Elgar Handbook of Civil War and Fragile States
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Elgar Handbook of Civil War and Fragile States

Edited by Graham K. Brown and Arnim Langer

The Elgar Handbook of Civil War and Fragile States brings together contributions from a multidisciplinary group of internationally renowned scholars on such important issues as the causes of violent conflicts and state fragility, the challenges of conflict resolution and mediation, and the obstacles to post-conflict reconstruction and durable peace-building.
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Chapter 23: Collective conflict management

Chester A. Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson and Pamela Aall


We have entered an era in which the risks of discord, fragmentation and competition are manifest, and in which leading countries are buffeted by economic pressures and distracted by political divisions. There is a risk that among ‘established’ powers, short-term agendas and internal pressures will crowd out visionary, cooperative initiatives to increase global security. While ‘emerging’ powers increasingly have global interests and embody changes in preferences and priorities, they are not themselves necessarily prepared to assume responsibility for international order. Meanwhile, the current world governance structure suffers from trade-offs between effectiveness and legitimacy. In these circumstances, the obstacles to productive international governance and reform are daunting. Today’s security challenges are also increasingly diverse, differentiated and fragmented. Nowhere is this more evident than in the evolving problems of combating terrorism and the growing dispersion of global terrorist networks. However, the increasing dispersion and regionalization of threats are not confined to terrorism. Many of today’s security challenges are generated within individual societies, spread across borders to their surrounding environment, and exacerbated by unhealthy regional dynamics. Still others, such as the western hemisphere narcotics syndicates, originate on one side of the world but target and exploit vulnerable societies on the other side. To complicate the picture further, today’s security threats encompass challenges to human security and a whole series of social and environmental ills, such as pandemic disease, piracy, illicit trafficking and environmental degradation along with traditional military security challenges. And they occur in a time of bewildering connectivity and advancing political complexity as the world becomes increasingly and simultaneously interlinked and multicentric. How is the world responding to these complex security challenges? As we argue here, new patterns of international cooperation are emerging which are largely ad hoc, informal, improvised and opportunistic. We refer to this new form of security cooperation as ‘collective conflict management’ (CCM).

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