Regional Guide to International Conflict and Management from 1945 to 2003

By Magruder, Daniel L. Jr, Usaf | Air & Space Power Journal, Winter 2008 | Go to article overview

Regional Guide to International Conflict and Management from 1945 to 2003


Magruder, Daniel L. Jr, Usaf, Air & Space Power Journal


Regional Guide to International Conflict and Management from 1945 to 2003 by Jacob Bercovitch and Judith Fretter. CQ Press (http://www.cqpress .com), 1255 22nd Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20037, 2004, 400 pages, $118.00 (hardcover).

Jacob Bercovitch and Judith Fretter's Regional Guide to International Conflict and Management from 1945 to 2003 is a must-have for people framing the environment of their next potential deployment. This book serves not only as a reference of more than 343 conflicts in the post-World War II era but also as a primer on managing international conflict. The audiors, instructors at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, started the project over 20 years ago and have continually updated conflict summaries. Their adept handling of a subject of such large scope is reflected in the regional and chronological breakdown of individual incidents. Regional Guide highlights spikes in tensions between countries as well as situations that precipitated violence.

The authors note that conflict contains single or multiple parts of interstate armed conflicts, internationalized civil wars, and militarized disputes. They divide the book into diree general divisions: an overview of international conflict, regional breakdowns of conflicts, and appendices. The first 50 pages give careful attention to management of international conflict; the next 250, the bulk of the work, include summaries of the world's conflicts (which indicate whether or not methation was attempted and whether or not it succeeded) , divided into regions of the world; and the final 40 pages or so consist of reference material, including explanations of the United Nations and major regional organizations such as the Organization of American States and the Arab League.

The first section summarizes current trends of thought on the nature and management of conflict. In addition, it details international and regional organizations involved in methation and conflict resolution. The audiors briefly touch on causes of conflict, citing the Cold War, decolonization, and ethnic strife as major areas of concern during the last 60 years. They give terrorism only superficial treatment as a fringe phenomenon. Furthermore, Bercovitch and Fretter analyze patterns of conflict, concluding that "aldiough the absolute number of conflicts have risen, the number of conflicts in progress have been declining since the mid1980s" (p. 9). Additionally, patterns show that the two most strife-ridden areas of the world are Africa and the Middle East.

The authors point to territory and sovereignty as the two main causes of war (p. 10). Additionally, aldiough countries are willing to go to war, research points out that of 343 conflicts, only 50 resulted in victory for one side or the other (p. …

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