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Introduction: Absence of War or Enduring Peace?

  • Félix E. Martín
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Abstract

Subsequent to 1945 most interstate wars have occurred between neighboring countries in the periphery.1 As a direct result of these armed conflicts over 17 million people have perished—a large number compared to World War I.2 Moreover, as it has been evident by events in Africa, in the Persian Gulf, in the Balkans, and in the former Soviet republics, the transformation of the international order in the 1990s has not changed or abated this trend. While most scholars in international relations and in other social sciences focus on explaining the causes of war as a way to prevent it, scant attention is devoted to the prevalence of peace among potential adversaries. This serious theoretical neglect in the study of international relations was addressed by John Gaddis when he classified the period from 1946 to 1989 in U.S.–Soviet relations as The Long Peace. His purpose was to draw attention to the theoretical and historical significance of the absence of any major armed conflict between these archrivals. A parallel is drawn here and the lack of major intra-regional war in South America since the end of the Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay in 1935 is underscored as a significant case for understanding interstate relations among countries in the periphery. It is important to emphasize some similarities between the two cases and the causes for the more enduring character of the South American long peace.3

Keywords

International Relation Armed Conflict Potential Adversary Territorial Dispute Security Regime 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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