ACP565 Moser Spring2009Paper 2 Page|
Reconciling Ethnic Violence to Stabilize New Democracies
After six years of American occupation and countless more of sectarian violence in Iraq,many around the world have begun to doubt the viability of ethnically divided states. In fact,democratization scholars such as Snyder and Wilkinson believe that democracy can
ethnic conflict. Though the prospects of establishing and maintaining functioning democracies inethnically divided societies around the world may look grim, I argue that democracy can indeed be successful regardless of the depth of ethnic cleavages by harvesting a united national identityto surpass what Snyder and Wilkinson term elite-manipulated nationalism. Additionally, assuggested by Horowitz¶s centripetalist views and Moser¶s research, maximizing the autonomyand integration of ethnic minorities in conjunction with increasing the political interdependenceof elites on minorities, we can avoid institutionalizing ethnic cleavages and help youngdemocracies to grow into the multicultural identities that will induce future coexistence.
espite ethnocentric tendencies, it is unlikely that elites in every ethnically divided polityare genuinely racists or separatists, or even zealous nationalists. Because of time and politics,certain ethnicities are pitted against each other. While this is difficult to reverse, it is not aninnate and eternal mortal combat as the µancient hatreds¶ theory suggests. Rather, ethnic identityis a tool, and a choice, and while there are some identities one can not choose, we are all dealt ahand from which we can play any, or many cards at a given time. Snyder and Wilkinson bothexpound on the idea that elites use these ethnic identities as well as nationalism to direct electoraloutcomes. According to Wilkinson ³«ethnic riots, far from being relatively spontaneouseruptions of anger, are often planned by politicians for a clear electoral purpose.´ (p.1). Thisµelite persuasion¶ view shows how democratization may promote ethnic violence if elites are