Research Handbook on Mediating International Crises
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Research Handbook on Mediating International Crises

Edited by Jonathan Wilkenfeld, Kyle Beardsley and David Quinn

Current conceptions of mediation can often fail to capture the complexity and intricacy of modern conflicts. This Research Handbook addresses this problem by presenting the leading expert opinions on international mediation, examining how international mediation practices, mechanisms and institutions should adapt to the changing characteristics of contemporary international crises.
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Chapter 5: Mediation in the emerging international environment: from hierarchy to improvisation

Chester A. Crocker, Fen O. Hampson and Pamela Aall

Abstract

This chapter explores the relationship between the changing geopolitical environment on the one hand, and the emerging structure of contemporary conflict on the other. It identifies developments at both the local conflict level and the international geopolitical level that complicate the field of mediation. At the geopolitical level, mediatory cooperation is less likely to occur. At the conflict level, party fragmentation poses obstacles to the mediator. This complexity is magnified in many cases by the phenomenon of multiparty mediation, which raises key challenges for the achievement of coherence and effective leverage. The chapter develops a series of implications from these changing patterns for the practice of mediation.

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