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War or Peace?

Nationalism, Democracy, and American Foreign Policy in Post- Communist Europe

Stephen Burg

Publication Year: 1996

For more than forty years, Western policymakers defined communism as the central threat to international peace and stability. They responded by confronting it with a counterbalancing threat of force, and pursuing a strategy of containment. With the collapse of communism, the challenge to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic community has changed. Soviet expansionism has been supplanted by powerful, internal forces arising out of the clash of competing ethnic nationalisms. This challenge, argues Steven L. Burg, cannot be met by force alone, or neutralized through a strategy of containment. It requires Western states to act decisively to influence the internal political development of the post- communist states themselves.

Burg surveys the challenges that the ethnic diversity in Eastern Europe present to domestic stability, international peace, and American interests, and suggests policies and practices by which the United States and its allies might contribute to the consolidation of peace in the region. He provides a concise explanation and analysis of the issues, evaluates the usefulness of scholarly approaches to the resolution of ethnic conflicts, and offers a strategy of what he calls preventive engagement by which policymakers may prevent conflicts such as the one that destroyed the former Yugoslavia.

War or Peace? offers clear and direct recommendations to guide both interested citizens and national policymakers as they attempt to grapple with the complexities of ethnic and nationalist politics in Europe.

Published by: NYU Press


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pp. c-ii

Title Page

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pp. iii-iii

Copyright Page

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pp. iv-vi


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

THE SWIFT SPRING THAW that followed the unexpected collapse of the Soviet empire opened half of Europe to vast new possibilities. For many nations and peoples, this meant a leap, with mixed success so far, toward democracy and capitalism. For others, the new freedom opened a Pandora's box of age-old...

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pp. 1-10

FOR MORE THAN FORTY YEARS, Western policymakers defined the revolutionary, expansionist ideology and activities of world communism as the central threat to international peace and stability. They met that threat by confronting it with a counterbalancing threat of force and pursuing a strategy of containment....

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CHAPTER 1 Nationalism, Democracy, and International Peace in Post-Communist Europe

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pp. 11-42

THE DEMOCRATIZATION of the post-communist states presents policymakers with a vexing dilemma: The collapse of authoritarianism has unleashed forces that make the establishment of liberal democracies difficult. The suppression of these forces, however, would entail actions that might make the establishment...

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CHAPTER 2 Ethnic Conflict and the Euro-Atlantic Community: The Yugoslav Crisis

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pp. 43-128

THE REEMERGENCE OF national conflicts in Eastern Europe and the successor states of the former Soviet Union presents the United States and its allies with strong challenges to international peace. The immediate consequences and longer-term implications of such conflicts require European, Euro-Atlantic, and...

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CHAPTER 3 From Nationalism to Democratization

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pp. 129-178

THE ETHNIC CRISIS in the post-communist states reflects the inherent conflict between nationalist definitions of the state and the establishment of a civil order that protects diverse populations. The ethnic heterogeneity of the East European states, as well as the numerous actual and potential irredentist...

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CHAPTER 4 Conclusion: Toward an American Strategy for Peace

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pp. 179-226

AS THE YUGOSLAV CRISIS has so clearly demonstrated, a stable framework for international peace in the post-Cold War era must include an institutionalized capacity to deal with the challenges to both domestic and international stability arising out of mobilized ethnic identities. The domestic challenges...


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pp. 227-248


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pp. 249-bc

E-ISBN-13: 9780814725030
E-ISBN-10: 0814725031
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814712702
Print-ISBN-10: 0814712703

Page Count: 258
Publication Year: 1996

OCLC Number: 821725579
MUSE Marc Record: Download for War or Peace?

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Europe, Eastern -- Politics and government -- 1989-.
  • Nationalism -- Europe, Eastern.
  • Democracy.
  • Yugoslav War, 1991-1995.
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- Europe, Eastern.
  • Europe, Eastern -- Foreign relations -- United States.
  • Europe -- Politics and government -- 1989-.
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