Ethnic Conflict in World Politics

Ethnic Conflict in World Politics

Ethnic Conflict in World Politics

Ethnic Conflict in World Politics

Synopsis

As hot spots from Bosnia to the Caucasus to the Horn of Africa clearly signal, the end of the Cold War does not mean an end to regional conflict but rather the early phase of a new era in world history. This book is an introduction to this new era of ethnic challenges to world order and security. From Africa's postcolonial rebellions in the 1960s and 1970s to the anti-immigrant violence in the 1990s, Ethnic Conflict in World Politics surveys the historical, geographic, and cultural diversity of ethnopolitical conflict. Using an analytical model to elucidate four well-chosen case studies- the Kurds, the Miskitos, the Chinese in Malaysia, and the Turks in Germany- the authors give students tools for analyzing emerging conflicts based on the demands of nationalists, indigenous peoples, and immigrant minorities throughout the world. The international community is challenged to respond more constructively to these conflicts than it has in divided Yugoslavia, by using the emerging doctrines of peacekeeping and peacemaking that are detailed in this book. The text is liberally illustrated with maps, tables, and figures to enhance students' understanding of the quest of unfamiliar peoples for autonomy and rights, putting all into the context of international politics. An appendix surveying over fifty of the most serious ethnopolitical conflicts in the world today- keyed to a global map and identifying the groups and issues as well as counting the number of lives affected- shows the enormous geopolitical and cultural reach of this issue.

Excerpt

In 1993, two years after the Cold War ended, twenty-two "hot" wars were still being fought around the world. Communal rivalries and ethnic challenges to states contributed to conflict in all but five of these episodes. About 25 million refugees were fleeing from communal conflict and repression, a number equivalent to the entire population of Canada. At least 4 million people reportedly had died as a direct or an indirect result of these conflicts, two hundred thousand of them in 1993 alone. The United Nations had thirteen peacekeeping operations under way, the most ever in its fifty-year history, and seven of these were aimed at separating the protagonists in communal conflicts. This evidence does not signal "the end of history" but, rather, the early phase of a new era in world history, one that does not yet have a name. This book is an introduction to the new era of ethnic challenges to world order and security.

In the first chapter we use examples to illustrate the importance of ethnic conflict in the changing global system. In Chapter 2 we identify the main types of politically active ethnic groups, discuss their grievances and political strategies, and summarize the historical processes that explain why they have been and continue to be important actors in domestic and international politics.

In Chapters 3 and 4 we sketch the historical background and conflicts of four peoples. The Kurds in the Middle East and the Miskito Indians of Central America, the subjects of Chapter 3, are examples of groups whose members have a strong sense of communal interest and identity they want to protect by gaining political independence or autonomy. We chose to analyze the Kurds for two reasons. First, their nationalist aspirations continue to be a major challenge to regional stability in the Middle East. Second, Iraqi attacks on the Kurds in 1991 led to a precedent-setting collective response: The United Nations authorized for the first time the use of force to establish a protected zone for victimized people in a sovereign state. The Miskitos are not nationalists, nor have they suffered to the extent of the Kurds. Like most indigenous peoples, the Miskitos are mainly concerned with protecting their traditional lifeways, land, and resources. We selected them because unlike most other indigenous peoples, they re-

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