Why does ethnic conflict remain one of the major security challenges in today's world? Can we avoid another Rwanda in the future? How was it possible, after almost four decades, to achieve a lasting settlement for the conflict in Northern Ireland, while the conflict in Kashmir remains unresolved after more than sixty years?
These and other questions are the focus of this book. Investigating the causes and consequences of ethnic conflict, the authors argue that the most effective responses are those that take into account factors at the local, state, regional and global level and which avoid seeking simplistic explanations and solutions to what is a truly complex phenomenon. What matters most for understanding ethnic conflicts are the choices that people make--leaders and followers alike--and not a set of mysterious unknowable forces.
Once we know that ethnic conflicts are not difficult to understand, but that there is a lot to understand about them, we can also appreciate that they are not impossible to resolve. However, it takes skilful, committed and principled leaders to achieve just solutions that are supported by their followers, and it takes the long-term commitment of the international community to enable and sustain these solutions.