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War or Peace?: Nationalism, Democracy, and American Foreign Policy in Post- Communist Europe

STEVEN L. BURG
Copyright Date: 1996
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 274
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qfx2f
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  • Book Info
    War or Peace?
    Book Description:

    For more than forty years, Western policymakers defined communism as the central threat to international peace and stability. They responded by confronting it with a counterbalancing threat of force, and pursuing a strategy of containment. With the collapse of communism, the challenge to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic community has changed. Soviet expansionism has been supplanted by powerful, internal forces arising out of the clash of competing ethnic nationalisms. This challenge, argues Steven L. Burg, cannot be met by force alone, or neutralized through a strategy of containment. It requires Western states to act decisively to influence the internal political development of the post- communist states themselves. Burg surveys the challenges that the ethnic diversity in Eastern Europe present to domestic stability, international peace, and American interests, and suggests policies and practices by which the United States and its allies might contribute to the consolidation of peace in the region. He provides a concise explanation and analysis of the issues, evaluates the usefulness of scholarly approaches to the resolution of ethnic conflicts, and offers a strategy of what he calls preventive engagement by which policymakers may prevent conflicts such as the one that destroyed the former Yugoslavia. War or Peace? offers clear and direct recommendations to guide both interested citizens and national policymakers as they attempt to grapple with the complexities of ethnic and nationalist politics in Europe.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-2503-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables and Maps
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. FOREWORD
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Richard C. Leone

    The swift spring thew that followed the unexpected collapse of the Soviet empire opened half of Europe to vast new possibilities. For many nations and peoples, this meant a leap, with mixed success so far, toward democracy and capitalism. For others, the new freedom opened a Pandora’s box of age-old attitudes, aspirations, and animosities. Both responses demonstrate the extent to which communism failed to fulfill its promise of developing “new men.” Instead, it did little more than lock in place ancient habits of mind. And while the risk of global destruction is surely diminished, we have scarcely entered an era...

  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-10)

    For more than forty years, Western policymakers defined the revolutionary, expansionist ideology and activities of world communism as the central threat to international peace and stability. They met that threat by confronting it with a counterbalancing threat of force and pursuing a strategy of containment. With the collapse of communism, the nature of the threat to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic community has changed. The external threat of Soviet expansionism has been supplanted by a powerful, internal threat arising out of the clash of competing ethnic nationalisms. This challenge cannot be met by the threat of force alone or...

  6. CHAPTER 1 Nationalism, Democracy, and International Peace in Post-Communist Europe
    (pp. 11-42)

    The democratization of the post-communist states presents policymakers with a vexing dilemma: The collapse of authoritarianism has unleashed forces that make the establishment of liberal democracies difficult. The suppression of these forces, however, would entail actions that might make the establishment of liberal democracies impossible. Some accommodation of the national aspirations of local populations is essential if violent conflict is to be avoided and the legitimacy of new democratic institutions is to be strengthened. It will also be necessary if these populations are to endure the material sacrifices associated with the transition to democracy. There is, moreover, a moral virtue...

  7. CHAPTER 2 Ethnic Conflict and the Euro-Atlantic Community: The Yugoslav Crisis
    (pp. 43-128)

    The reemergence of national conflicts in Eastern Europe and the successor states of the former Soviet Union presents the United States and its allies with strong challenges to international peace. The immediate consequences and longer-term implications of such conflicts require European, Euro-Atlantic, and international organizations to adapt to the more difficult demands of maintaining peace under conditions of economic and political transformation and mobilized ethnic identities.¹ Nationalist demands to redefine political relationships within existing states, establish new states, or redefine boundaries between existing states defy the traditional distinction between internal and external conflicts. They involve many dimensions of human interaction...

  8. CHAPTER 3 From Nationalism to Democratization
    (pp. 129-178)

    The ethnic crisis in the post-communist states reflects the inherent conflict between nationalist definitions of the state and the establishment of a civil order that protects diverse populations. The ethnic heterogeneity of the East European states, as well as the numerous actual and potential irredentist issues among them, means that the consolidation of democracy will require the accommodation of internal ethnic diversity. Two distinct strategies have characterized attempts to manage ethnic diversity in democratic systems: pluralistic integration and organizational isolation of ethnic communities, or consociationalism. Although consociational strategies are favored in much of the literature on ethnic politics, I argue...

  9. CHAPTER 4 Conclusion: Toward an American Strategy for Peace
    (pp. 179-226)

    As the yugoslav crisis has so clearly demonstrated, a stable framework for international peace in the post-Cold War era must include an institutionalized capacity to deal with the challenges to both domestic and international stability arising out of mobilized ethnic identities. The domestic challenges to post-communist states can be met through efforts to support democratization. The challenges to international stability can be met by the development of clearer and more effective multilateral mechanisms for responding to potential crises before they happen and for expanding peaceful international involvement in the resolution of conflicts as they escalate.

    The international response to escalating...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 227-248)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 249-258)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 259-259)