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It made sense to treat international conflict as occurring between nation states that acted in a unitary fashion on the basis of stable and discrete national interests rooted in geopolitics, natural resources, and other enduring features of countries.If the behavior of states was dictated by such interests, it followed that conflict between states reflected conflicting interests.
Old patterns have come unstuck, and if new patterns are emerging, it is still too soon to define them clearly.
The list of potentially epoch-making changes is familiar by now: the end of an era of bipolarity, a new wave of democratization, increasing globalization of information and economic power, more frequent efforts at international coordination of security policy, a rash of sometimes-violent expressions of claims to rights based on cultural identity, and a redefinition of sovereignty that imposes on states new responsibilities to their citizens and the world community.
These tools of Thus, states or coalitions of states tried to prevent or mitigate violence by using threats of armed force (deterrence, coercive diplomacy, defensive alliances such as NATO); economic sanctions and other tangible nonmilitary threats and punishments, such as the withdrawal of foreign aid; and direct military force to establish demilitarized zones.
States were also sensitive to the delicate balance of nuclear power that could be jeopardized by this kind of coercive diplomacy.
Finally, we introduce the rest of the book, in which contributors address the above questions in the general case and in the context of a set of conflict resolution techniques that are likely to be important in the coming years.
The major practices of international conflict management during the Cold War period—the practices of traditional diplomacy—reflected the state system dominant in world politics for centuries.
What can the careful examination of historical experience and other sources of insight offer them?
We identify the ways in which a careful and judicious examination of empirical evidence can be of use to conflict resolution practitioners and the limitations of generalizations from past experience.
For this reason, in particular, they sought security regimes (see Jervis, 1983) that provided norms devised to reduce the risks of escalation.
The implicit understandings gained through an extended arms control negotiation process served to reduce the chances of superpower military confrontations during this period.