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International Relations - IR

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International Relations-PSC 201
VU
LESSON 40
CONFLICT AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION
Conflicts in IR
Conflict in the sense of visible incompatibility of policies and interests of different states is a permanent and
continuous feature of IR.
A traditional and persistent issue causing conflict between states is territorial disputes. A crisis is the first
stage of conflict and a crisis may erupt due to actions of citizens of one nation against another (hijacking) or
due to hostile actions at the state level (border incursion).
Components of a Conflict
There are four distinct ways of categorizing conflicts:
1
Number of parties involved: Depending on the nature and/or gravity of a conflict it can involve two or
more parties (WWI or Cold War for e.g.)
2
Issues Field: A range of issues can trigger conflicts including territorial, ideological or economic
interests. Conflicts can also have multiple reasons
3
Attitudes: Different attitudes are important in conflict situations including the perception of threat,
amount of suspicion concerning opponents intensions, symbolic interests involved in conflict,
perception about available alternatives
4
Actions: denials, rejections, protests, and international pressure are actions which can defuse
conflicts. On the other hand, actions like escalating steps like withdrawal of diplomatic staff,
economic blockades, ban on travel and limited use of force instigate all out conflict.
Causes of Conflicts
Given the perpetual problem of conflict, what causes conflicts merits careful attention. Sometimes conflicts
become the origin of conflicts, other times conflicts occur due to security concerns or religious or
ideological reasons.
Some scholars categorize international conflicts in the following manner:
Conflicts can be traced to individual reactions of decision makers
Conflicts can also be caused by the prevailing world order, like the polarization witnessed during
the Cold War
Conflicts caused at the state level can include focus on national character, ideological beliefs,
imperialist or hegemonic tendencies
Potential Outcomes of Conflict
Conflict outcomes can vary significantly:
Avoidance of hostile action and adopting a compromising position is a common outcome of
conflict
Conquest: often implies overwhelming use of force and even then requires concessions by the
victor to secure an end of resistance
Surrender: the losing party withdraws from previously held position, value or interest
Compromise: where both parties agree to a partial withdrawal from the initial stance that brought
about the conflict
Award: instead of mutual bargaining, acceptance of a binding decision by third part arbitration to
end the conflict
Passive Settlement: lingering conflicts which are not ended compel parties to accept the status quo
instead
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International Relations-PSC 201
VU
Relevant Vocabulary
Compel ­ to obligate
Status quo ­ the way things are
Lingering ­ ongoing
Gravity - seriousness
Partial ­ only in part, or not complete
Suggested Readings
Students are advised to read the following chapters to develop a better understanding of the various
principals highlighted in this hand-out:
Chapter 17 in `"A Study of International Relations" by Dr. Sultan Khan
Internet Resources
In addition to reading from the textbook, please visit the following web-pages for this lecture, which
provide useful and interesting information:
Centre for International Conflict Resolution
http://sipa.columbia.edu/cicr/
Table of Contents:
  1. WHAT IS INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND WHAT IS ITS RELEVANCE?
  2. APPROACHES TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: THEORIES IN IR
  3. APPROACHES TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS:Traditional Approach
  4. THE NATION-STATE SYSTEM:Further Evolution of Nation-State
  5. THE NATION STATE SYSTEM: BASIC FEATURES OF A NATION-STATE
  6. NATIONAL INTEREST:Criteria for Defining National Interest
  7. NATIONAL INTEREST:Variations in National Interest, Relevant Vocabulary
  8. BALANCE OF POWER (BOP):BoP from a historical perspective
  9. BALANCE OF POWER (CONTINUED):Degree of Polarization, Functions of BoP
  10. DIPLOMACY:How Diplomacy Functions, Traditional Versus Modern Diplomacy
  11. DIPLOMACY (CONTINUED):Diplomatic Procedures & Practices, Functions of Diplomacy
  12. COLONIALISM, NEO-COLONIALISM & IMPERIALISM:Judging Colonization
  13. COLONIALISM, NEO-COLONIALISM & IMPERIALISM:Types of Neo-Colonialism
  14. COLONIALISM, NEO-COLONIALISM & IMPERIALISM:Objectives of Imperialism
  15. NEW INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ORDER:Criticism of IEO, NIEO Activities
  16. NEW INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ORDER:Prerequisites for the NIEO
  17. NON-ALIGNMENT MOVEMENT:Origin of NAM, NAMís Institutional Structure
  18. NON-ALIGNMENT MOVEMENT (CONTINUED):Cairo Summit, Egypt - 1964
  19. NON-ALIGNMENT MOVEMENT:Criticism of NAM, NAM and Pakistan
  20. THE COLD WAR AND ITS IMPACTS - INTRODUCING THE COLD WAR PHENOMENON
  21. THE COLD WAR AND ITS IMPACTS (CONTINUED):Truman Doctrine, Marshal Plan
  22. THE COLD WAR AND ITS IMPACTS (CONTINUED):End of the Cold War
  23. DISARMAMENT AND ARMS CONTROL:History of Disarmament
  24. DISARMAMENT AND ARMS CONTROL (CONTINUED):Other Disarmament Efforts
  25. THE RELEVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
  26. THE RELEVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (CONTINUED)
  27. INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS:Need for IGOs, Categorizing IGOs
  28. INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS (CONTINUED):United Nations, Criticism of the UN
  29. INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS (CONTINUED):European Union, World Bank
  30. THE ROLE OF DECISION MAKING IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
  31. DECISION MAKING (CONTINUED):Rational Actor Model, Group Politics Model
  32. SYSTEMS APPROACH TO IR:Underlying Assumptions, Elements of the System
  33. SYSTEMS BASED APPROACH (CONTINUED) Ė DISTINCT SYSTEMS IN IR
  34. LIBERALISM AND SOCIAL DEMOCRACY:Neoliberalism
  35. LIBERALISM AND SOCIAL DEMOCRACY (CONTINUED):Liberalism vs. Social Democracy
  36. INTEGRATION IN IR:Preconditions for Integration, Assessing Integration
  37. GLOBALIZATION AND ITS IMPLICATIONS:Advocates of Globalization
  38. THE GLOBAL DIVIDE:World Social Forum, Can the Global Divide Be Bridged?
  39. FOCUS ON FOREIGN INVESTMENTS:Pro-poor Foreign Investments
  40. CONFLICT AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION:Components of a Conflict
  41. CONFLICT RESOLUTION:Creative response, Appropriate assertiveness
  42. THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT:Global Concern for the Environment
  43. THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT:Environmental Concerns and IR, Some Other Issues
  44. HOW IR DIFFER FROM DOMESTIC POLITICS?:Strategies for altering state behavior
  45. CHANGE AND IR:Continuity in IR, Causality and counterfactuals, IR in a nutshell