Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Managing Ethnic Conflict in Spain

Managing Ethnic Conflict in Spain

Recent efforts to forge a coalition government comprised of several ethnic factions in post-Taliban Afghanistan reveal the centrality of ethnic conflict in contemporary world politics. Indeed, ethnic conflict has assumed center stage in some of most visible and emblematic political struggles of our times: strife by indigenous peoples in Chiapas; civil war in East Timor, Burundi, and the Balkans; and violent clashes against the state by separatist groups in Chechnya, Northern Ireland, and Kashmir. However, our understanding of the conditions that lead to the creation of political arrangements conducive to peaceful coexistence in historically fractious and ethnically diverse lands remains impoverished, making it imperative for scholars and the policy-making community to ponder the lessons provided by countries with significant experience in dealing with ethnic-based conflict and related phenomena, such as separatist politics and terrorism.

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