War, Peace, and the State of the State Author(s): K. J.

Holsti Reviewed work(s): Source: International Political Science Review / Revue internationale de science politique, Vol. 16, No. 4, Dangers of Our Time. Les dangers de notre temps (Oct., 1995), pp. 319-339 Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1601353 . Accessed: 29/04/2012 10:41
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Political ScienceReview (1995), Vol. 16, No. 4, 319-339 International

War, Peace, and the State of the State

ABSTRACT. Against the tenets of realist literature, the article argues that the main source of war in the last half-century is internally-derived, and resides in the nature of post-1945 states. Regional and temporal variations in the topography of war make suspect realist claims of state similarity and systemic explanations of war. It is not the security dilemma nor the international system, but the composition of state legitimacy and the characteristic of weak, strong, and failed states which explain war today. Regions populated by strong states, defined in terms of legitimacy, are arenas of peace, and regions of weak and failed states are a prime location of war.

War, according to the realist literature in international relations, is a "dismaying" (Waltz, 1979: 66), recurrent, and necessary outcome of the operations of anarchical state systems. Hobbes and Rousseau were among the first to outline the external consequences of sovereign statehood, namely, that the means by which states seek to enhance their security in a self-help system necessarily cause insecurity and ultimately war among their neighbors. Threats to the state are thus externallyderived. I argue that the main source of war in the last half-century resides not in the anarchical character of the state system, but rather in the nature of post-1945 states. The more general claim is that regions populated by strong states, defined in terms of legitimacy, are a necessary condition for peace, and that regions of weak and failed states are a prime location of war. The theoretical platform for this exercise is Kenneth Waltz's claim that states are similar in the tasks and functions they perform. He acknowledges that they have different capacities to perform them, but otherwise they are comparable. All states, for example, seek survival and all the things that go into the broad concept of the population's "welfare," namely education, employment, trade, commerce, and the like. The essay also relates to Karl Deutsch's work (1957) on national and international integration. It is because the active units of international politics are functionally similar that the outcomes of their interactions fall within predictable patterns and recurrence.
0192-5121 95/04 319-21 ? 1995 International Political Science Association

His problematic was to identify the necessary and sufficient conditions for integration. and events repeat themselves endlessly. as does Waltz. The quality of international life is always the same. Waltz follows Hobbes's and Rousseau's argument that the price for creating the state to obtain its domestic advantages is external insecurity and war. "force"the units to behave in certain ways. that a theory of international politics is a theory only of the great powers. To him. then the repetitious outcomes of wars and balances of power should be observed whenever sovereign states interact. between the units of an international system. regardless of historical era. War was the problem that animated Karl Deutsch's life-long work on integration. and thus frequently resort to arms. "The texture of international politics. and the collapse of community were not part of his research agenda. fragmentation. his work reflected the Eurocentric and teleological thrust of integration theory in the 1950s and 1960s. The Rousseauistic structural explanation of war stands or falls on the claim of similarity of and among units. [Events] are marked .Peace. But if there are significant variations in the patterns of war and other outcomes between different regions and across time. war today is rooted in the lack. and will remain so as long as the anarchical principle underlies the international system." writes Waltz (p. the medium for the peaceful conditionwas integrationbetween individuals.66). patterns recur. If the realist theoretical analysis is valid-patterns "dismayingly"repeating themselves-we would expect to see war occurring with somewhat similar frequency regardless of locale and historical context. Most theorists agree that we live in an essentially anarchic system. Yet. communities. "remains highly constant. then both the claim for state similarity and for a systemic explanation of war become suspect. He similarly accepts Rousseau's argument that whatever the differing characteristics of individual states. as in a market.and the State of the State Whatever the unique properties of individual states of their policy-makers. and conflict. Opposition to integration. For if the entire system is characterized by anarchy." While Deutsch agreed that integration is neither a linear process nor inevitable. or disintegration of.. regardless of their capabilities.320 War. It is not legitimate to argue. and that there are important great powers arefunctionally different distinctions. To argue otherwise implies that the from other states. The Topography of War Since 1945 Hobbes and Rousseau characterized the relations between European states as a . a persistence that one must expect so long as none of the competing units is able to convert the anarchic international realm into a hierarchic one. Lurking behind the work was the assumption that integration is progressive because true communities incorporate conflict-resolvinghabits and mechanisms that preclude armed conflict. other than capabilities. and nations. It was because of his normative concern with war that he re-directed research to the conditions of peace. One of the key indicators of international integration is the absence of plans for or deployments of military capabilities toward partners in a "pluralisticsecurity community.. the characteristics of the system." The most dismaying recurrence of an anarchical system is war. insecurity. community within states. they are commonly in a relation of mistrust. Neither Rousseau nor Waltz accepts the proposition that unit level differences bring different systemic outcomes. by dismaying persistence. But the claims that all units are functionally similar and that the outcomes of interaction are drearily repetitive are certainly open to critical inquiry. The essential quality of international politics in an anarchical system is therefore the same.

state/ intervention Internal resistance/ secession Internal ideological Total Of which internal Percent internal 21 27 14 62 41 66% 17 12 71% . ArmedConflictsby Typeand Region. Type Africa Central America/ Caribbean 6 1 10 17 11 65% Eastern Europe/ Balkans 2 2 1 5 3 60% Western Europe 0 1 1 2 2 100% South America 1 0 10 11 10 91% Former USSR 1 6 3 10 9 90% Middle Sou As East 12 9 9 30 18 60% 5 8 4 State v. 1945-1995.TABLE 1.

as Morgenthau put it later. There has been no interstate war in Western Europe since 1945. the risk of involvement in international war or armed intervention for a typical state-assuming an average of 125 states in the period-declined to slightly less than one in one hundred. There has been no international war (i. 1982).e. engaging in war." This did not mean that war was ubiquitous in every neighborhood. Clearly something is not happening in these areas that. is organized of internationally-recognized . the incidence of war in Hobbes's and Rousseau's Europe was sufficient to justify their pessimism. 1987) are unreliable because no criteria for inclusion are indicated. When we adjust for the larger number of states in the system. even greater variations-indeed anomalies-appear. the Dominican Republic 1965. Or. 1991). Even allowing for the possibility that there could be "islands of peace. are just some of the examples. 1991. the probabilityof any state's going to war in a given year was one in forty..Peace. none in North America since 1913-1915 (American armed intervention in Mexico). When we break down locales of war. wars of secession. but that states always had to be on guard. Nietschmann (1987: 7) suggests an even higher figure: 72 percent of all wars were of the national disintegrative rather than the classical state-state variety. In the 1648-1713 period. The data reported here come from a variety of standard sources. Since so many quantitative studies of war use different data and different criteria for inclusion. and more armed conflicts. for example. The figures also show that more than two-thirds of all armed combat in the world since 1945 has taken the form of civil wars.5 years. or one war starting on average every 2. These are internal wars. in South America only the Falklands War-and that was against an extra-regional power-since the Peru-Ecuador conflict of 1941. I identified 119 wars among Europe's small number of states between 1648 and 1945. the Middle East. Although numbers differ according to various studies. not external. the dimensions of the problem are approximately the same. Nor has the situation improved radically in other locales since 1945. should be happening. states are always preparing for war. For the 50 years since 1945. and no war between states in South America since 1941. Armed contests have been ubiquitous in Africa. Tables 1 and 2 provide some data on the location and types of war since 1945. In previous work (Holsti. peace conferences. or they are methodologically reliable but somewhat dated (Small and Singer. South Asia. only30 wereclassicalarmed involving war That an incidence of interstate armies states. I claim no precision. Table 1 lists a total of 187 internal and interstate wars/interventions between 1945 and 1995.322 War. wars of state against nation." or short eras of relaxed tension. Other recent studies (Arnold. moreover. Hungary 1956. Table 1 shows the locales of war since 1945. Little wonder that a theorist seeking an explanation would be impressed by the dreary repetitiveness of conflicts. the incidence of war varies substantially between different historical periods. Nietschmann. Indeed. or overcoming the effects of the last war. however. The supposedly recurrent outcome of anarchy changes significantly over time. The case is even stronger when we consider that many of the interstate wars and large armed interventions originated as civil disturbances and wars. of twoor more combats the 187 wars listed in Table 1. two or more armies in armed combat for the purpose of inflicting military defeat and extracting terms of victory) or massive armed intervention in Western Europe and North America. and major armed uprisings to oust governments. crises. according to realist predictions. Both figures are consistent with the argument of this article: most threats to post-1945 states have been internal. and Southeast Asia. and India-Pakistan 1971.and the State of the State "state of war. Wars were a permanent feature of the European landscape.

and war incidence of both types has varied widely according to locale. Internal wars have a different profile.55 . then. Today. India. or the former Soviet Union despite the fact that in each of these regions there are predominant states (Brazil. Southeast Asia. Duplication of past European patterns would include hegemonyseeking.KJ. Western Europe and North America are obvious anomalies.49 . However. We would expect more wars where there are more states.1945-1995.30 . but when we normalize for the number of states in the system. Interventions . Southeast Asia.00 . South America ranks fourth highest. balances of power. Formal alliances among Third World and post-Communist states are conspicuous by their rarity.33 . a remarkable decline.07 .83 .36 323 Internal Wars . there is none in South America. and arms races. or South Asia.25 . There is none today in South America (Selcher.g. and Russia). since we have not seen . South Asia. It is absent in subSaharan Africa. considerably more war originating from civil disturbances. The argument is unconvincing that the cold war balance of power makes regional balances unnecessary. Nigeria. However we interpret such figures. of States 43 20 8 18 12 15 18 7 11 6 Interstate. it has been between regional states and a super-power (e.11 . War since 1945 has been highly concentrated in the Middle East. they have been prominent only in the Middle East.71 .95 . Other artifacts of a system of anarchy do not fare better in post-1945 international politics. while sub-Saharan Africa and Central America/Caribbean are well below the average. There has been considerably less interstate war. Region Africa Central America/ Caribbean Eastern Europe/ Balkans Western Europe South America Former USSR Middle East South Asia Southeast Asia East Asia Average No. Nor do we find Waltz's ubiquitous balances of power.71 1. and Southeast Asia.00 1. South America is an anomaly in terms of international war.08 . but according to realist predictions. but comes closer to the profile of other Third World areas when it comes to domestic armed strife.. If there has been balancing. alliances.8 years-higher than in the seventeenth century. Hegemony-seeking has been prominent only in the Middle East and arguably in South Asia. South America. South Asia.73 .38 . does not duplicate European patterns from 1648 to 1945. the United States and Pakistan).86 once every 1. Table 2 normalizes the frequency of wars according to the number of states in a region. all accoutrements of European diplomatic history and realist analysis. 1990: 95). Indonesia. normalized figures should be similar across regions. The overall pattern of war since 1945. the figures in Table 2 show dramatic differences between regions.64 . Africa.67 . Africa. and Southeast Asia. HOLSTI TABLE 2.60 1.83 . ArmedConflicts per State by Region.

However. The state of nature in contract .. de Silva and May. 1990.. complicated sets of external threats and resulting balancing behavior.and the State of the State balancing behavior emerge in those regions since 1989. It would be equally inappropriate to exclude considerations of external threats in the lives of many postCommunist or Third World states. which "organizes" international politics. Heraclides. These findings suggest that if we wish to understand the etiology of armed conflict in the post-Communist states and the Third World. 1989: ch. obligation. Again.Peace. has been rare in Africa (Herbst. and not at the external environment. perhaps we should look at the domestic structures and politics of states. The whole process of the internationalization of domestic conflict needs more study (cf. and national fragmentation. Perhaps the essential characteristic of many post-Communist and Third World states is domestic anarchy. This is not to deny that in some areas there are genuine security dilemmas. does not find empirical corroboration in many Third World neighborhoods (for evidence. the realists' famed "security dilemma. in other words. But for the historical foundations of post-1945 war we must turn to the birth of states. and the Balkans.. the Horn of Africa. and it has generally neglected the domestic sources of conflict in these areas. 1989). are primarily domestic rather than external..324 War. it is the case that the origins of conflict since 1945 have derived more frequently from weak statehood.. the border dispute. Black Africa. Security threats. It is evident that the recent national and international history of Black Africa challenges more than it supports some of the major postulates of international relations theory. that is. or where they exist more in name than in fact. If we want to understand the dismaying regularity of war since 1945. One should avoid going from one analytical fallacy-extending realism to the study of conflict in the Third World-to another. 1992). and the principle of anarchy. Political Theory and the Composition of States European political theory of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries addressed the problem of political authority. see McKinlay. an image of international accord and civility and internal disorder and violence would be more accurate . where states as Waltz and Deutsch conceive them do not yet exist. arms races and even drives for hegemony. And perhaps most fundamentally. particularly those in the Middle East. only in the Middle East do we see some duplication of pre-1945 patterns of European behavior. the residues of colonialism. Many domestically originating conflicts have become internationalized through complicated networks of ties between dissident groups and external patrons and protectors. construction of deterrents. approaches deriving from the European experience and its theoretical rendering in realism and neorealism may be misplaced and/or irrelevant (Holsti. Most significantly. which underlies the internal life of states. the theoretical assumption of unit similarity may be inappropriate. and the state without questioning the bases of the community upon which the state rests. 1991)." leading to cycles of competitive arming. leading Robert Jackson and Carl Rosberg (1982: 21) to argue that in . Even that common trait of European politics. might be amended or reversed. 8). Perhaps Waltz's clear distinction between the principle of hierarchy. Much of the literature on conflict in the Third World has until recently been written from a cold war or geopolitical perspective.

Smith. Community was based on contiguity. see Maugue." or territorial communities rather than over "associational" (Buckheit. for example. In those philosophers' Europe. only about three percent of the population could speak standard Italian. the concept of nation carried no ethnic meaning. Hobbes speaks of the commonwealth and Locke of the nation. 1989: 352-353). based on research into immigration records prior to World War I. 1990: 60. conquests. reflecting the Eighteenth. When Italy was unified in the mid-nineteenth century.rendered as customs and habits but not ethnicity. Only in Rousseau does community as a social unit begin to appear." "Nationhood" defined in terms of . Alsatians. a nation referred to any "people" who had gained political sovereignty (Gazdag. needs and forms. and only about 12 percent spoke it properly. and Flemings as well as a variety of dukedoms and other traditional political units. and regions. The French "citizen" constructed during the Revolution had nothing to do with some class or ethnic segment of the community. France. Occitanians. European sovereigns. and a few peaceful political amalgamations of previously independent or autonomous units. a Sicilian's speech was incomprehensible to a Milanese. now we must make Italians" expressed well the sequence of state formation in nineteenthcentury Europe: the state came before the nation. The focus is on sources.KJ. They are based on some sort of community. Italian unification had everything to do with liberalism and little to do with the unity of some natural "people. Italian parliamentarian Massimo d'Azeglio's quip. Catalans. marriages. has shown that most European migrants to the United States at the turn of the century had no sense of being Italian.and most nineteenth-century political philosophies of the times. this time in the guise of maurs. culture. as suggested. or Slovene." "historic. During their times. HOLSTI 325 theory was a metaphor to explain the need for governance (particularly during times of civil disturbance) among atomistic individuals. In some places. At the time of the French Revolution. or Sweden. the Loire Valley. but the states that result from the social contract are particular. But one searches in vain in Hobbes or Locke to find exactly who would make the contract among themselves or with a Leviathan. ruled over "civic. not on ethnicity. but these are assumed rather than defined. and the north) but was fashioned later-largely by force of arms and the extension of bureaucratic controls-to incorporate the politically unorganized nations of Bretons. 1978: 4) or "natural" communities (nations based on consanguinity and/or language and religion). there was an ethnic core (cf. and to list the costs it would help avoid. grew originally around areas of the old Frankish kingdom (Paris. one-half of France's citizens spoke no French. Most of the population in the north and south of the country could not speak the language at all (Hobsbawm. Secessionist and unification movements. but the authors do not outline its entrance requirements or limits. the community over which there was governance was a territorial contrivance created through wars. on the language of the Revolutionary regime. Ukrainian. such as those in the American colonies. to outline the benefits it would provide. 1979: 46-48). Greek independence in the 1820s was fought for primarily in the name of religious freedom and local political autonomy rather than ethnic identity. Their identities were defined in terms of river valleys. Basques. "We have made Italy. England. Corsicans. villages. while. based their claims on natural law. Walker Connor (1990). The state of nature is universal. or some other group attribute. Croat. The concepts of patriotism and citizenship were inconsistent with divided loyalties or with special "rights" implied in the modern concept of ethnic minorities or any other special subgroups within the state. such as France. much less Yugoslav. 1992: 13).

or League of Nations' guarantees.. and/or religion. Hobsbawm. This change in the basis of state legitimacy was also reflected in the victorious Allies' recognition policies. These emphasize differences-us and themrather than the uniformity. They were to become a source of conflict and war throughout the 1920s. language. language. a new era of peace would emerge. and new "minorities" must have their own rights protected through constitutions. however. and ethnicity-consanguinity-and economic base did not arise in Europe until the late nineteenth century-with Belgium a partial exception. Three criteria were operative in Paris during 1919: the "peoples" must have expressed a desire for sovereign independence."Those "peoples"were defined in terms of ethnicity. The conceptual foundations of state legitimacy changed substantially between the late nineteenth century and the end of World War I.It cannot admit them to an equality with the ruling . Russian. or plebiscites. This change was most vividly reflected in the 1919 peace settlement. Boundaryconfigurations simply could not fit the melange of population distributions. that expression should have been by democratic means.g. and bonds that are implied in the concept of "patriot"or "citizen." That formal divisions of populations according to ethnic. while WoodrowWilson's ethnically-based understanding of self-determination replaced traditional civic concepts of the state. be applied with precision. of course. State territory was made to fit around "natural"community. treaties. Writing in 1907. 102). 1990: 79. as well as a pretext for Hitler's serial aggressions of the 1930s.326 War. and ethnicity (consanguinity). most analysts expected that once national aspirations in the former multinational empires had been met. When Wilson proclaimed that "no people must be forced under a sovereignty under which it does not wish to live" (quoted in Buckheit..Peace. culture. or ethnicity. by the Hungarians) continued to emphasize the restoration of historicrights rather than the unique distinctiveness of language. Lord Acton noted that.and the State of the State its collateral attributes of history. Wilson's ethnically-based concept of self-determination could not.. Even though Wilson did not intend to apply the principle of self-determination to the victorious powers. Inis Claude (1955: 13) estimates that even with the "scientific" work of the Paris Peace Conference-the attempt to create states on the basis of "natural" communities-25 to 30 million Europeans remained outside those "natural"communities as they were fashioned into new states. he was stating that all the turmoil of European politics caused by nationalist agitation in the decades prior to the Great War could only be resolved by sovereign statehood for "peoples. culture. Even then. once based on history and territory (contiguity) now became based on culture. and Austro-Hungarian empires start to be based upon the cultural and language attributes of ethnic communities (cf. some claims (e. The state's exclusiveness. 1978: 62). The greatest adversary of the rights of nationality is the modern theory of nationality. language. similarities. it reduces practically to a subject condition all other nationalities that may be within the boundary. and religious attributes can help foster tensions between them was already recognized in the early twentieth century. The 1919 peace also helped to bring into political vocabulary and policy the concepts of majority and minority. language. institutions of parliamentary government. Only then did claims for sovereign statehood in the multi-national Ottoman. through constitutions. By making the State and the nation commensurate with each other in theory.

and in the latter the nation (as defined and even created by elites) helped create the state. to the degree of humanity and civilization in that dominant body which claims all the rights of the community. the inferior races are exterminated. The colonial units usually incorporated all sorts of ethnicities. If we are to gain an understanding of the etiology of war in the post-Communist and Third arena of armed conflict that is largely ignored in Waltz's and Worlds-that Deutsch's analyses-we should start by looking at the birth of states rather than at the principle of anarchy that underlies the relations between them. therefore. If Europe's post-1918 states were national communities upgraded to states. because the State would then cease to be national. pre-existing "natural" communities simply made a claim for a higher status. There has been no similar explosion of states in the history of the Westphalian system. for sovereign statehood (Smith. or St." Many derive their legitimacy. or population characteristics of the territories being claimed or bartered. most post-1945 states remain "nationsto-be. ignorant of the topographical. Paris. based neither on civic nor "natural" foundations. We are now seeing the results. had little to do with historic or "natural" units. Two hybrid states. Sweden. the state molded the modern territorial nation. Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were the creations of diplomats. Berlin. today. Petersburg drawing straight lines on maps. This is exactly the problem faced by many contemporary post-socialist and Third World states. not the results of long historical processes or of the upgrading of some "natural" community to sovereign statehood. and the Baltic and Balkan states). consanguinity. or put in a condition of dependence (Acton. HOLSTI nation which constitutes the State.KJ. Hungary. The standard depiction of their territorial origins is that of a bureaucrat or diplomat in London. but perhaps less relevant in the world of Western Europe with which Acton was familiar than to many of the post1945 states. this was a prescient observation. . In 1919. as we know. In the former. State-creation after 1945 At the first meeting of the new United Nations General Assembly in 1945.. or outlawed. Spain. it has more than 180 members. Europe's states thus came to be based on two fundamentally different foundations of legitimacy: historic-civic (e. that is. 1983: 125). and Using the two traditional European criteria of state legitimacy-"civic" "natural"-it is clear most of the post-1945 states met neither at the time they achieved independence. and/or religion. They were fictions that not even seventy years of history or the iron rule of communist regimes could transform into some degree of civic or "natural" community.g. religions. 42 governments sent delegates. also emerged from World War I: Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. 327 As we will see. and Denmark) and "natural" (Finland. According. language. natural. France. nations. The new states were mostly the successors of colonial entities which. which would be a contradiction of the principle of its existence. 1907: 192-193). "from the circumstances of their origins in deliberate acts of creation-by aliens for alien purposes" (Smith. Their claims for statehood were based primarily upon a or anti-Soviet-rather than on the positive achievements of negative-anti-colonial a historical community and its citizenship or on the "natural" bonds formed through history. or reduced to servitude. 1986: 240-244).

. clans." Indeed. ethnicities. thus leaving the successor political units with highly fragmented systems of social control. According to Migdal (1988: 141). international status. determination European territorial colonies. considered far too extravagant building a colonial state strong enough to either bypass indigenous forces altogether or absorb them into a single system of rules. "British imperial officials . lineages. Thus the particularcolonial territorywas the necessaryframework in of all united Nationalists. slaves. and commercial patterns into a single administrative zone. Unlike Europe's centralizing monarchies of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. and according to Worsley (1964).. When leaders of national liberation movements spoke of "self-determination"if they used that term at all-they hardly did so in the name of a "people. sharedconditionof oppression for . many of which had nothing at all to do with "natural" communities or ancient states. much less ideas of individual or group rights. This required racist ideologies (except in some cases among French colonialists). they had to rely on the territorial creations and concoctions of the colonialists to define their hopedfor communities."because no such "people"-meaning a "natural" community-existed.Peace. The colonial powers also shifted populations indiscriminately. tribes. and pastorals who wandered freely.and the State of the State languages. There were. caudillos. By the 1950s it had become the standard wisdom in "national (a misuse of the term) liberation" idealogy and in United Nations rhetoric. the gulf between the territorially-based postcolonial state and the plethora of its constituent nations. most colonial regimes explicitly sought to avoid building the foundations of statehood. Quite the opposite: their task was to exploit resources through forced or cheap labor. These hardly constitute solid foundations for modern statehood. for example). communities. congeries of communal-religious groups. or they tore apart previously integrated societies into separate units (Iraq and Kuwait.. and alien rule was the essentialcause of revolt. and great power rivalry-bore no relationship whatsoever to the creation of "states. Lacking "natural"communities or a national history of uniqueness which might legitimate their claims to statehood. and the like). anticolonial nationalism foundinconvenient the notionthat culturalaffiniA ties were a necessarybasis for exercising[the right of self-determination].. The problem was that in most cases the country remained a dream rather than becoming a reality. In CrawfordYoung's words (1983: 200): . religious officials. a process of psychological exploitation or "infantilization.. Colonial authorities made no attempt to encourage a sense of national consciousness. strategic interests. Colonial jurisdictions created for multiple nonstate purposes were somehow to become carbon copies or prototypes of the European territorial states that had created them.328 War." described by Fanon (1961) as colonization of the personality. were nevertheless to be the basis of the new countries." Imperial officials ruled primarily through the co-option and subsidization of "strongmen" (clan leaders. The numerous and diverse purposes of colonization-commercial exploitation. religious proselytization.. rather. and Guyana are prominent examples. seeking support challengingforeign hegemony. The idea that the polyethnic/communal fictions called colonies could someday become independent states emerged only after World War I. Fiji. thus creating multi-ethnic societies where they had not existed before. and ethnic . Hawaii. of a giventerritory to sanctionthe independence inhabitants demand. Trinidad.embraced to whom selfthe colonialentity itself as the definingbasis for the "people" shouldapply.

according to Waltz. Trinidad and most other Caribbean countries have a pronounced and perhaps untypical record of political strength (Thorndike. In many areas of Africa. and that uses excessively predatory or suppressive means to bridge the gap between the state and its nation(s). They entered the international club. HOLSTI 329 groups cannot be easily reconciled in a democratic age. and capacity to enter into treaty relations). how can we speak of a division of labor when the army owns and runs the organized economy. and many European administrations partitioned older political structures between two or more colonies. it does not contain the "stuff' of a state despite having flags and an ambassador at the United Nations. The principle of hierarchy. is the hallmark of the state. Ukraine has an ancient history and a distinctive language. characterized by a division of labor. that Robert Jackson (1991) has called these entities "quasi-states" and that Anthony Smith (1986: 244) has claimed even more pessimistically that "the history-less are destiny-less. and forced integration or assimilation are not policies easily sustained under the eyes of a human rights. These comments suggest that some new states have mixed characteristics of anarchy and hierarchy. 1986: 43). meaning that their future remains problematic and that many will end up as cases on the United Nations agenda. Liberia. by virtue of their status as colonies rather than through their achievements as fledgling states. No matter how much "anarchic"behavior appears within states. can hardly be based on hierarchical (mutual dependence) relations." Some former quasi-states-Malaysia. and the "nation. and the Middle East. when its members systematically plunder national wealth for private profit. Somalia. Rwanda). when significant proportions of the population do not accept the legitimacy or the authority of the government (they deny the principle of hierarchy). states long pre-dated colonialism. many of the post-1945 states began as fictions. This suggests that we can expect them to be the . 1989). meaning a close concordance between the government apparatus. skills and organizations to administer a permanent population. Like Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. But other countries have disintegrated or collapsed (Lebanon. Asia. that tolerates highly armed political groups within its territory. Many received international recognition before they had met either the traditional criteria of statehood (a defined territory. or the 1919 criteria based on "natural"community. they are still organized on hierarchical principles. and the Maghreb countries (except Libya)-have arrived at a semblance of strong statehood. armed conquest. Neuberger. Any state that is unable to provide for its own defense. Waltz (1979: 114-116) considers this possibility but rejects it on theoretical grounds. as is the current case in Somalia. It is for this reason. These comments do not imply that states or quasi-states came into being only as a result of European imports. Marriages. and some of them had geographic delimitations roughly approximating colonial boundaries (cf. But in Myanmar.' Thus their essential but very difficult task is to create nationsand in some cases states-where none existed before. for example. in other words. or Rwanda. in part. Liberia. civil society.KJ.and sovereignty-inspired international community. and when most private commerce and exchange take place outside government purview and supervision? It is difficult to see how such countries are functionally similar to Denmark andJapan. If on a prolonged basis the state cannot provide a minimum level of public security." They owe their creation more to the international community than to their own artificial communities. But most post1945 states were congeries of pre-colonial units. for example. Most post-1945 states are somewhere in between. Egypt. We should not assume that there is some automatic or pre-destined trend to "real" statehood. Singapore.

the relevant anarchy does not lie primarily in the relations between states. Without a nation." One of the main tasks of the military in Third World countries in fact has been to "integrate"diverse communities into the state's post-colonial territorial domains. Anarchic states possessneithera widelyacceptedand coherentidea of the state nor a governing their powerstrongenoughto imposeunity populations. The poor fit between state and nation-the major legacy of colonialism-is the essential source of wars in the Third World and. 1991. It is the source of most wars in our age. From their perspective. 1986. and dozens of others. 1986: 106). The distinction-it is actually a dimension-does not lie in military strength."From the perspective of groups such as the southern Sudanese. ways of life.and the State of the State locale of armed combat. a state is fundamentallyweak. but in socio-political cohesion. The critical variable is the degree of a state's legitimacy-which is not . Contrary to the Rousseau-Waltz thesis. The attempts to create "nations"where none existed before drive secessionist and irredentist movements. or communal social units (cf. functional. Tamils.and not disputing largelya resultof otherstates recognizing existence(Buzan. Mizo.followed by strong states whose political life rests on a synthesis or integration of state. but is a common domestic characteristic. and nation(s). 1992). Ekwe-Ekwe'sstatement above summarizes the fundamental dilemma of many new states. Holsti. Then there are states with "mixed"characteristics. usually under the leadership of an ethnic core. But in attempting to build strength. and local forms of governance (Nietschmann. the task of the state's military is to appropriate their lands and resources and to destroy their identity. the security problematic for such states is primarilyinternal. Nagas. society.330 War. most of which take a violent form under the rubric of the inherent right of self-determination. Ayoob. as in some of the post-Communist regions. Strong. The main rationale for the armed forces of many Third World and post-socialist states is not the fear of external coercion or aggression.This is the foundationof the "insecurity dilemma" of most new states. but whose authority relies essentially upon the goodwill of various kinds of "strongmen"who are the de facto rule-makersand value allocators among a variety of ethnic. Barry Buzan has made the important distinction between weak and strong states. As Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe (1990: 155) has noted. 1991: 292-298). then. In it is encapsulated the conflict between the principle of a state's territorial integrity and the principle of self-determination (Neuberger. not external (Korany. Migdal. Karens. Ball. Omoros. then. 1988:31-39). and Failed States In the Third World. their them as such. 1988: 393. Characteristics Further up the ladder of cohesion are those states whose governments rule effectively because they have power. minorities become threatened or excluded from power. 1987: 7-14. class. among The fact that they exist as states at all is in the absenceof politicalconsensus. more recently. they are involved in "nation-building. in the residues of collapsed communism. but the fear of internal rebellion (cf. Odhiambo. the arenas of civil and secessionist wars. EkweEkwe. 1990: 154). many of which will become internationalized to some extent. of Weak.Peace. "It is a cruel irony that six million Africans have had to die in the past twenty years [since the early 1970s] in conflicts that center principally on whether or not one African nation or another should belong to states created strategically by European imperialism to exploit the people and their resources. clan.1989:17).

1992. The clash between fundamentalist and secular Muslim forces reflects such divisions. Buzan's dimension does not extend far enough. (For a discussion of the strategies."Twenty-eight states in Africa contain 72 groups "at risk. A nation has a common history. however.or repression. Weak States Numerous indicators of strength and weakness are found in different combinations. as Gurr and Scarrit (1989: 375) call them. the concept of minority is used by the state." Its strategies for dealing with "minorities"-and sometimes it is numerical minorities excluding majorities-range from expulsion (Uganda. appropriation. Sri Lanka) and even to ethnocide (Rwanda)." Those groups comprise almost 45 percent of the total population. we can all it an "ethnocracy. 5. Weak states contain various combinations of the following characteristics: 1. see Connor. Gurr and Scarrit (1989: 380) define minorities as "groups within larger politically-organized societies whose members share a distinctive collective identity based on cultural and ascriptive traits recognized by them and by the larger society" (for a somewhat different rendering.. however. The ends or purposes of governance are contested. is that one or more are commonly constructed as minorities rather than as equals. but a failed or collapsed one. and Coakley.3 percent. the proportion of the population "at risk" is 24. "differentially treated communal groups" within the state.) . What is more significant than the profusion of ethnic/communal groups. Myanmar) through forced integration-colonization (Sudan) to various forms of systematic exclusion (Myanmar. their interplay remains largely unexplored. Iraq. 1978: 388). The lines separating the state from civil society (which itself is poorly articulated and organized) are blurred and contested. 1979: ch. Gurr and Scarrit identify 99. As Nietschmann (1987: 4) points out. Following the conventional state-biased terminology. legitimizing certain ones and declaring others out of bounds" (Bienen. The opposite of a strong state is not a weak state.KJ. The distinction is important. The significant quality is the "social perception that [various] traits or combination of traits set the group apart" (Gurr and Scarrit. 18. and often a territorial and economic base. HOLSTI 331 to be confused with the popularity of a government. further exacerbating regime legitimacy and often resulting in state coercion and predation (cf. There are two or more nations or.. see Rothchild.countries that have such minorities "at risk. The government apparatus is "captured" or held by one group. see Maugue. not by the nation. 1989: 381). 1986. Hawthorn.3 percent and in Asia. 1989: 139). 3. for defining groups. for the European experience. If the state is based on the guaranteed structural predominance of a single group. which systematically excludes others. 2. ethnic and language ties. In Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. It does not see itself as a "minority"until it has been so defined in the context of an "outside" state or by some other group. It is often the state itself that categorizes groups and establishes "differentrules of the game . 1991: 31). and is usually the intellectual basis justifying various forms of exclusion.

They revolve primarily around technical issues and priorities rather than purposes and creeds. The state is incapable of delivering basic services or providing security and order for the population (India after partition. external states and/or societies (e. the Central African Republic under Bokassa. but it has no deep roots within civil society. Its inhabitants ". there is indeed a Hobbesian state of nature within the state. In these cases. The government relies primarily on violence. Jackson. Somalia under Barre. or are loyal to. the Kashmiris toward Pakistan during the 1950s. Most fundamentally. . In most modern industrial societies. Strong States Strong states contain characteristics opposite of those found in weak states. Iraq under Hussein. cf.. but low in infrastructural power.Peace. 1986: 553-556). the Philippines under Marcos. It can rule through coercion. etc. Politics are thus "de-passioned" (Brenner. the bureaucracy operates primarily through patron-client relations and systematic corruption. 5. However. often targeting nations/minorities or ideological groups (e.332 War. 6..and the State of the State 4. Following its leaders.g. it contains important elements. and can also serve as a basis of comparison with the slow and often violent process of state-formation in early modern Europe.). The government is "captured"by a family or clan for the primary purpose of personal enrichment (Nicaragua under the Somozas. 1987). and intimidation to maintain itself in power. governing groups use state capabilities and resources primarily for personal enrichment. there is a consensus that the purpose of governance is to help provide "the good life" for the individual through the means of the welfare state.g. etc. Zaire is a contemporary example. founded on a significant ideological consensus. 7. the Somalis in Kenya in the 1970s. the Turkish Cypriots. not exhaustive.. Thomas. 1992). some Shi'ia in Lebanon. do not readily regard their rulers as providing a legitimate authority. Myanmar) in order to gain support from other groups. In Michael Mann's (1986: 109-136. 1. for example. Haiti under the Duvaliers. Somalia. ruling authorities and/or state institutions enjoy a high level of legitimacy if not always popularity. Other characteristics are also relevant (cf. 1989) terms. as well as others. This type of regime may be more appropriately entitled a "kleptocracy. and Afghanistan today). coercion. Lebanon. 1991: 145)." Major communal or ideological groups or nations identify with. the weak state is high in despotic power. or significant segments of the population owe primary or exclusive loyalty to primordial groups (cf. 8. and state power does not rest on a secure foundation of popular belief in the right of rulers to rule" (O'Brien.. the state lacks legitimacy. This list is suggestive.). The ends and purposes of government have become settled. The division between the state and civil society is established-and mostly honored-through constitutional guarantees and less formal "rules of the game." Broadly speaking. Korany.

HOLSTI 333 Most social groups-ethnic. and communication-to proceed. There are one or more armed "mini-sovereigns" within the state. It is important to emphasize that these characteristics constitute ideal types of "weak. It is impossible for one group or social sector to hold power permanently. or by local warlords. has suggested categories of horizontal and vertical integration to measure the strength of statehood. equality. Rwanda in 1994 is an example. The clan chiefs of Somalia and the PLO in Lebanon prior to the Israeli invasion of 1982 are examples. 2. 6. in a parallel analysis. as has been done by the United Nations in Somalia. borders are recognized and considered legitimate both within and outside the country. These tasks must be performed by outsiders. They have effective rule-making capacity and are armed sufficiently to resist central authorities. can be placed in various positions on a continuum. no social group is systematically excluded from governance. Pomian (1991). the ends of which are the ideal types. 3. language. In Michael Mann's terms (1986: 109-136). or have achieved protection. agriculture. religious. 4.. but high on infrastructural power. Syria in Lebanon and the Soviet Union in Afghanistan are examples. most of the time. An external power wields effective authority or influence within the territory of the state and has the coercive capacity to resist pressures from the legal authorities.KJ. Sovereign statehood through secession no longer constitutes a major goal of constituent nations/minorities. 5. A state is incapable of providing minimal security for the ordinary tasks of life-commerce." "strong. Territorial frontiers have become legitimized and sanctified through numerous treaties and in multilateral instruments.g. the Helsinki Final Act) hold. Governors change through regularized procedures. 4. Communities war against each other and the central authorities do not have the capacity to end the slaughter. Most states. The roots of the state lie deeply within (and sometimes intrude upon) the civil society. Ideological. The mores of governance preclude personal enrichment through political activity. States . The spatial dimension of state jurisdiction is not contested domestically or externally. transportation. and no group faces systematic persecution or denial of civil liberties and political office. religious. 3. Vertical integration implies that a state is able to handle social conflicts and to allocate values without having to resort to violence. and norms against forceful revision (e. A state is horizontally integrated when its territorial base is essentially uncontested. Failed States States fail or collapse when one or more of the following characteristics prevail: 1. the modern industrial state is low on despotic power. and the like-have been successfully assimilated. or selfdetermination through autonomy. Major state organizations such as the military remain under effective civilian control. 2. or other special devices. and other groups operate freely and participate in the political process. federalism." and "failed" states.

1983: 96-101). and the South Pacific region concentrated on Australia and New Zealand. If the principle of anarchy-a constant property between states-has not changed. It follows that regions populated by large numbers of weak and/or failing states will be zones of war. and other indicators of a classic anarchic system (the Middle .Peace. in contrast to a Rousseauistic or Waltzian prediction. 1957). Peace in Western Europe or North America since 1945 cannot be explained. I suggest. because as the South American anomaly suggests. Western Europe is also more than a society of states (Bull. Kacowicz. solely by the cold war. state-group relations. has remained the organizing principle for the mutual relations of the North American and Europeanstates. balances of power. the absence of alliances. Yet. comes primarily from the fact that there has been peace within each of its constituent units. Finally. Peace between the Western industrial countries. North America since the 1920s. It takes more than periodic elections. Today. Western Europe since 1945. 1977) or a "mature anarchy" (Buzan. There may be frequent militarized crises. war has not recurred (cf. multiple parties. or balances of power. albeit an important part. some Quebecois in Canada. and ad hoc alliance-making. fit this pattern (cf. Waltz. Gaddis. but the incidence of internal wars will be relatively low. nuclear weapons. South America since the early twentieth century fits this profile. Anarchy. 1979. Mearsheimer. the theory of the "democratic peace. then the explanation of the significant variation in war incidence must lie in characteristics within states. Europe. as have most realists (cf. and civil liberties to make a strong state. 1989: 23. 1994). however. while those tending toward the "weak"or "failed" parts are sites of war. 1990). Few West European states completely approximate the "strong"state-the position of "gastarbeiter"and refugees in Germany. Deutsch. areas of high incidence of both internal and interstate armed conflicts. regions containing a predominance of strong states will be "pluralistic security communities." has gained many adherents and empirical support since first enunciated by Montesquieu and Kant. There are equally few pure "kleptocracies" or "ethnocracies. 1987. North America. and Basques in Spain suggest significant deviations. and the incidence of interstate wars negligible. Many of the characteristics listed in the "strong" state category duplicate democratic political structures and procedures. A competing theory. The democracy-peace theory is not sufficient. and to a lesser extent South America are anomalies." where both internal and interstate wars will be almost unthinkable. although being altered through the European Union. there have been zones of international peace where there has been little or no democracy (Holsti."The main point is that those states that are located toward the "strong"part of the continuum are sites of peace. a fundamental source of international conflict is anarchy within states.334 War. The Characterof States and War Strong states are a necessary condition for peace. and a consensus on the ends of governance. Democratic institutions are just part of the story. but the category also highlights relations between groups within the state. Buzan. American hegemony. and if systemic characteristics such as balances of power are not to be found in many regions of the world. but very significant ones. In the case of the Third and post-Communist worlds.and the State of the State over time also move along the continuum toward greater strength or weakness. the legitimacy of established boundaries. arms competition. while regions containing large numbers of states of medium strength will be no-war zones. forthcoming).

Yet. Should the UN attempt to take over the functional tasks of a state when the indigenous rulers cannot perform them? Should its purpose be to resuscitate quasi-states that have fallen into chaos and warlordism? Or should the international community develop new forms of trusteeship. of non-interference. In summary. a family. Policy Implications If the analysis has some plausibility. how can international organizations act when their chief mandate is to maintain international peace and security? The Somalian situation brings this question to the forefront. 1986. If all states were the same. and of territorial integrity which are the foundations of most contemporary international organizations are important protective devices for the small and weak against external predators. an ethnic or religious group. if we wish to look for the sources of war in these areas. one populated by strong states. UN membership. other than . the other by weak and failed states. and arms races just as much in Europe. North America. Their primary purpose is to provide the good life for one segment of the society. Yet this is not the case. we should jettison many of our traditional analytical devices whose origins lie in European history (Korany. and most of South America. simplifying assumptions have to be made.KJ. Despite flags. also suggests that the fundamental sources of armed conflict lie within rather than between states. but balances of power and hegemony-seeking except in the Middle East are rare. then we should not observe such significant differences in the outcomes of relationships. ethnicity. Holsti. since most of the threats to weak states are internal rather than external. for example. balances of power. then our conceptions of international organizations and of the constitutive principles of international practice need re-examination. or an organization such as the army . The characteristics of relations among the former differ significantly from those of the latter. The principles of sovereign equality. and comparative politics provides a better theoretical and methodological platform. as Waltz suggests. Imagine how many countries would have shared the fate of Kuwait in July 1990 were not the principles of sovereignty and independence among the most sacred of the society of states. HOLSTI 335 East is a significant exception). Many governments. and South America as anywhere else in the world. There should be wars. It is important to recall that the fundamental principles underlying organizations such as the United Nations are Westphalian. many Third World and post-Communist states are significantly-and perhaps functionallydifferent from those in Western Europe. 1992). Waltz's concepts of anarchy and hierarchy are ideal types. hegemons. and the demise of so few. combined with the recurrence of war. This can be shown empirically using many different indices. and other symbols of sovereignty. This is one reason why in the last three centuries we have witnessed the birth of so many states. whether a clan. then we really have two worlds of world politics. The study of the state. giving itself the very long range and costly task of creating a genuine civic society in a milieu where it is lacking? Can the international community create strong states? What sorts of norms should guide the efforts of international organizations in their peace-keeping and peace-making tasks? Should the purpose. North America. and for reasons of theoretical parsimony. In the Third and post-Communist worlds. The sanctity and mystique of statehood remain strong. But if my argument carries weight. we find the recurrence of war. do not have the purpose of providing "the good life" for their citizens.

according to the Organization of African Unity. a significant proportion of them become internationalized and foreign intrusion usually prolongs the contest of arms. There is a competition-often lethal-between the forces of "state-building" and the forces of fragmentation and autonomy."or for self-protection against predators. those nations and groups that have their own histories.jealously guard their concept of sovereignty and (colonial) territorial integrity. another 200 states added to the present 185. If. Where peace-keeping missions have been unable to help bring ethnic reconciliation-as is the case of Cyprus-should they continue to drain the coffers of the United Nations and contributing governments in the expectation that another twenty or thirty years of non-warfare may lead to an eventual restoration of the prewar situation? Or should the international community recognize that perhaps the most viable principle of legitimacy is statehood based on some "natural"community? If so. for to do so would invite an increased incidence of secessionist pressures and greater external scrutiny of their domestic politics. implicitly takes the anti-Deutsch position that it is better to separate peoples than to try to integrate them. 1993). and that act is to apply for all time. on the other hand. have their own agendas of "national integration. be to reconstitute states that are largely fictional or to promote the Wilsonian idea of "natural" self-determination? These are not abstract questions. Civil wars are the result. Until today. It is irreversible and non-amendcivility. very few governments in the Third World would be immune from the claims of their own constituent groups to upgrade their status to sovereign statehood. The economic fragility of many of these "states"would ultimately force them to find new modes of political integration. that governments in most Third World countries will sympathize with the Wilsonian conception of state legitimacy. If United Nations-sponsored peace arrangements. as Gurr and Scarrit suggest. would it not make more sense. then we could well expect claims from most of them for sovereign statehood."or anyone else who gets in the way. and localized systems of rule-making. But this challenges the liberal faith (and pre-twentieth-century practice in most multi-national empires) that a society can incorporate many groups on the basis of equality and The problem with the ethnic "solution. They often take up arms for their "rights. for example. let us say. Self-determination was achieved. the world has more than 250 minorities/nations at some degree of risk.Peace. in the act of "national liberation" against colonialism. identities. in particular." "nation-building. the international community has shown only mild sympathy for the forces of secession. but at least for the time being the passion for "identity. as much as it may be a cause for future strife. sanction all sorts of partitions and new states. We would then have. is that it can be taken to absurd lengths." of course. Their interpretation of the right of self-determination adheres strictly to a non-Wilsonian conception of the bases of state legitimacy. It is unlikely. including their own governments (cf. however.336 War.and the State of the State stopping the killing. all based on the doctrine of consanguine self-determination. . Many Third World and post-Communist countries live a precarious existence in their post-colonial guise. It is a concept that must be applied to a territory-the colonyand not to particular groups within it. Third World states. Governments." and a "place in the sun" would be satisfied. Gurr. 1992) and be non-viable economic entities."and eradication of "communists"and "terrorists. as in Bosnia. strategies for survival. to accept the fact of a Turkish Cypriot state? The peace being worked out for Bosnia." "international recognition. Most of them would have authoritarian rule (Etzioni.

" Paper delivered at the symposium. (1907). 257-283." It is in part because of this interpretation of state legitimacy that. Boulder: Westview Press. Karens. Ball. in the ThirdWorld.States. 43 (1): M. Eritrea.Madagascar. Note 1.. since 1945. "Discord and Collaboration in a New Europe. Arnold. Ayoob and C. (1992). "The Concept of National Security for Developing Countries. 1-28. This characterization is representative of many Third World and former Soviet republics. Chins.London: Macmillan. (1988). B. London: Macmillan. Rwanda. Perceptions Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Bull.Lesotho. "Nationality.E.KJ. Lord J. and Croatia). there were various forms of statehood. Singapore. Security Ayoob. Forces. London: Cassells. (M. HOLSTI 337 able. (1989). Mayotte. B. TheAnarchicalSociety. United Nations Resolution 1514. References and Other Acton.C. and all the rest. In the remainder. Slovenia. H. There can be no such thing as "self-determination" for the Kashmiris. Punjabis.. Sikhs. the Baltic states. The war between nations and the state continues unabated in many parts of the world. October 29-31. PA. in International Relations. "Discord and Collaboration: Europe's Security Future.Conflicts Bienen. the Maghreb countries (except Libya)." In TheHistoiy of Freedom Essays. H.S." clearly states the prevailing doctrine: " . Secession: ofSelf-Determination. (1978).L. Buzan. and Slovakia) and four successful violent secessions (Pakistan. This has been a major source of international instability for more than a century. but the record of war since 1945 indicates that the European territorial state has not been a successful prototype for many non-Western communities. (1989). (1991). Armed Brenner.). N. People. eds. despite the myriad of secessionist movements since 1945 (but excluding the collapse of the Soviet Union) there have been only four peaceful secessions (Anguilla. Warsin the Third World "The Problematic of the Third World. which was supposed to be a pathway to peace. Significant exceptions include India. (1983)." WorldPolitics. Some small island colonies also had forms of statehood prior to Western colonization." Dickinson College. It is thus one of the ironies of twentieth-century history that Wilson's concept of self-determination. has become a major justification for war and has resulted in national and international "pandaemonium" (Moynihan. They had no pre-colonial pedigree of statehood.). pp. Botswana. but they did not approximate colonial or contemporarystate boundaries. ed. Figgis. Carlisle." In Leadership and National Security. Egypt. New Haven:Yale UniversityPress. Ethiopia. any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national [sic] unity and the territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. the "Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.N. Burundi. andFear: TheNational Security Brighton: Harvester Press. Samudavanija. theLegitimacy Buckheit. Baganda.Princeton: Princeton University Press. Problem Buzan. Tamils. 1993). (1977). Ibos. SecurityandEconomy and Changein Africa.A. and presents numerous intellectual and moral challenges for both academics and the institutions of the international community. M. G. The tenets of realism and geopolitical analysis have blinded us to the continuing search for politically effective communities. . (1991). In some areas the search has led to peace. and Ukraine. (.

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