A Rational Choice Approach
Chapter 4: The Uneasy Commitment to Peace
INTRODUCTION The previous chapter examined the immediate causes of civil conflict based on greed and grievance, whereas the chapter prior to that looked at the pre-conditions for conflict in terms of growth failure and underdevelopment. The purpose of this chapter is to analyse why it is so difficult to end ongoing conflicts. In particular, the aim is to understand why there are so many false promises claiming to end civil wars. Collier (2004) argues that countries that have just experienced a civil war are more likely to have further conflict, with a 38.6% post-conflict risk based upon an analysis of 21 countries during 1965–99. He characterizes this phenomenon of recurring war as the ‘conflict trap’, and this position is currently very fashionable amongst policy makers. Others, such as Walter (2004) are less pessimistic; she states that for all civil wars between 1945 and 1996, only 36% were followed by another war. In civil war situations, negotiations often take place, bargains are struck, widely trumpeted peace treaties are signed, yet either one or more of the parties, or a newly formed splinter group or a faction unrepresented in the peace negotiations go back to war; see Table 4.1 on signed bargains to end internal conflict in the post-cold war era. Walter (2002) indicates that 62% of civil wars between 1940 and 1992 culminated in a signed peace treaty. Of these, only 57% were successfully implemented. The figure for the period after the cold war (Table 4.1) indicates that about 70%...
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