The Security Dilemma and Ethnic Conflict. Authors; Authors and affiliations. Barry R. Posen Nuclear Weapon Military Power Ethnic Conflict Military Capability. Posen first discusses security dilemma and then uses this concept to explain two cases: Why Croats and Serbs fought a war, and why Ukraine. 24 Posen, Barry, ‘The Security Dilemma and Ethnic Conflict’, Survival, 35 (), pp. 27–47 CrossRef | Google Scholar, esp. pp. 27–

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Interestingly, Posen identifies a factor that is less obvious than the others — the issue of foreign legitimacy. Serbs viewed this diplomatic support as reminiscent of Nazi agreements with Croatian fascists. Therefore, despite not offering military assistance the ramifications in terms of ethnic conflict were much the same. However, this can lead on to a minor factor — the issue of nuclear dilemmaa.

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Security Dilemma and Ethnic Conflict – Summary Hub

Throughout the history of the Balkans there has been a spread of ethnic groups across the states, with the exception of Slovenia. Posen is correct in treating the nuclear arsenals of Ukraine and Russia as more important in contributing to the security dilemma than the other factors, but neglects to mention the considerable amount of immediately useful conventional weapons in the region. For Posen, people look at the past and find out how that group behaved last time confloct it was not constrained.

The geographical proximity of the two states to Western Europe also contributes to the reluctance of both to act in an aggressive manner convlict The ideal time for them to strike, therefore, is shortly after the collapse of centralised power but before the international community chooses to intervene page The Croat belief, particularly among those on the far right, was that the modern day German state would support the newly founded Croatian state and the Croatian people across a collapsing Yugoslavia.


However, once the last weapon is gone, Russian nationalists may become much more assertive. He argues that there are two factors affecting offense-defense balance: The article is, as one would expect from an MIT academic, extremely clear and expertly written.

Nevertheless, this article is a nice example of the application of a realist concept to a state-level-situation. Enter the email address you signed up with and we’ll email you a reset link.

‘The Security Dilemma and Ethnic Conflict’ – A Literature Review | Daniel Blanthorn –

Skip to main content. It seems that he assumed that the fall of imperial regimes will bring about an anarchical political environment in many countries where ethnic conflicts will be very likely.

The Empirical Record Citizenship and Ethnicity: Posen, whilst identifying Yugoslavia as a nation exercising universal conscription, provides no insight into the dominance of Serbs holding senior positions within the JNA and the perception held by the Croat community that the JNA was a Serb Army. The threat of international intervention is particularly relevant in the years after the Cold War, with humanitarian intervention becoming more popular among western heads of state and institutions such as the International Criminal Court gaining prominence.

Security Dilemma and Ethnic Conflict

This would have made an interesting barrh to decurity situation in Yugoslavia, where the inherited weapons were nearly all serviceable and useful to the forces receiving them, but Posen does not make this argument. Publication year of the article shows that Posen was trying to come up with a theory by which future ethnic conflicts can be predicted, perhaps even be prevented. As a realist, throughout the article Posen emphasizes that an insecure group will prefer offense to defense.

Put simply, the security dilemma is where a group state, ethnic, cultural, political, religious and so on pursue security guarantees that, ultimately, make the group less secure. Firstly, a history of warfare and conflict between the groups. Ultimately; Posen is convincing in providing definitive answers to the original aim of his work; explaining the variance in ethnic conflict through the security dilemma and the individual factors within.


Most Popular The Limits of the Ethic How does Posen secrity these problems?

Posen discusses comparatively minor factors conscription in the previous state, criminal organisations and the proliferation of armsbut the more pressing factors constitute the thr of his argument. Posen belives that although “groupness” is an important factor affecting security dilemma, if both sides have nuclear weapons, security dilemma will not be very intense. Tensions between Russia and Ukraine are, primarily, increased by nuclear weapons and only avoided by neither state wishing to appear as the aggressor in the eyes of western nations who they have no real relationship, historical or otherwise, with.

The answer is history. This competition will continue to a point at which the competing entity has got more power than needed for security.

Outside intervention in the affairs concerning at least one nuclear power is, therefore, even more unlikely. Posen first discusses security dilemma and then uses this concept to explain two cases: Among those groups, there will be competition for security.

Whilst Ukraine did inherit nuclear weapons after the collapse of the USSR, it is a matter of some debate as to how much of a capability they inherited and how useful these would have been in a confrontation with Russia. In regard to the Yugoslav wars, it is a useful insight into the conflict occurring at the time of writing and is one of the first to discount the simplistic explanations of primordialism and historical inevitability.

Thus, we should not exaggerate the impact of technology, except nuclear weapons.