restricted access Chapter 4. International Agents, Self-Reinforcement of Conflict Dynamics, and Processes of Change
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Chapter 4 International Agents, Self-Reinforcement of Conflict Dynamics, and Processes of Change We now turn to how non-identity-based third parties contributed to the duration of conflicts and their change. By delineating specific causal mechanisms of conflict perpetuation, the following adds to established scholarship on third-party interventions. An insightful yet inconclusive quantitative literature on civil wars has analyzed primarily how third parties change the capabilities of the government or opposition on the ground, how they manipulate the information available to local belligerents, and how they relate to achievement of military victory or negotiated settlement.1 Evidence suggests that military and economic interventions tend to increase the duration of civil wars, but this claim has been disputed.2 These quantitative studies have established the associations between different variables and the duration of civil wars, but do not address the causal mechanisms in conflict duration. The present qualitative account focuses on self-perpetuating causal mechanisms and processes of change, and theorizes about both violent and nonviolent conflicts beyond civil wars. How was a tripartite dynamic between majorities, minorities, and the international community perpetuated after the formative period? Where did opportunities for change originate during the 1990s? I argue that mechanisms of ‘‘adaptive expectations’’ and ‘‘learning’’ aided the informal institutionalization of conflictual, semiconflictual, and nonviolent conflict dynamics over time. International agents became absorbed into these dynamics , so their actual influence decreased. Opportunities for change arose from exogenous shocks and long-term regional integration initiatives. Exogenous shocks—the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, the 1997 collapse of International Agents, Self-Reinforcement, and Change 101 Albania, NATO’s 1999 intervention in Kosovo and contagion effects in its aftermath—triggered drastic changes, mostly in the direction of conflict escalation. By casting the ‘‘long shadow’’ of future membership in EuroAtlantic organizations, and using conditionality more than socialization mechanisms, the international community and specifically the European Union contributed to incremental change in the direction of interethnic peace.3 EU rules were often ‘‘layered’’ on top of existing ones.4 Causal mechanisms fostered the development of durable contextualized ways through which agents related to each other in a tripartite relationship. The timing and sequencing of some exogenous shocks became important for the radicalization process in the cases researched here, and also how they contributed to the escalation of conflicts in Kosovo and Macedonia by the end of the 1990s. How prospects for EU integration fostered change without drastic reforms in Bulgaria in the same time period closes the chapter. Self-Reinforcement Processes and Adaptation in a Triangular Relationship As in domestic majority-minority relations, adaptive expectations were also important mechanisms driving the international community, majorities, and minorities toward self-perpetuating behavior in the mid- to late 1990s. Adaptation offered the opportunity to perpetuate vested interests established during the formative period. Figure 6 shows a triangular relationship resulting from international community intervention early in the formative period, and the contextualized links established between the three parties. The relationship between majority and minority is primary, but the international intervention adds new material. Local agents adapted their behavior expecting the international community to take a certain position, and vice versa. These decisions were not driven simply by rational self-interest or anticipation of rational moves of the other actors. They were embedded in the constraints of the ways the agents were connected to each other. I argue that the links between agents are more static than those in studies using bargaining logic and emphasizing a fluid dynamic. Decisions can be made strategically, but in the context of bounded rationality stemming from the contextualized ways the informal rules of the ethnonational game consolidated . Through the mechanism of adaptive expectations these rules became 102 Chapter 4 C The Structure of the Links majority minority international agents (non-identity-based) A B BULGARIA A—minority—majority: Minimal increase of minority status Co-optation Minority acceptance of the state B— majority—international agents: Nonredefinition of the state Prospects for EU integration C—minority—international community: Political participation Voicing of minority rights violations MACEDONIA A—minority—majority: Minimal decrease of minority status Co-optation Two-pronged strategy towards the state B— majority—international agents: Non-redefinition of the state Provision of security C—minority—international agents: Political participation but no demands for becoming a constituent element of the state Voicing minority rights violations KOSOVO A—minority—majority: Drastic decrease of status Coercion Minority rejection of the state B— majority—international agents: Nonredefinition...


Subject Headings

  • Bulgaria -- Ethnic relations -- Political aspects.
  • Macedonia (Republic) -- Ethnic relations -- Political aspects.
  • Kosovo (Republic) -- Ethnic relations -- Political aspects
  • Ethnic conflict -- Bulgaria.
  • Ethnic conflict -- Macedonia (Republic).
  • Ethnic conflict -- Kosovo (Republic).
  • Post-communism -- Bulgaria.
  • Post-communism -- Macedonia (Republic).
  • Post-communism -- Kosovo (Republic).
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