Academic journal article Military Review

Why Peace Fails: The Causes and Prevention of Civil War Recurrence

Academic journal article Military Review

Why Peace Fails: The Causes and Prevention of Civil War Recurrence

Article excerpt

WHY PEACE FAILS: The Causes and Prevention of Civil War Recurrence

Charles T. Call, Georgetown University Press Washington, DC, 2012, 328 pages, $32.95

CHARLES T. CALL, assistant professor of international studies at American University, sets out to determine why post-civil war peace works in some cases but not in others. His investigation is rooted in conflict theory. He applies quantitative (linear regression) and qualitative analysis to 42 contemporary country case studies--27 cases where post-civil war peace held and 15 cases where it failed--to make numerous notable findings that significantly advance the body of knowledge in conflict theory.

Call's central finding is that political exclusion of opposition groups, rather than economic or social factors, largely determines whether civil wars recur. In other words, inclusionary behavior (power sharing) closely corresponds with successful peace building. Eighty-five percent of cases with inclusionary approaches resulted in sustained peace. His finding also points to the critical role played by national actors in determining success or failure of post-conflict peace. National actors who consolidated power at the expense of social groups associated with a conflict ultimately led to the recurrence of civil war. He also challenges the widely accepted view that economics is the first factor to address in establishing enduring post-civil war peace.

Call's investigation further uncovers the critical role international actors play in promoting inclusionary solutions to conflict and the instrumental role third-party militaries can play in stabilizing situations. …

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