Ethnic Conflict Threatens International Stability

By Howell, Llewellyn D. | USA TODAY, July 1993 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Ethnic Conflict Threatens International Stability


Howell, Llewellyn D., USA TODAY


As Pres. Clinton explored American options in the ethnic war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was clear that policymakers in the U.S. and Europe were well aware of the fact that a precedent could be set that would restructure the relationship between governments and nations. Virtually any action in Bosnia would challenge the concept of the modern nation-state and could result in efforts to reorganize the state or its relationship with territory worldwide. This threat to the global state system is of considerably more importance than the possibility that Bosnia could turn into another Vietnam. Depending on the outcome of this triangular conflict among Serbs, Croats, and Muslims, numerous other ethnic conflicts easily could evolve into equivalent quagmires.

Some years ago, Time magazine did an informal study of war frequency and found that, at any given time, there were approximately 20 conflicts under way. In a Feb. 7, 1993, New York Times' analysis by David Binder and Barbara Crossette, 48 current instances of what may be called "war" (two organized sides conflicting with casualties resulting) were cited. Many have been a consequence of the demise of communist ideology and associated state structures. Some were suppressed in the context of the Cold War, where international side-taking took precedence over more proximate rivalries. Others have been smoldering or even actively burning for years, decades, or centuries without recognition from the Western state-oriented media. Nevertheless, within political states, these are nations in conflict. Here are some examples from the Binder-Crossette file that could become future Bosnias:

Sri Lanka lost a president in early May in what was thought to be an ethnically related assassination by suicide bomber. Both Tamil separatists and Sinhalese nationalist militants have been fighting against government forces. More than 75,000 have died in the two conflicts. No end is in sight on either count. Reports of atrocities have been widespread for years. India already has intervened in Sri Lanka to attempt a solution in the long-standing separatist conflict between Tamils and Sinhalese. It failed. Reestablishment of political, as distinct from national, sovereignty is unlikely without "ethnic cleansing."

In Peru, a Maoist guerrilla group has been waging a war against the government since 1980. The Shining Path guerrillas draw their support primarily from Indian and mixed-race groups in opposition to a largely Hispanic elite. More than 25,000 have died and 500,000 have become refugees, a scale reminiscent of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Despite the ideological overtones, the conflict is essentially racial.

The Liberian civil war is really an ethnic one. Pres. Samuel K. Doe, the political leader of the Krahn ethnic group, was killed in 1990.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Ethnic Conflict Threatens International Stability
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?