Academic journal article Military Review

Nationalism and Ethnic Conflct (International Security Readers)

Academic journal article Military Review

Nationalism and Ethnic Conflct (International Security Readers)

Article excerpt

NATIONALISM AND ETHNIC CONFLICT (International Security Readers), Michael E. Brown, Owen R. Cote, Jr., Sean M. Lynn-Jones, and Steven E. Miller. eds., The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2001, 491 pages, $27.95.

Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict is a collection of reprints of articles published by the Center for International Security and Cooperation. Although half the material is new, the world situation is unchanged; internal and interregional conflicts, such as those in Rwanda and Bosnia, continue to threaten international security. The collection contains three sections: "The Sources of Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict," "Options for international Action," and "Political Challenges."

The first section, which defines terms and problems, contains one of the more thought-provoking articles, which argues that unregulated free speech might not always be the best arrangement for a newly established nation. Another article addresses the roles of special interests, grudges, and pettiness in manipulating ethnic outbreaks and the possibility that, perhaps, ethnic conflict is sometimes a rational choice. In an essay from 1996, David Lake and Donald Rothschild explain that because intergroup relations are imperfect, fear might be a major driver of ethnic conflict. An ethnic group that loses its confidence in the system becomes vulnerable to the rabble-rouser, so it is imperative to maintain intergroup trust. Each essay includes recommendations for at least reducing the problem, but overall emphasis is more on defining than solving the problem of ethnic friction.

The second section deals with tools. …

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