The Global Sources of Regional Transitions from War to Peace

Journal article

Miller, Benjamin (2001) The Global Sources of Regional Transitions from War to Peace, Journal of Peace Research 38 (2): 199–225.

This article examines the global sources of regional transitions from war to peace in two types of region: unstable (war-prone) and stable (not war-prone). I argue that the sources of regional hot wars are regional and domestic rather than global. Similarly, the possibility of reaching a high-level 'warm peace' (i.e. conflict resolution) depends on regional and domestic forces. Accordingly, there is only limited influence of competing great powers on stable regions which are not war-prone. Yet, global factors can make a difference with regard to unstable war-prone regions depending on the type of great-power engagement. The great powers can bring about a lower level of 'cold peace' through conflict reduction if the great-power intervention in war-prone regions is hegemonic or cooperative. If, however, the type of great-power regional engagement is competitive, then the great powers play a permissive or even aggravating role with respect to the local violence in such regions. At the same time, great-power competition can bring about regional-war termination, which, in the absence of effective conflict resolution or peacemaking, leads to a regional cold war. Great-power hegemony or concert can also increase the likelihood of a transition to warm peace in stable regions, especially if they are populated by young democracies. The article applies the thesis to regional-war termination by the superpowers in the Middle East during the Cold War era. I also discuss the effects of US hegemony on the emergence of cold peace in the Middle East. The pacifying effects of great-power concert and hegemony were also shown in another war-prone region - the Balkans during the 19th and 20th centuries. Finally, both the contribution of international factors to regional peace, and the limitations of this contribution, can be seen in the post-World War II transition of Western Europe to warm peace.

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