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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The ideal time for them to strike, therefore, is shortly after the collapse of barfy power but before the international community chooses to intervene page With regard to the impact of geography, Posen believes that how members of a group scattered in a country matters. This would have made an interesting contrast to the situation in Yugoslavia, where the inherited weapons were nearly all serviceable and useful tbe the forces receiving them, but Posen does not make this argument.

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

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 conrlict institutions such as the International Brry Court gaining prominence. Please login to be able to download file.

Serbs outnumbered the Croats only two to one and enjoyed no economic advantage. Technological secjrity geographical variables are analysed by Posen in the article. 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. As the past decade has shown, number of ethnic conflicts did not skyrocketed and Posen’s theory was not needed much.

The collapse of central government, be it in Belgrade or Moscow, requires the emerging groups particularly irregular forces to calculate risk. The Security Dilemma and Ethnic Conflict is useful for anyone with an interest in the current conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

Competition of the empires during the middle rhe made Croat-Serb relations tense. Whilst nuclear weapons were not present in Yugoslavia, this absence may be seen as a motivating factor not only for outside intervention but the aggressive tactics carried out by communities across the collapsed state.

Click here to sign up. The article securiity, as one tthe expect from an MIT academic, extremely clear and expertly written. As a realist, throughout the article Posen emphasizes that an insecure group will prefer offense to defense. For Posen, people look at the past and find out how that group behaved last time when it was not constrained.

But during the communist war and famine ofUkrainian president blamed the bolshevicks, not the Russians.


However, this can lead on to a minor factor — the issue of nuclear weapons. No clear bias in relation to the events is apparent which is unusual for pieces relating to the Yugoslav Wars. Nevertheless, this article is a nice example of the application of a realist concept to a state-level-situation.

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. 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.

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. 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. The technological study is solely in regard to nuclear weapons capabilities disregarding conventional arms and how these supersede factors such as historical grievances, ethnic grouping and criminality in contributing to regional tensions and how they exacerbate the security dilemma.

In the Russia-Ukraine case, nuclear weapons mute the conventional competition, making group cohesion less of a military asset. This article attempts to apply a basic realist concept, security dilemma, to account for civil conflicts following the collapse of the USSR.

Security Dilemma and Ethnic Conflict

Bibliographic Information Please login to be able to download file. 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.

The belief held that offensive military operations are more useful to nation states, particularly ones in an anarchic international system, to defensive capabilities. 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. Secondly, the issue of ethnic minorities conflic enclaves is raised by Posen.

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 qnd a Serb Army. Posen alludes to a number of variables that lead to the variance in ethnic conflict across regions. Whilst Germany did support Croatia, this support was not in the form of military intervention. Skip to main content. Posen belives that although “groupness” is an important factor posej security dilemma, if both sides have nuclear weapons, confloct dilemma will not be very intense.


Posen identifies two conditions securrity make security dilemma more intense. Any forces on hand are suitable for offensive campaign. When empires collapse, some groups will have greater offensive capability because they will be surrounding other groups. Most Popular The Limits of the State: Outside intervention in the affairs concerning at least one nuclear power is, therefore, even more unlikely.

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 securihy the Soviet Union mainly due to the role of liberal international organisations but it is more than reliable for these two examples.

Absence of a strong state creates an anarchy within the country and makes each group worry about its own survival.

Posen aims to ascertain the differences in ethnic conflict across regions. Conversely, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia was almost absent of foreign intervention and the subsequent effect of this intervention, perceived or otherwise due to a lack of external involvement or political baggage in the region.

Firstly, a history of warfare and conflict between the groups. Between Russia and Ukraine there is the issue of the Holmodor and the control of Ukraine by Moscow throughout the previous centuries — along with the belief held by many Russian traditionalists that Sscurity is inseparable from modern Russia due to its role in establishing Russia. The geographical proximity of the two states to Western Europe also contributes to the reluctance of both to act in an aggressive ethniic page Emerging groups quickly trying to evaluate the threat held not just by armed enemy combatants, but all groups in close proximity.

The Empirical Record Citizenship and Ethnicity: The Balkans, particularly the three way conflict between Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims Serb and Slovene conflict receives a brief mention, but due to the extremely short and sharp nature of that conflict it is not explored furtherand tension between Ukraine and Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union are his focal points.

Among those groups, there will be competition for security. Posen argues that Croatia overestimated the reliability and influence of the Federal Germany as an ally. Because neighbors wish to remain autonomous and secure, they will react by trying to strengthen their own positions.

This situation will pose a threat to other entities and will be responded in turn.