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Foreign Intervention in Ethnic Conflicts

Jonathan Paquin and Stephen M. Saideman


Comment on this article   The phenomenon of foreign intervention in ethnic conflicts has gained special attention in the field of international relations in the last 20 years. This can be explained by the fact that ethnic conflicts significantly increased following the end of the Cold War (although this has since declined) and produced a greater level of interstate violence than nonethnic conflicts ( Carment 1993 ) as exemplified by the war between Russia and Georgia in the summer of 2008. With ethnic conflicts surfacing in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, scholars were confronted with a lack of theoretical understanding of the interconnection between these conflicts and international relations ( Carment 1994 ). In particular, the conflicts in Yugoslavia and Rwanda sparked a greater interest in not just ethnic conflict, but the involvement of outsiders. Germany's role in the recognition of Slovenia and Croatia ( Crawford 1996 ) was seen by many as triggering the war in Bosnia. Both the onset of the Rwandan genocide and its impact on its neighbors, including multiple interventions in the Congo, raised many questions about the involvement of external actors in exacerbating or ending such conflicts ( Kuperman 2001 ). Consequently, scholars began to ask some critical questions related to foreign interventions in ethnic conflicts, such as: Why states take sides in ethnic ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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