Instead of ethnic violence, which is the focus of much of the academic literature on eastern Europe, McMahon shifts attention to what she claims has been far more prevalent: cases of ethnic cooperation. Given the bloody outcome in Yugoslavia, many easily assumed that much of eastern Europe, with its mottled map of ethnicities, would quickly degenerate into bloodshed, too. That it did not even in countries that seemed prime candidates, such as Latvia and Romania, her primary cases, owes, she argues, to a new phenomenon in international politics: the existence of international organizations and nongovernmental organizations, which have deflated the potential for violence. She does not claim that this spider web of "transnational networks" deserves all the credit or that its influence came only from the benchmarks it set and the dialogues it imposed. The argument is more thoughtful, incorporating the complex bottom-up dynamic by which a loose conglomeration of outside institutions fostered domestic forces that defused tensions.
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