Cost Benefit Analysis Of Third Party Intervention In Intrastate Conflict

6379 words - 26 pages

Cost Benefit Analysis of Third-Party Intervention in Intrastate Conflict

GIVEN THE RECENT PROLIFERATION OF INTRASTATE CONFLICT, THE ROLE OF THIRD-PARTY INTERVENTION HAS BECOME INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT TO THE PEACE AND SECURITY OF THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM. HOWEVER, THE ESCALATION OF VIOLENCE OFTEN ATTRIBUTED TO MILITARY FORMS OF INTERVENTION MAY HAVE SEVERE COSTS FOR BOTH THE TARGET OF INTERVENTION AND THE STATE CHOOSING TO INTERVENE. PAST LITERATURE HAS FOCUSED ON THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SUCH INTERVENTION WITHOUT PROPERLY EVALUATING THE REASONS WHY A THIRD-PARTY CHOOSES TO COMMIT MILITARY RESOURCES TO SUCH ENDEAVORS. THIS STUDY WILL EXAMINE BOTH THE RELATIVE CAPABILITIES OF THE ACTORS INVOLVED, AND THE STATED REASONS FOR INTERVENTION, IN AN ATTEMPT TO DISCOVER WHAT SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES CAUSE AGGRESSIVE FORMS OF INTERVENTION. COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS IS EMPLOYED BY THIRD PARTIES AND IS ASSUMED TO DICTATE THE WAY IN WHICH INTERVENTION TAKES PLACE. ULTIMATELY, THE MATERIAL INTERESTS OF THE INTERVENER SEEM TO PLAY A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN THE DECISION TO TAKE AGGRESSIVE ACTION IN A TARGET STATE.

Introduction

Since the conclusion of World War II, the nature of military conflict has been dominated by clashes between internal state actors. Indeed, as much as 80 percent of the wars and casualties since World War II have been caused by internal conflicts (David 1997). Each day the world is presented with a tragic loss of life connected with the instability of sovereign states. In the six-day period between October 8th and October 13th of 2003, the Wall Street Journal reported a disturbing set of events.
Tribal fighters in the Congo shot and hacked to death 65 civilians; a car bomb in Bogotá, Colombia, killed at least six people including two police officers; gunmen in Indonesia killed 9 people targeted for being members of the Christian faith; and Bolivia was forced to declare martial law in a city just outside its capital because of violent demonstrations[1]. Although such events may not independently warrant intervention, disturbing instances of violence present the members of the global community with difficult decisions regarding intervention. Given the severity and continuousness of such violence, there can be no doubt that some action is warranted, but the question this study attempts to illuminate is what conditions of internal conflict warrant the use of direct military intervention by a third party.

The Intervention Problem

Regan (1996) defines intrastate conflict as conflict between two groups within the boundary of the state and further requires that such conflicts must have resulted in greater than 200 casualties. This requirement of a minimum level of violence serves to eliminate most demonstrations, coups and riots from consideration as internal conflict (Regan 1996). While this definition fails to offer any specific insight into the complexities of internal conflict, such factors will be illuminated by the...

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