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The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

2009, Vol.1, No.1 .

Leashing the Dogs of War: Conflict Management in a Divided World
Chester A. Crocker, Fen Olsen Hampson & Pamela Aall (eds.)

(United States Institute of Peace Press, Washington DC, 2007) 800 pp, PB, $36.00, ISBN 978-1-929223-96-1

The United States Institute of Peace?s latest volume in its ongoing series of books on contemporary conflict will have many fans eager for an update from their 2001 work on Turbulent Peace. This newest edition incorporates the many significant periods of our recent history including the 9/11 attacks, the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, the war in Iraq and the rise of al-Qaeda and other militia groups as illustrations of the monumental changes in our global security environment since then.

Leashing the Dogs of War sticks to the format of the previously successful volumes. A range of more than 40 well-known academics and practitioners have contributed to an examination of the various sources of conflict and challenges to global security, the uses and the limitations of force as a conflict management strategy, the uses and limitations of the rule of law, diplomacy, international mediation and non-official actors as a conflict management approach, as well as the role of institutions and governance. This book?s primary consideration is whether or not states can conduct both a war on terror and the implementation of conflict management policies simultaneously. Its conclusion is optimistic insofar as it argues that conflict management polices are critical to the creation of a less divided world even while the ?war on terrorism? continues.

It is true that the nature of the academic debate has shifted away from the various challenges of humanitarian interventions and the seemingly intractable nature of certain conflicts which characterised the period of the 1990s and early 2000s. The various chapters in this volume reflect this shift well by introducing some of the equally salient questions around, for example, whether democracy (or coercive democracy) can be the answer to a conflict ridden society?s problems. Marina Ottaway?s excellent and thought provoking piece ?Is Democracy the Answer?? points to the increasing evidence which suggests that coercive democratisation in post-conflict societies has not necessarily stabilised their countries nor consolidated their peace.

Leashing the Dogs of War will enjoy a wide readership, much like the previous volumes, among teaching staff and students of politics, international relations and peace and conflict studies, as well as practitioners in the field. The perfect blend of theory and practice as well as the fluid writing style throughout the volume will keep its readers engaged, no doubt begging the question of when the next volume in the series will be released and what other changes in our global security environment we might expect to see by then

Dr. Cathy Gormley-Heenan, School of Policy Studies, University of Ulster

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