conflict resolution

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Political Science
Political Science 4426F/G
James S Quinn

• Ultimately it is up to the parties themselves to agree to accept a form of democratic decision making that is inevitably something less than their stronger preference for complete control of their group’s destiny • Rarely are the models, options, and plans formulated by international mediators in the course of the peace process informed by a coherent analysis of the basic approaches to power sharing, instead, the approach is usually ad hoc, in which diplomats and analysts seek to craft appropriate solutions given the expected willingness of the parties to accept alternative outcomes. Failure can result in a new round of conflict. • What is immediately feasible and minimally acceptable to the parties often comes before what is desirable in terms of conflict management over the long term Are existing boarders sacrosanct? • A first fundamental question: is maintaining the cohesion and territorial integrity of a given state a desirable, feasible outcome? • While secessionist tendencies are created by domestic conditions, whether they succeed or fail is ultimately up to the international community, which can choose to recognize a groups right to territorial sovereignty and self determination or deny recognition when faces with ethnic conflicts in which groups seek self determination through secession, with few exceptions, the international community has an institutional tendency to do nothing or very little, invoking the principle of noninterference and implicitly denying group self determination claims • Only in recent years, with particular reference to the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the dissolution of a federated Yugoslavia, and the bifurcation of the former Czechoslovakia, has the international community endorsed the creation of new states outside of the decolonization framework. • Secession is a solution of last resort • If political divorce is relatively peaceful, there is no sound reason to insist on maintaining a states boundaries as long as the outcome is sustainable, mutually acceptable to the parties, and expected to be internally democratic- EG Quebec • Dahl’s Seven guidelines applicable to the international community’s decision about the feasibility of existing states: o The domain and scope of the unit must be clearly identified o Agreement on the scope of political autonomy o People must strongly desire to govern themselves according to the democratic process the establishment of a new unit of politics cannot inflict serious harm, neither to its own members nor to others outside its boundaries o A claim to self determination cannot be advanced by persons whose interest are not directly affected by that claim o One set of boundaries is better than many if it provides for greater opportunities for the exercise of personal freedoms o Measured by all relevant criteria, the gains must outweigh the costs International Mediation • Incentive for the institutionalization of peace. Does the political system reward ethnic exclusion, chauvinism, and elite excitation of popular intolerances? • Do international norms and rules either encourage or discourage fissiparous tendencies and lead parties to believe either that violent attempts to gain self determination will be successful or that violent oppression of disadvantaged groups’ rights will be ignored or go unsanctioned • The international community need not always advocate simple forms of majoritarian democracy-usually manifested in terms of encouraging and even coercing parties into early elections as the culminating event of a peace process- cultural bias of the west? • Power-sharing practices should be used in tandem
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