IAFF 1005 Lecture 13: Tuesday: Lecture #13

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13 Jun 2018
Tuesday Lecture: Decolonization and Modern Conflicts
I. Colonial rule and decolonization
A. 1939: ⅓ of the world’s population lived under colonial rule
B. After WWII: decolonization was widespread
C. Today: less than 0.1% of the world’s population lives under colonial rule (Guam, Puerto Rico, DC
D. Japan and Italy: lost prewar and wartime colonies
E. Britain, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal: diminished economies → need for
reconstruction at home
1. Diminished political will for colonial commitments
2. Diminished authority/credibility in colonies
3. Decolonization was NOT something the Europeans planned for or wanted
F. Waves of decolonization
1. South and Southeast Asia → fairly rapid
2. Africa in 1950s-1960s-1970s
3. Portuguese colonies and island states 1970s-1980s
4. Yugoslavia in USSR in 1990s; Hong Kong, Macau
G. Stability implications
1. Was disorderly and often intensely violent
2. Wars against colonial powers and within the independence movements → involved a
network of economic relationships that became destroyed and hazardous
3. Long-term damage to politics/societies
4. Difficult to overcome animosity/mistrust/fear
5. New, conflict-proone states → artificial states
a) Artificial borders and difficult ethnic/tribal distributions
b) Europeans hadn’t paid attention to ethnic/tribal groups so when they became
independent there was a lot of conflict or conflicting groups sharing a country’s
c) Keeping the borders and redrawing the borders would BOTH cause conflict
6. Most of the new states were “born weak”
a) Weak economies: colonial disconnections, conflict costs
b) Weak governmental and political institutions
c) Limited human capital → education, experience
H. Cold War complications
1. New states would have faced formidable challenges under the best circumstances
2. Cold War made things much worse for many states
3. Arms and money from US/USSR
4. Political conflicts became polarized/militarized → may not have if it wasn’t for the
Cold War → political conflicts that turn violent are hard to resurrect
5. Conflicts initiated/intensified in these new states
a) Lethality: level of violence went up
b) Duration: continuation supported by superpowers
6. Compromise/power-sharing became harder
I. Cold War: Long-Lasting implications
1. Political disputes becoming radicalized and militarized
2. Getting back on track after years of conflict in terms of governance
is very difficult
3. Cold War has been called the “Long Peace”
a) Not all-out US/USSE
b) Still 160 armed conflicts and 20-35 million people killed
II. US War in Southeast Asia
A. More than 3.3 million people killed in teh Vietnam War
1. More civilians than soldiers
2. 2% of US soldiers killed
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