BARRY POSEN THE SECURITY DILEMMA AND ETHNIC CONFLICT PDF

Daniel Blanthorn Posen, Barry R. The Balkans, particularly the three way conflict between Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims Serb and Slovene conflict receives a brief mention, but due to the extremely short and sharp nature of that conflict it is not explored further , and tension between Ukraine and Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union are his focal points. How does Posen approach these problems? Put simply, the security dilemma is where a group state, ethnic, cultural, political, religious and so on pursue security guarantees that, ultimately, make the group less secure. From this, the factors that lead to violent conflict are examined in the context of a wider collapse of stability in this case, the collapse of Yugoslavia and the breakup of the USSR. This is a useful approach.

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Daniel Blanthorn Posen, Barry R. The Balkans, particularly the three way conflict between Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims Serb and Slovene conflict receives a brief mention, but due to the extremely short and sharp nature of that conflict it is not explored further , and tension between Ukraine and Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union are his focal points. How does Posen approach these problems?

Put simply, the security dilemma is where a group state, ethnic, cultural, political, religious and so on pursue security guarantees that, ultimately, make the group less secure. From this, the factors that lead to violent conflict are examined in the context of a wider collapse of stability in this case, the collapse of Yugoslavia and the breakup of the USSR.

This is a useful approach. The Balkan Wars dominated popular discourse and a great deal of western foreign policy of the s, and in recent years a conflict has developed in the Ukraine with multiple complex issues. This relentless pursuit of defensive security is then transformed into a capability that is viewed by the other as solely offensive in nature. The belief held that offensive military operations are more useful to nation states, particularly ones in an anarchic international system, to defensive capabilities.

This assessment was made by the Croats during the Operation Storm. Security is viewed as the sole aim for states, thus increasing military spending and procurement. Tensions between Russia and Ukraine are, primarily, increased by nuclear weapons and only avoided by neither state wishing to appear as the aggressor in the eyes of western nations who they have no real relationship, historical or otherwise, with.

Emerging groups quickly trying to evaluate the threat held not just by armed enemy combatants, but all groups in close proximity.

As such, an assessment of military capability and intent may be based on something such as a hotly contested historical event Croat alliances with Nazi Germany and the historical implications that come with this are used by Posen as opposed to the more reliable methods of reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence gathering.

The WW2 era Croat alliance with Nazi Germany is used well by Posen and, in my view, convincing in understanding the perception side of the argument. The Croat belief, particularly among those on the far right, was that the modern day German state would support the newly founded Croatian state and the Croatian people across a collapsing Yugoslavia. Whilst Germany did support Croatia, this support was not in the form of military intervention.

Regardless, the diplomatic support offered by Germany toward Croatia was perceived by the Serbs to prove the intention of the Croats and, subsequently, the German state in regard to Serbian communities isolated from Serbia itself. Therefore, despite not offering military assistance the ramifications in terms of ethnic conflict were much the same.

This is a fair assessment page The collapse of central government, be it in Belgrade or Moscow, requires the emerging groups particularly irregular forces to calculate risk. The ideal time for them to strike, therefore, is shortly after the collapse of centralised power but before the international community chooses to intervene page The threat of international intervention is particularly relevant in the years after the Cold War, with humanitarian intervention becoming more popular among western heads of state and institutions such as the International Criminal Court gaining prominence.

Firstly, a history of warfare and conflict between the groups. In the Balkans there are numerous instances across the previous centuries, most recently in WW2 and the Croat decision to classify Serbs as minorities in Croatia. Between Russia and Ukraine there is the issue of the Holmodor and the control of Ukraine by Moscow throughout the previous centuries — along with the belief held by many Russian traditionalists that Kiev is inseparable from modern Russia due to its role in establishing Russia.

Secondly, the issue of ethnic minorities and enclaves is raised by Posen. Throughout the history of the Balkans there has been a spread of ethnic groups across the states, with the exception of Slovenia. Small, isolated groups of minorities dotted around in seperatist territory led to increased tensions and distrust between the ethnic minority and the emerging state — along with the inevitable competition for security guarantees.

Posen discusses comparatively minor factors conscription in the previous state, criminal organisations and the proliferation of arms , but the more pressing factors constitute the bedrock of his argument. Interestingly, Posen identifies a factor that is less obvious than the others — the issue of foreign legitimacy. In the Yugoslav wars this manifested itself as elements of the Croat right wing considering German diplomatic support as leading toward inevitable western military support.

Serbs viewed this diplomatic support as reminiscent of Nazi agreements with Croatian fascists. Conversely, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia was almost absent of foreign intervention and the subsequent effect of this intervention, perceived or otherwise due to a lack of external involvement or political baggage in the region.

However, this can lead on to a minor factor — the issue of nuclear weapons. The argument is made by Posen that nationalist or aggressive manoeuvres by Russians in Ukraine may have been limited due to Ukraine retaining some of the nuclear weapons from the collapse of the Soviet Union. Outside intervention in the affairs concerning at least one nuclear power is, therefore, even more unlikely. Whilst nuclear weapons were not present in Yugoslavia, this absence may be seen as a motivating factor not only for outside intervention but the aggressive tactics carried out by communities across the collapsed state.

Technological and geographical variables are analysed by Posen in the article. The geographical proximity of the two states to Western Europe also contributes to the reluctance of both to act in an aggressive manner page The technological study is solely in regard to nuclear weapons capabilities disregarding conventional arms and how these supersede factors such as historical grievances, ethnic grouping and criminality in contributing to regional tensions and how they exacerbate the security dilemma.

Effectiveness, clarity, strength of argument and persuasiveness: Posen aims to ascertain the differences in ethnic conflict across regions. The article is, as one would expect from an MIT academic, extremely clear and expertly written.

It is concise, to the point and provides a fascinating insight into the more pressing security issues across Southern and Eastern Europe of the s. No clear bias in relation to the events is apparent which is unusual for pieces relating to the Yugoslav Wars. This approach would, however, not be sufficient in explaining the Yugoslav Wars as a whole, or the relationship between Russia and Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union mainly due to the role of liberal international organisations but it is more than reliable for these two examples.

The evidence and sourcing is of a high standard, avoiding sensationalist news reports and alarmist discourse. For an article first written in it is reliable, useful and interesting. Indeed, the subsequent Ukrainian abandonment of its nuclear weapons lends much credence to the realist approach to international security it is questionable as to whether Russia would have engaged in conflict with Ukraine if the latter had retained nuclear weapons, regardless of their condition or state of delivery methods and reading an account of relations at the time is fascinating.

Ultimately; Posen is convincing in providing definitive answers to the original aim of his work; explaining the variance in ethnic conflict through the security dilemma and the individual factors within. Whilst this omission can be attributed to Posen focusing on the actual ethnic violence and how it manifested in a region, as opposed to a global war between Serb, Croat and Bosniak, an insight into the diaspora communities would be useful particularly in regard to the historical grievances argument.

Posen, whilst identifying Yugoslavia as a nation exercising universal conscription, provides no insight into the dominance of Serbs holding senior positions within the JNA and the perception held by the Croat community that the JNA was a Serb Army. Finally, the role of weapons from the collapsed state, either through to successor governments or secessionist movements is one that I feel does not go into enough depth.

Whilst Ukraine did inherit nuclear weapons after the collapse of the USSR, it is a matter of some debate as to how much of a capability they inherited and how useful these would have been in a confrontation with Russia. Russia, despite losing vast amounts of power, had a great deal more nuclear infrastructure and inherited the vast majority of delivery methods thus making Ukrainian nuclear ability somewhat hollow. This would have made an interesting contrast to the situation in Yugoslavia, where the inherited weapons were nearly all serviceable and useful to the forces receiving them, but Posen does not make this argument.

Posen is correct in treating the nuclear arsenals of Ukraine and Russia as more important in contributing to the security dilemma than the other factors, but neglects to mention the considerable amount of immediately useful conventional weapons in the region. However, once the last weapon is gone, Russian nationalists may become much more assertive. In regard to the Yugoslav wars, it is a useful insight into the conflict occurring at the time of writing and is one of the first to discount the simplistic explanations of primordialism and historical inevitability.

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Security Dilemma and Ethnic Conflict

Reviews 1 During the Cold War, most international relations theorists and strategic studies analysts paid little attention to ethnic and other forms of communal conflict. Disregard for the importance of ethnic and nationality issues in world affairs, always misguided so far as the developing world was concerned, has been overtaken, in stunning fashion, by recent events from Abkhazia to Zaire. The essays in this volume advance our understanding of the causes of ethnic and communal conflict, the regional and international implications of such conflicts, and what the international community can do to minimize the potential for instability and violence. Jack Snyder writes on nationalism and the crisis of the post-Soviet state, Barry Posen on the security dilemma and ethnic conflict, Kathleen Newland on ethnic conflict and refugees, Jenonne Walker on international mediation of ethnic conflicts, and Robert Cooper and Mats Berdal on outside intervention in ethnic conflicts, Adam Roberts discusses the U. Michael E.

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The Security Dilemma and Ethnic Conflict

However, the risks and intensity of these conflicts have varied from region to region: Ukrainians and Russians are still getting along relatively well; Serbs and Slovenians had a short, sharp clash; Serbs, Croats, and Bosnian Muslims have waged open warfare; and Armenians and Azeris seem destined to fight a slow-motion attrition war. The claim that newly released, age-old antipathies account for this violence, fails to explain the considerable variance in observable intergroup relations. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves. This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. Preview Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF. Notes 1.

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