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Woodrow Wilson Center Washington, DC 2 May 2006. Civil Strife: The Biggest Challenge to International Security  Three quarters of all wars since 1945.

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Presentation on theme: "Woodrow Wilson Center Washington, DC 2 May 2006. Civil Strife: The Biggest Challenge to International Security  Three quarters of all wars since 1945."— Presentation transcript:

1 Woodrow Wilson Center Washington, DC 2 May 2006

2 Civil Strife: The Biggest Challenge to International Security  Three quarters of all wars since 1945 have been within countries.  The number of wars has declined in recent years, but they are still a significant challenge to human security and development in many regions.  As many people have been killed since 1980 by civil wars as died in World War I.  Regional and global effects:  Neighborhood effects: refugees, disease, economic dislocations.  Global effects: pandemics, terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking.

3 The Causes of Civil Strife  There is no single cause of civil strife.  Studies have found correlations with demographic and environmental factors, suggesting that they are among the many causes of violent internal conflict. These factors include:  Population size  Population density  Infant mortality  Early stage of the “demographic transition” (measured in high births + high deaths)  Youth bulge (large numbers of people between 15 and 24)  Rapid rates of urbanization  Scarcity of cropland and freshwater per capita (in the 1990s)  Dependence on natural resource exports

4 Relevance Outside the Ivory Tower “Sustainable development is a compelling moral and humanitarian issue. But sustainable development is also a security imperative. Poverty, destruction of the environment and despair are destroyers of people, of societies, of nations, a cause of instability as an unholy trinity than can destabilize countries and destabilize entire regions.” Secretary of State Colin Powell, July 2002 “Globalization has exposed us to new challenges and changed the way old challenges touch our interests and values, while also greatly enhancing our capacity to respond. Examples include:... Environmental destruction, whether caused by human behavior or cataclysmic mega-disasters such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, or tsunamis. Problems of this scope may overwhelm the capacity of local authorities to respond, and may even overtax national militaries, requiring a larger international response.” National Security Strategy, March 2006

5 Organization of the Book  Chapter 1: “Plight, Plunder, and Political Ecology”  Chapter 2: “States, Scarcity, and Civil Strife: A Theoretical Framework”  Chapter 3: “Green Crisis, Red Rebels: Communist Insurgency in the Philippines”  Chapter 4: “Land and Lies: Ethnic Clashes in Kenya”  Chapter 5: “From Chaos to Calm: Explaining Variations in Violence in the Philippines and Kenya”  Chapter 6: “Conclusions and Implications”

6 Neo-Malthusian Hypotheses

7 The Deprivation Hypothesis  The argument  Population and environmental pressures contribute to falling wages, unemployment, and landlessness, thereby increasing poverty and inequality.  Widespread deprivation leads to frustration, grievances, and increases the risks of collective violence. Population growth, environmental degradation, & natural resource scarcity Absolute and relative deprivation Civil strife  Criticisms  It ignores collective action problems.  It disregards the critical role played by the state.

8 The State Failure Hypothesis  The argument  Population and environmental pressures increase grievances and demands on the state for costly investments while simultaneously undermining state capacity and legitimacy.  Weakening state authority opens up “political space” for violence. Population growth, environmental degradation, & natural resource scarcity Absolute and relative deprivation Strains on state capacity Civil strife  Criticisms  It misses key causal dynamics.  It fails to systematically incorporate intervening variables.

9 My Argument

10 Demographic and Environmental Stress  The “independent” variable: demographic and environmental stress (DES)  A composite variable:  The justification for considering all three components is their high degree of interaction. DES Population growth Environmental degradation Unequal resource distributions =

11 Strains on Society  Renewable resource scarcity: shrinking availability and/or access to essential renewable resources (e.g., cropland, water, forests, fisheries)  Economic marginalization: poverty and inequality via falling wages, unemployment, landlessness, etc.  Demographic shifts: youth bulges and rapid urbanization DES Strains on society

12 Strains on the State  Rising demands from disadvantaged social groups  Declining revenues due to the adverse economic effects of population growth and environmental destruction  Threats to state legitimacy  Rising factionalism among state elites DES Strains on society Strains on the state

13 Two Pathways to Civil Strife  State failure (modified): “bottom-up” violence; security dilemma dynamics  State exploitation: “top-down” violence; predatory leader dynamics State failure State exploitation DES Strains on society Strains on the state Civil strife

14 Intervening Variables  Groupness: collective action potential; affected by patterns of social cleavages  Institutional inclusivity: degree to which social groups have institutionalized influence over executive policy; usually affected by the amount and quality of democracy State failure State exploitation DES Strains on society Strains on the state Civil strife Institutional inclusivity Groupness

15 Summary: Conjunctural Predictions and Evidence from the Book Degree of DES Degree of Groupness Institutional Inclusivity Risk of Civil StrifeEvidence Causal Dynamics High ExclusiveLikely Philippines, (Somalia, Chiapas) Kenya, 1990s (Rwanda) State failure State exploitation HighHigh or lowInclusiveNot likely Philippines, post-Marcos Kenya, 2002 (Mali, Costa Rica) The emergence of inclusive institutions HighLow Inclusive or exclusiveNot likely Philippines, pre-1950s Kenya, urban areas (Costa Rica) Nature of class ties Cross-cutting ties LowHigh or low Inclusive or exclusive Theory indeterminate (non-DES factors key)---

16 Competing Hypotheses: The Challenge from Neoclassical Economics

17 The Honey Pot Hypothesis  The argument  Rebel groups are encouraged to form and fight over abundant supplies of valuable natural resources (e.g., oil, diamonds, copper, coltan, timber).  Thus, resource related conflict is driven by abundance and greed rather than scarcity and grievance. Abundant supplies of valuable natural resources Incentives to seize areas or the state to control access to valuable resources Civil strife

18 The Honey Pot Hypothesis (cont.)  Criticisms  Scarcity and abundance can both occur simultaneously at different levels of analysis. Locally abundant resources are only worth fighting over if they are globally scarce.  Honey pot dynamics are much more likely to apply to nonrenewable mineral resources (such as oil, precious metals, and gemstones) than renewable resources.  Abundance (of a particular resource) can produce scarcities (of other resources), meaning that the pathologies of “rival” approaches may interact.  The honey pot hypothesis ignores the ways in which state weakness and rising DES-related grievances make even those conflicts centered on locally abundant resources more likely.

19 The Resource Curse Hypothesis  The argument  “Dutch Disease”: Dependence on natural resources makes countries vulnerable to price volatility and produces crowd-out effects that hurt long-term economic development.  “Rentier states”: State control of abundant supplies of valuable resources contributes to corrupt, authoritarian governments.  Weak authoritarian governments are prime targets for rebellion. Abundant supplies of valuable natural resources Dutch Disease Rentier states Civil strife

20 The Resource Curse Hypothesis (cont.)  Criticisms  As with the honey pot hypothesis, Dutch Disease and rentier state dynamics are much more likely to occur in the context of nonrenewable mineral resources, especially oil.  The developmental pathologies of the resource curse and those emerging from DES can both occur and interact with one another within the same country over time.

21 Future Implications

22 DES and International Security in the 21st Century  Demographic and environmental pressures will grow in the decades ahead.  Population pressures  Unsustainable consumption  Poverty and inequality  Climate change  This will probably increase the risk of civil strife in the world’s least developed nations in the decades ahead... ... But the risk of DES induced violence will be affected by:  The spread of democracy  The quality of civil society

23 Questions?


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