In This Review

The International Dimensions of Internal Conflict
The International Dimensions of Internal Conflict
Edited by Michael E. Brown
MIT Press, 1996, 653 pp

This massive volume exhaustively analyzes the domestic, regional, and international dimensions of internal conflicts, seeking to go beyond the "ancient hatreds" interpretation of popular journalism to understand why such conflicts are occurring now and how they might be ameliorated. The individual chapters treat regional and functional topics in depth, and the editor does a better job than most in synthesizing the findings of the collection's authors. Unfortunately, many of the prescriptions for international action, such as "place more emphasis on underlying problems and long-term solutions," or "promote economic development, opportunity, and justice," beg the question of how they are to be achieved, at what cost, and with what tradeoffs. Market-driven economic growth and opportunity, for example, often come at the expense of social equality; which should the international community favor? While a country like the United States can seek to export its liberal institutions, to what extent can it promote a culture of tolerance in distant lands and forestall ethnic violence? The volume recognizes these complexities, however, and provides a useful framework for dealing with specific cases.