Ethnic Conflict In The 20th Century

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While the 20th century was a period that saw relatively little interstate conflict in comparison to the past, the void was filled with several kinds of domestic conflicts, especially within colonial territories. It was an era of rapid social and political change that saw the forces of development, modernization, and independence all acting in concert to create insurrectionary movements against government across the globe in Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, among others. The period from 1914 to 1989 is often referred to as the “short 20th century” and saw the emergence of a global rebellion against liberalism. What began as anti-colonial insurrections in the aftermath of World War I and World War II slowly morphed into …show more content…
Many domestic conflicts emerged after the breakdown of state authority, leading to the security dilemma in much the same way that it exists in the international system. Because the people are not able to depend on the state for their security, they organize along ethnic lines and engage in self-help behaviors to enhance their own security. This creates oppositional relationships across society, increasing the potential for costly misperceptions and miscalculations, especially when uncertainty surround everybody’s actions and intentions. Ethnic conflict in Serbia was artificially manufactured and came about due to certain imperceptions. Starting during the 1960s, a wide coalition of Serbian elites joined together to provoke conflict along ethnic lines in hopes of preserving their own power in the face of potential economic and political reforms. By creating a domestic political environment where ethnicity was the only politically relevant identity and the people were divided, the elites put themselves in a better position to retain their power. When reformists challenged the status quo, Serbian conservative elites’ efforts to provoke ethnic divisions ended up in widespread humanitarian atrocities across Yugoslavia committed against Serbians, Croatians, and Bosnians alike, groups that all possessed ancient ethnic hatreds against one another. For example, Slobodan Milosevic’s exploited …show more content…
Some scholars believe that once ethnic groups are mobilized for war, the war cannot end until the populations are separated into defensible, mostly homogenous regions. International intervention forces can only create peace for as long as they are present; lasting peace requires the removal of the security dilemma, which is best achieved through separation of each ethnic group into its own defensible territory, preferably along terrain such as rivers and mountains, helping to restoring the balance of relative capabilities. Partition without ethnic separation can result in increased conflict as each side will pursue any available opportunity to attack and consolidate their security. Alternative solutions include forcibly suppressing oppositional groups or reconstructing ethnic identities, the former being incompatible with international norms and the latter being extremely difficult to carry

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