In This Review

Power Sharing and International Mediation in Ethnic Conflicts
Power Sharing and International Mediation in Ethnic Conflicts
By Timothy D. Sisk
U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 1996, 143 pp

This useful and workmanlike book offers formulas for stabilizing political systems in situations where full democracy is not possible -- an important and often underestimated aspect of international diplomacy. It explains that power-sharing arrangements lie on a spectrum between consociational approaches that take existing communities and their leaders as givens, and integrative ones that seek to create new institutions and alliances cutting across communal lines. The book makes the important point that the international community has placed too much stress on early elections based on simple majority rule in the absence of prior power-sharing agreements, something that frequently makes ethnic conflicts worse and undermines the objective of democratic reform.