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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This would have made an interesting contrast to the 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.

Security Dilemma and Ethnic Conflict

The argument is made by Posen that nationalist or aggressive manoeuvres by Russians in Ukraine may have been limited due to Ukraine retaining some of the nuclear weapons from the collapse of the Soviet Union. Comments Please login to be able to comment.

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. Interestingly, Posen identifies a factor that is less obvious than the others — the issue of foreign legitimacy. A group identity helps the individual members cooperate to achieve their purposes.

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

Serbs viewed this diplomatic support as reminiscent of Nazi agreements with Croatian fascists. In the Balkans there are numerous instances across the previous centuries, most recently in WW2 and the Croat srcurity to classify Serbs as minorities in Croatia.

How does Posen approach these problems? Russia, despite losing vast amounts of power, had a great deal more nuclear infrastructure and inherited the vast majority of delivery methods thus making Ukrainian nuclear ability somewhat hollow.

But Russia’s human and material resources were three times more than Ukraine’s, and it was unlikely that the balance of military power will soon shift against Russia. 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. Among those groups, there will be competition for security. As such, an assessment of military capability and intent may be based on something such as a hotly contested historical event Croat alliances with Nazi Germany and the historical implications that come with this are used by Posen as opposed to the more reliable methods of reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence gathering.


Please login to be able to download file. Firstly, a history of warfare and conflict between the groups. Therefore, states will choose the offensive if they wish to survive. Why Croats and Serbs fought a war, and why Ukraine and Russia did not. Absence of a strong state creates an anarchy within the country and makes each group worry about its own survival.

This situation will pose a threat to other entities and will be responded in turn. The WW2 era Croat alliance with Nazi Germany is used well by Posen and, in my view, convincing in understanding the perception side of the argument. Any forces on hand are suitable for offensive campaign.

Posen discusses comparatively minor factors conscription in the previous state, criminal organisations and the proliferation of armsbut the more pressing factors constitute the bedrock of his argument. Please login to be able to comment. This relentless pursuit of defensive security is then transformed into a dilemmx that is viewed by the other as solely offensive in nature. Finally, the role of weapons from the collapsed state, either through to successor governments or secessionist movements is one that I feel does not go into enough depth.

Whilst Abd did support Croatia, this support was not in the form of military intervention.

But during the communist war and famine ofUkrainian president blamed the bolshevicks, not the Russians. It is concise, to the point and provides a fascinating insight into the more pressing security issues across Southern and Eastern Europe of the s. In the Russia-Ukraine case, nuclear weapons mute the conventional competition, making group cohesion less of a military asset. Click here to sign up.


Outside intervention in the affairs concerning at least one nuclear power is, therefore, even more unlikely. He believes that technology is a rare determinant of the balance. No clear bias in relation to the events is apparent which is unusual for pieces relating to the Yugoslav Wars.

Indeed, the subsequent Ukrainian abandonment of its nuclear weapons lends much credence to the realist approach to international security it is questionable as to whether Russia would have engaged in conflict with Ukraine if the annd had retained nuclear weapons, regardless of their condition or state of delivery methods and reading an account of relations at the time is fascinating.

Realism argues that anarchical nature of the international system makes security the primary concern of the states. As the past decade has shown, number of ethnic conflicts did not skyrocketed and Posen’s theory was not needed much. This is a fair assessment page Posen argues that Croatia overestimated the reliability and influence of fonflict Federal Germany as an ally. Remember me on this computer. When empires collapse, some groups will have greater offensive capability because they will be surrounding other groups.

Posen identifies two conditions that make security dilemma more intense.

Security Dilemma and Ethnic Conflict – Summary Hub

Secondly, the issue of ethnic minorities and enclaves is raised by Posen. Emerging groups quickly trying to evaluate the threat held not just by armed enemy combatants, but all groups in close proximity. This approach would, however, not be sufficient in explaining the Yugoslav Wars as a whole, or the relationship between Russia and Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union mainly due to the role of liberal international organisations but it is more than reliable for these two examples.

However, this can lead on to a minor factor — the issue of nuclear weapons.

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