When All Else Fails: Ethnic Population Transfers and Partitions in the Twentieth Century
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Ethnic Population Transfers and Partitions in the Twentieth Century ~ Until recently, there has been a near consensus among policymakersand scholars that the objective of ethnic conflict management should be to support and preserve integrated, multiethnic societies. In the last few years, however, the idea that separating the warring populations may be the best solution to many of the most intense ethnic conflictshas been gaining ground. Events in Bosnia have supported this trend, as observers note that the more the warring groups have separated, the more peaceful their relations have become, while proposals to thoroughly reintegrate them command less and less support.' In addition, a growing body of scholarship that focuses on the role of intergroup security dilemmas in ethnic conflicts argues that intermixed population settlement patterns can promote escalation of violence, implying that separation of warring groups may dampen conflict2 ~~ ~ ~~ Chaim D. Kaufmann is Associate Professor of International Relations at Lehixh University. The author's thanks are owed to Robert Art, Pauline Baker, John Mearsheimer, Robert Pape, Edward Rhodes, Jack Snyder, Monica Toft, Stephen Van Evera, Barbara Walter, and the members of the University of Chicago Program on International Security and Policy for comments. Research for this article was supported by the United States Institute of Peace. 1. John J. Mearsheimer, "Shrink Bosnia to Save It," Nmu York Times, March 31, 1993;Mearsheimer and Stephen W. Van Evera, "When Peace Means War," New Republic, December 18,1995,pp. 16-21; Robert M. Hayden, "Schindler's Fate:Genocide,Ethnic Cleansing,and Population Transfers," Slaziic Review, Vol. 55, No. 4 (Winter 1996),pp. 740-742; Ivo H. Daalder, "Bosnia after SFOR: Options for Continued U.S. Engagement," Survival, Vol. 39, No. 4 (Winter 1997-98), pp. 5-18; Robert A. Pape, "Partition: An Exit Strategy for Bosnia," Survival, Vol. 39, No. 4 (Winter 1997-98), pp. 25-28; and Michael OHanlon, "Turning the Cease-fire into Peace," Bruokings Review, Vol. 16, No. 1 (Winter 1998), pp. 4144. In addition, some analysts who oppose the partition of Bosnia admit that reintegration of the separated populations would be very difficult. See Charles G. Boyd, "Making Bosnia Work," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 77, No. 1 (January/February 1998), pp. 42-55; Susan L. Woodward , "Avoiding Another Cyprus or Israel," Brookings Review, Vol. 16, No. 1 (Winter 1998), pp. 4548; and Jane M.O. Sharp, "Dayton Report Card," International Security, Vol. 22, No. 3 (Winter 1997/98), p. 133. Flora Lewis, "Reassembling Yugoslavia," Foreign Policy, No. 98 (Spring 1995), pp. 132-144, argues that Bosnia could be reintegrated. 2. Barry R. Posen, "The Security Dilemma and Ethnic Conflict," in Michael E. Brown, ed., Ethnic ConfZict and Internalfond Security (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1993), pp. 103-124; Chaim Kaufmann, "Possible and Impossible Solutions to Ethnic Civil Wars," International Security, Vol. 20, No. 4 (Spring 1996),pp. 136-175; and Daniel L. Byman, "Divided They Stand: Lessons about Partition from Iraq and Lebanon," Security Studies, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Autumn 1997), pp. 1-29. See also Myron S. Weiner, "Bad Neighbors, Bad Neighborhoods: An Inquiry into the Causes of Refugee Flows," Iwtemntionul Security, Vol. 21, No. 1 (Summer 1996), pp. 37-38; and Clive J. Christie, "Partition, Separatism, and National Identity," Polifical Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 1(JanuaryIntrmtzoiial Security, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Fall 1998),pp. 120-156 01998 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 120 When All Else Fails I 121 Separating populations, however, remains deeply controversial.Even when carried out safely, population transfers inflict enormous suffering, including loss of homes and livelihoods and disruption of social, religious, and cultural ties. Thus they can be justified only if they save the lives of people who would otherwise be killed in ethnic violence. Critics argue that ethnic population transfers, and the partitions that often accompany them, generally do not reduce suffering and death but actually increase them. The most important empirical evidence marshaled against demographic separation rests on the outcomesof four famoustwentieth-centurypartitionsIreland , India, Palestine, and Cyprus-all of which were accompanied by large-scale population transfers and by substantial ~iolence.~ The question addressed in this articleis: If the logic of demographic separation is correct, why were the partitions...