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The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

1999, Vol. 2 No. 1 .

Peacemaking in International Conflict: Methods and Techniques
Edited by I William Zartman & J Lewis Rasmussen

(Washington DC: United States Institute of Peace, 1997)
412pp. Index. $35.00; ISBN 1-878379-61-5. Pb.: $19.95; 1-878379-60-7.

The stated purpose of this volume is to provide the reader with an overview of the tools and skills that are currently used in international conflict resolution and to critically asses them. Overall it achieves this aim admirably, although the editors seem unsure of their target audience with some chapters aimed at a broad audience of practitioners and interested lay-persons while others require an in-depth knowledge of conflict resolution theory as a prerequisite.

The first section of this book covers some of the seminal thoughts of conflict resolution (CR), both as an orientation towards the Post-Cold War world and as a burgeoning way to view the world, stemming from international relations, sociology, psychology and law. The three chapters by Druckman, Bercovitch, and Bilder cover a majority of the fundamental activities studied and performed by CR theorists and practitioners; negotiation, mediation, and adjudication. Each chapter provides an in-depth survey of the theories used to inform CR professionals and provides both a background and direction for further reading. Fisher and Kelman cover much of the same material in their chapters on social-psychological approaches, however Fisher's historical review imparts a great deal of knowledge and perspective of CR as a field with both a past and future. While Sampson correctly points out the vast contributions made to conflict resolution, reconciliation, and transformation by religious actors her assertions that they have more legitimacy in promoting reconciliation than non-religious figures is questionable. Hume gives us an interesting, brief and well written explanation of the changing role of diplomats and diplomacy in conflict resolution. However, he avoids or glosses over issues concerning the use of power and coercion by the US in securing its interests. This makes the chapter appear unbalanced as he clearly indicates that the Russians do so. Natsios' coverage of NGO roles captures many of the advantages and disadvantages of the organizations operating in the field, and covers some of the issues missed by Sampson. However, he limits his examination to developmental and crisis assistance NGOs, missing the recent growth of CR focused NGOs such as International Alert and Partners for Democratic Change. The final chapter, by Babbitt, covers aspects of training programs and their effects upon international conflict resolution. This is a well written chapter covering the approaches and uses of training as well as some if the critiques of current training methods and possible directions both for future training and for evaluation of current efforts.

Despite the general confusion regarding the level of the audience, this book is a useful addition to a CR oriented library, providing a good reference for the state of the field as it relates to international conflict resolution and intervention.

Landon Hancock, ICAR, George Mason University

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