Peace in South America: Norm, Anomaly, or Historical Paradox?

  • Félix E. Martín


Interstate relations in South America have been comparatively more peaceful than in any other world region since 1935. The evolution and permanence of regional peace is particularly intriguing in the midst of enduring conditions for war and the actual outbreak of several militarized interstate disputes and diplomatic crises over the years. For some, the South American peace is just a normal historical development—product of the relative degree of satisfaction with the territorial status quo among these strong, independent states.1 For others, it represents an unusual phenomenon, because it defies objective regional empirical conditions, normally linked to the outbreak of war in other world regions.2 Still a third position espoused by this study considers paradoxical the contrast between the level of internal political violence in individual polities and the incidence of relative intraregional interstate peace in South America over a seventy-year period.3


Armed Conflict South American Country Potential Adversary International Peace Territorial Dispute 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Arie M. Kacowicz, Zones of Peace in the Third World: South America and West Africa in Comparative Perspective (New York: State University of New York Press, 1998), pp. 67–124.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kalevi J. Holsti, The State, War, and the State of War (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996 [repr. 2004]), pp. 150–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Miguel A. Centeno, Blood and War: War and the Nation-State in Latin America (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Thomas E. Skidmore and Peter H. Smith, Modern Latin America, 6th ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 130–132 and 240–243;Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Melvin Small and J. David Singer, Resort To Arms: International and Civil Wars, 1816–1980 (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1982), pp. 46–54.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Robert N. Burr, By Reason or Force: Chile and the Balancing of Power in South America, 1830–1905 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1965), p. 1.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Jack Child, “Conflicts in Latin America: Present and Potential,” research paper (Stockholm: SIPRI [Stockholm International Research Institute], 1980);Google Scholar
  8. Jorge I. Domínguez, “Ghosts From the Past: War, Territorial and Boundary Disputes in Mainland Central and South America Since 1960,” unpublished manuscript, Harvard University, May 1977Google Scholar
  9. Gregory F. Treverton, “Interstate Conflict in Latin America,” in Kevin J. Middlebrook and Carlos Rico, eds., The United States and Latin America in the 1980s (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1986), pp. 565–591Google Scholar
  10. Wolf Grabendorff, “Interstate Conflict Behavior and Regional Potential for Conflict in Latin America,” Working Papers, no. 116, Latin American Program (Washington, DC: Wilson Center, 1982);Google Scholar
  11. Kenneth Nolde, “Arms and Security in South America: Towards an Alternate View,” PhD dissertation, University of Miami, 1980, pp. 285–287.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Adrian J. English, Armed Forces of Latin America: Their Histories, Development, Present Strength and Military Potential (New York: Jane’s Publishing, 1984).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Carl Von Clausewitz, On War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), p. 75.Google Scholar
  14. Raymond Aron, Peace and War: A Theory of International Relations (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson Press, 1966), p. 21.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Johan Galtung, “Editorial,” Journal of Peace Research, vol. 1, no. 1 (1964), p. 2.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Johan Galtung, “Violence, Peace and Peace Research,” Journal of Peace Research, vol. 6, no. 3 (1969), p. 183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 18.
    Kenneth E. Boulding, Stable Peace (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1978), p. 3.Google Scholar
  18. 24.
    Robert Pickus, “New Approaches,” in W. Scott Thompson and Kenneth M. Jensen, eds., Approaches to Peace: An Intellectual Map (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 1991), especially pp. 230–233.Google Scholar
  19. 25.
    Glenn H. Snyder and Paul Diesing, Conflict Among Nations: Bargaining, Decision Making, and System Structure in International Crises (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977), p. 10.Google Scholar
  20. Richard Ned Lebow, Between Peace and War: The Nature of International Crisis (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984).Google Scholar
  21. 27.
    Paul F. Diehl, “What Are They Fighting For? The Importance of Issues in International Conflict Research,” Journal of Peace Research, vol. 29, no. 3 (August 1992), p. 333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 28.
    Kenneth N. Waltz, Man the State and War: A Theoretical Analysis (New York: Columbia University Press, 1959);Google Scholar
  23. Geoffrey Blainey, The Causes of War, 3rd ed. (New York: Free Press, 1988);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Michael Howard, The Causes of War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984);Google Scholar
  25. Jack S. Levy, “The Causes of War: A Review of Theories and Evidence,” in Philip E. Tetlock et al., eds., Behavior, Society and Nuclear War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), vol. I, pp. 209–333;Google Scholar
  26. Stephen W. Van Evera, Causes of War: Power and the Root of Conflict (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999).Google Scholar
  27. 30.
    John L. Gaddis, “International Relations Theory and the End of the Cold War,” International Security, vol. 17, no. 3 (Winter 1992–1993), p. 25.Google Scholar
  28. 32.
    Bruce M. Russett and Harvey Starr, World Politics: The Menu for Choice (New York: W. H. Freeman, 1989), p. 411.Google Scholar
  29. 34.
    R. W. Mansbach and John A. Vasquez, In Search of Theory: A New Paradigm for Global Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1981), pp. 28–68.Google Scholar
  30. 35.
    Kalevi J. Holsti, Peace and War: Armed Conflicts and International Order 1648–1989 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 306–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Roger Williamson, “Why Is Religion Still a Factor in Armed Conflict?” Bulletin of Peace Proposals, vol. 21, no. 3 (September 1990), pp. 243–253.Google Scholar
  32. 36.
    Robert Jervis, “War and Misperception,” in Robert I. Rotberg and Theodore K. Rabb, eds., The Origin and Prevention of Major Wars (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 106.Google Scholar
  33. 37.
    Randolph M. Siverson and Harvey Starr, “Opportunity, Willingness, and The Diffusion of War,” American Political Science Review, vol. 84, no. 1 (March 1990), p. 63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Paul F. Diehl and Gary Goertz, “Interstate Conflict Over Exchanges of Homeland Territory, 1816–1980,” Political Geography Quarterly, vol. 10, no. 4 (October 1991), pp. 342–355;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Robert Mandel, “Roots of Modern Interstate Border Disputes,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 24, no. 3 (September 1980), pp. 427–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 38.
    John B. Allcock et al., Border and Territorial Disputes, 3rd ed. (London, England: Longman Group UK Limited, 1992), pp. 547–611;Google Scholar
  37. Gordon Ireland, Boundaries, Possessions, and Conflicts in South America (New York: Octagon Books, 1971).Google Scholar
  38. 41.
    Karl W. Deutsch et al., Political Community and the North Atlantic Area (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1969).Google Scholar
  39. 55.
    Nazli Choucri and Robert C. North, “In Search of Peace Systems: Scandinavia and the Netherlands; 1870–1970,” in Bruce M. Russett, ed., Peace, War, and Numbers (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1972), pp. 239–274.Google Scholar
  40. 56.
    Nazli Choucri and Robert C. North, Nations in Conflict: National Growth and International Violence (San Francisco: W. H. Freeman, 1975).Google Scholar
  41. 62.
    Stephen R. Rock, Why Peace Breaks Out: Great Power Rapprochement in Historical Perspective (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989).Google Scholar
  42. 67.
    John L. Gaddis, The Long Peace: Inquiries Into the History of the Cold War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), pp. 215–245.Google Scholar
  43. Charles W. Kegley, ed., The Long Postwar Peace: Contending Explanations and Projections (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1991)Google Scholar
  44. Sean M. Lynn-Jones, ed., The Cold War and After: Prospects for Peace (Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1991).Google Scholar
  45. 70.
    Robert Jervis, The Illogic of American Nuclear Strategy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984), pp. 26–34 and 150–157;Google Scholar
  46. Robert Jervis, The Meaning of the Nuclear Revolution: Statecraft and the Prospect of Armageddon (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989), pp. ix, 7, 8–13, and especially pp. 23–24;Google Scholar
  47. Michael Mandelbaum, The Nuclear Revolution: International Politics Before and After Hiroshima (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 71.
    Kenneth N. Waltz, “The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: More May Be Better,” Adelphi Paper, no. 171 (London: International Institute for Strategic Studies, 1981).Google Scholar
  49. 72.
    John Mueller, Retreat From Doomsday: The Obsolescence of Major Wars (New York: Basic Books, 1989).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Félix E. Martín 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Félix E. Martín

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations