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International Community and Peaceful Change

Resat Bayer
Koç University
Resat Bayer
Koç University
Open Panel

Abstract

There is extensive scholarly and policy interest in the role that the international community plays in managing and resolving global issues. This interest particularly arises with its role in conflict management and peacebuilding among acrimonious political entities. Yet, while there is extensive literature on the role of international community in management of intractable conflicts and in the prevention of escalation of hostilities, it is less clear how successful it is in interstate peacebuilding. Moreover, it is necessary to consider this topic both theoretically and empirically. This is important as the factors that contribute to the management of conflict might not necessarily translate to a substantive improvement of relations, and future conflict prevention. Rather, such management efforts can do more harm than good if the conditions of the conflict are not considered sufficiently. There has been little interest on whether and how major powers, intergovernmental organizations, and norms affect the quality of peace. This paper argues that it is necessary to consider the quality of the peace when discussing peacebuilding and relies upon a framework that captures several levels of peace. It furthermore maintains that the impact of the international community and their preferences will vary at different levels of peace. The study statistically examines both transitions to higher levels of peace as well as onset of war for all former belligerents since 1816 through event history analysis. The results indicate that particularly at the lower levels of peace, the role of the international community is limited and can even be detrimental.