Since the end of the cold war, a series of costly civil wars, many of them ethnic conflicts, have dominated the international security agenda. The international community, often acting through the United Nations or regional organizations like NATO, has felt compelled to intervene with military forces in many of these conflicts-four of which comprise the heart of this book: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Somalia, Cambodia, and Rwanda. Civil Wars, Insecurity, and Intervention is a detailed examination by a host of distinguished scholars of these recent interventions in order to draw lessons for today's policy debates. The contributors view ethnic conflict and internal war through the prism of the concept of the security dilemma-a situation in which parties with strong incentives to cooperate wind up netheless in bloody competition out of distrust of the opponent. Civil Wars, Insecurity, and Intervention assesses how international intervention can help solve the security dilemma in civil wars by designing political and military arrangements that make security commitments credible to the warring parties. The mixed record of partial successes, failures, and in some cases counterproductive interventions suggests an urgent need to extract lessons with a view toward developing a framework for making future policy choices.
Barbara F. Walter is assistant professor of political science at the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Jack Snyder is Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Relations and chair of the Political Science Department at Columbia University.