Neverending Wars: The International Community, Weak States, and the Perpetuation of Civil War

Neverending Wars: The International Community, Weak States, and the Perpetuation of Civil War

Neverending Wars: The International Community, Weak States, and the Perpetuation of Civil War

Neverending Wars: The International Community, Weak States, and the Perpetuation of Civil War

Synopsis

Since 1945, the average length of civil wars has increased three-fold. What can explain this startling fact? It can't be ethnic hatreds and injustices-these have been around for centuries. In Neverending Wars, Ann Hironaka points to the crucial role of the international community in propping up many new and weak states that resulted from the decolonization movement after World War II. These impoverished states are prone to conflicts and lack the necessary resources to resolve them decisively. International aid and external military intervention from the international community often perpetuate such conflicts. And the Cold War further exacerbated the problem by providing large amounts of military aid. The continual infusion of weapons and resources can prolong such wars indefinitely.

This timely book will provide an entirely new way to look at recent, vicious civil wars, failed states, and the terrorist movements that emerge in their wake.

Excerpt

Civil War has become a way of life in some countries. In Angola two generations have grown up under conditions of civil war; they “have never lived in conditions of peace and stability and do not know what [the] peaceful development of the state is about” (Fituni 1995:147). Decades-long civil wars were unfortunately all too common in the latter half of the twentieth century and continue into the twentyfirst. Countries such as Angola and Myanmar have experienced civil wars lasting their entire history as independent states. Other countries, such as the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and the Sudan have been embroiled in seemingly intractable civil wars throughout much of their history. These lengthy civil wars are a distinctive feature of the post-World War II era. In the first half of the twentieth century (and earlier), civil wars tended to be short and decisive. From 1900 to 1944, the length of the average civil war was just one and a half years. By the second half of the twentieth century, the average civil war had tripled in length, lasting over four years, while several have lasted for decades (as calculated from the Correlates of War civil wars dataset). Moreover, the figure of four years is deceptively low, as some of the “short” wars were arguably part of longer conflicts that temporarily ebbed only to recur in later years.

These civil wars have been enormously costly in terms of human suffering. Sadly, the lengthening of civil wars has not been accompanied . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.