and the demise of the superpower rivalry. Many of the 'old wars' were proxy wars fought between belligerents who enjoyed the backing of one or other of the superpowers. As we are now discovering, many of these conflicts had a dynamic of their own and were rooted in conditions and circumstances that went well beyond the United States-Soviet rivalry. However, the new conventional wisdom is that most of today's conflicts are largely 'internal' and 'ethnically based' or 'civil' as opposed to 'international.'

Mary Kaldor's book is a useful corrective to this 'new' conventional wisdom about the sources of conflict in a post-cold war world. As she convincingly argues, although conflicting perceptions and particularistic, identity-based value and belief systems lie at the heart of much contemporary conflict, such conflicts are also propelled by the forces of globalization and transnational criminal, business, and arms networks. …