Sovereignty as Responsibility: Conflict Management in Africa

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The authors assert that sovereignty can no longer be seen as a protection against interference, but as a charge of responsibility where the state is accountable to both domestic and external constituencies. In internal conflicts in Africa, sovereign states have often failed to take responsibility for their own citizens' welfare and for the humanitarian consequences of conflict, leaving the victims with no assistance. This book shows how that responsibility can be exercised by states over their own population, and by other states in assistance to their fellow sovereigns.

Sovereignty as Responsibility presents a framework that should guide both national governments and the international community in discharging their respective responsibilities. Broad principles are developed by examining identity as a potential source of conflict, governance as a matter of managing conflict, and economics as a policy field for deterring conflict. Considering conflict management, political stability, economic development, and social welfare as functions of governance, the authors develop strategies, guidelines, and roles for its responsible exercise. Some African governments, such as South Africa in the 1990s and Ghana since 1980, have demonstrated impressive gains against these standards, while others, such as Rwanda, Somalia, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sudan, have failed. Opportunities for making sovereignty more responsible and improving the management of conflicts are examined at the regional and international levels. The lessons from the mixed successes of regional conflict management actions, such as the West African intervention in Liberia, the East African mediation in Sudan, and international efforts to urge talks to end the conflict in Angola, indicate friends and neighbors outside the state in conflict have important roles to play in increasing sovereign responsibility.

Approaching conflict management from the perspective of the responsibilities of sovereignty provides a framework for evaluating government accountability. It proposes standards that guide performance and sharpen tools of conflict prevention rather than simply making post-hoc judgments on success or failure. The authors demonstrate that sovereignty as responsibility is both a national obligation and a global imperative.

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About the author

Francis M. Deng is a nonresident senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies program at the Brookings Institution and co-director of the Brookings-SAIS Project on Internal Displacement. He has served as the Sudan's minister of state and foreign affairs; as its ambassador to Canada, the United States, and Scandinavia; and as special representative of the United Nations secretary-general for internally displaced persons. Sadikiel Kimaro is deputy division chief, African department, International Monetary Fund. Terrence Lyons is an associate professor of conflict resolution at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and interim director of the Center for Global Studies at George Mason University.This report is sponsored by the Council's Center for Preventive Action. Donald Rothchild is professor of political science at the University of California, Davis. He is the coauthor of Sovereignty as Responsibility: Conflict Management in Africa (Brookings, 1996), author of Racial Bargaining in Independent Kenya (Oxford University Press, 1973), and coeditor of The International Spread of Ethnic Conflict: Fear, Diffusion, and Escalation (Princeton). I. William Zartman is director of the African Studies and Conflict Management programs at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Brookings Institution Press
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Published on
Dec 1, 2010
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Pages
290
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ISBN
9780815719731
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / International Relations / Diplomacy
Political Science / International Relations / General
Political Science / World / African
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The extent to which humanitarian intervention has become a legitimate practice in post-cold war international society is the subject of this book. It maps the changing legitimacy of humanitarian intervention by comparing the international response to cases of humanitarian intervention in the cold war and post-cold war periods. Crucially, the book examines how far international society has recognised humanitarian intervention as a legitimate exception to the rules of sovereignty and non-intervention and non-use of force. While there are studies of each case of intervention-in East Pakistan, Cambodia, Uganda, Iraq, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo-there is no single work that examines them comprehensively in a comparative framework. Each chapter tells a story of intervention that weaves together a study of motives, justifications and outcomes. The legitimacy of humanitarian intervention is contested by the 'pluralist' and 'solidarist' wings of the English school, and the book charts the stamp of these conceptions on state practice. Solidarism lacks a full-blown theory of humanitarian intervention and the book supplies one. This theory is employed to assess the humanitarian qualifications of the cases of intervention analysed in the book, and this normative assessment is then compared to the moral practices of states. A key focus is to examine how far humanitarian intervention as a legitimate practice is present in the diplomatic dialogue of states. In exploring how far there has been a change of norm in the society of states in the 1990s, the book defends the broad based constructivist claim that state actions will be constrained if they cannot be legitimated, and that new norms enable new practices but do not determine these. The book concludes by considering how far contemporary practices of humanitarian intervention support a new solidarism, and how far this resolves the traditional conflict between order and justice in international society.
While dramatic changes are taking place on the international scene and among the major powers, Africa continues to suffer from a multitude of violent conflicts. The toll of these conflicts is monumental in terms of war damage to productivity, scarce resources diverted to armaments and military organizations, and the resulting insecurity, displacement, and destruction. At the same time, Africans, in response to internal demands as well as to international changes, have begun to focus their attention and energies on these problems and are trying innovative ways to resolve differences by nonviolent means. The outcomes of these attempts have urgent and complex implications for the future of the continent with respect to human rights, principles of democracy, and economic development.

In this book, African, European, and U.S. experts examine these important issues and the prospects for conflict management and resolution in Africa. They review the scholarship in resolution in light of international changes now taking place. Addressing the undying, internal causes of conflict, they question whether global events will promote peace or threaten to unleash even more conflict.

The authors focus their analysis on the issues involved in African conflicts and examine the areas in need of the most dramatic changes. They offer specific recommendations for dealing with current problems, but caution that unless policymakers confront the security situation in Africa, further destruction to national unity and political and economic stability is imminent. Case studies and themes for further, long-term research are recommended.

An unforgettable firsthand account of a people's response to genocide and what it tells us about humanity.

This remarkable debut book chronicles what has happened in Rwanda and neighboring states since 1994, when the Rwandan government called on everyone in the Hutu majority to murder everyone in the Tutsi minority. Though the killing was low-tech--largely by machete--it was carried out at shocking speed: some 800,000 people were exterminated in a hundred days. A Tutsi pastor, in a letter to his church president, a Hutu, used the chilling phrase that gives Philip Gourevitch his title.

With keen dramatic intensity, Gourevitch frames the genesis and horror of Rwanda's "genocidal logic" in the anguish of its aftermath: the mass displacements, the temptations of revenge and the quest for justice, the impossibly crowded prisons and refugee camps. Through intimate portraits of Rwandans in all walks of life, he focuses on the psychological and political challenges of survival and on how the new leaders of postcolonial Africa went to war in the Congo when resurgent genocidal forces threatened to overrun central Africa.

Can a country composed largely of perpetrators and victims create a cohesive national society? This moving contribution to the literature of witness tells us much about the struggle everywhere to forge sane, habitable political orders, and about the stubbornness of the human spirit in a world of extremity.

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families is the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.

Genocide results from the culmination of conflicts over identity. A group of people that feels threatened by extinction resorts to genocide as a pathologically defensive reaction. This poses a security dilemma that can only be broken by quelling the feelings of threat and fear that prompt mass violence. In order to prevent genocide, it is essential to understand the internal dynamics of identity conflict. It is also important to intervene at the early stages of identity conflict; the parties involved require external help to ease tensions. In this volume, noted thinkers and practitioners of conflict management, who hail from ten different countries, present ideas on how to prevent identity issues from causing fear and escalating into genocide. They focus on measures for handling the internal dynamics of parties facing identity conflicts, as well as considerations for arranging external assistance. Contributors address the problem of outbidders, actors whose non-conciliatory attitudes put them in positions of leadership in their identity groups. Since political extremism and violence can signal resolve and commitment to a group cause, moderates give way to hardliners. Spoilers, who believe that peace undermines their interests and power, also play a key role in the dynamics of conflicts. Careful attention is necessary to select appropriate third parties who can pull conflicting parties off the course of conflict. The authors discuss the concepts and practices involved in changing structures and attitudes to ease tensions, as well as the measures interveners must take to work in the midst of conflicting groups.
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