Berto Jongman: Foreign Affairs on Causes of Civil War

Cultural Intelligence, Peace Intelligence
Berto Jongman
Berto Jongman

States of War

How the Nation-State Made Modern Conflict

Andreas Wimmer

Foreign Affairs, 7 November 2014

To explain recent conflicts in countries such as Syria or Sudan, observers have been quick to point their fingers at proximate causes specific to our times: the power vacuum created by the end of the Cold War offered opportunities for rebels to fill the void; the recent globalization of trade flooded the developing world with cheap arms; rising global consumer demand generated new struggles over oil and minerals; jihadist groups spread using networks of fighters trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Yet such explanations miss a bigger picture. If we extend the time horizon beyond the Cold War to include the entire modern period — from the American and French revolutions to today — we can see repeating patterns of war and conflict. These patterns are related to the formation and development of independent nation-states.

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Phi Beta Iota: We are increasingly of the view that Foreign Affairs, long the mouthpiece of the Eastern Establishment, has become retarded. These people don’t do analysis, they pontificate along narrow lines.  The causes of revolution are straight-forward — they center around whether or not governance achieves legitimacy by providing for the public interest, and that generally means an avoiding of any concentration or wealth and the attendant exclusion of too large a portion of the public.  Below are just three references the author of the above article has clearly not read.  There are many more.

See Also:

Graphic: Preconditions of Revolution in the USA Today

Review: Grand Strategies — Literature, Statecraft, and World Order

Review: Lines of Fire – A Renegade Writes on Strategy, Intelligence, and Security

Review: Modern Strategy

Review: The Collapse of Complex Societies

Review: The Health of Nations–Society and Law beyond the State

Review: The Search for Security–A U.S. Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century

Review: The Trial of Henry Kissinger