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The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

1998, Vol. 1 No. 1 .

Violence and Peace: From the Atomic Bomb to Ethnic Cleansing
Pierre Hassner.

(Budapest: Central European University Press, 1997). 282 pp. Index. $49.95; ISBN 1 8 3860 075 0 Pb: $17.95; ISBN 1 8 5866 076 9

Violence and Peace: From the Atomic Peace to Ethnic Cleansing is a thought- provoking collection of essays on a diverse range of issues which have preoccupied scholars of International Relations since 1945. This timely volume offers a retrospective overview of the state of the international system over the past fifty years. Hassner selects the years 1945 and 1989 as the entry points of his enquiry. For Hassner, 1945 marks not just the ending of one conflict i.e. World War II, but the beginning of a new period of international tension i.e. the Cold War. Similarly, he argues that 1989, despite the collapse of the Cold War system, has heralded an era of renewed conflict with the break up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. Within this theoretical frame work Hassner astutely tackles the problems of nuclear deterrence, nationalism and cultural identity in a series of incisive essays. On the question of nuclear deterrence the author concludes that the abolition of nuclear weapons in the future is an unlikely scenario. Instead, he asserts that governments from both East and West will pursue a policy of 'minimum deterrence' regulated by popular opinion and economic constraint. With respect to nationalism Hassner suggests that since 1945 the 'triumph of regionalism' in Europe i.e. economic integration has been a main factor in the 'erosion of nationalism'. This has also led, again in the case of Europe, to the redundancy of the concept of the nation-state. Finally, the author offers an interesting observation on cultural identity in Europe. He opines that the integration of the economies of Western Europe has led to destabilisation in the region through 'openness'. First, economic destabilisation through free trade; second cultural destabilisation through immigration. Hassner does not explore the former in any great detail, but suggests that the latter problem will require the attention of EU governments struggling to deal with the mass exodus of job seekers from Eastern Europe seeking employment in Western Europe. He pessimistically predicts that economic and cultural openness will continue to require serious attention from EU governments in the field of immigration policy. This book will undoubtedly be of much use to scholars and students interested in Conflict Resolution and International Relations.

Ian Jackson, Lancaster University

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