Facing proliferating ethnic conflicts since the end of the Cold War (the most important ones being Rwanda and Yugoslavia)the international community needs to find new and efficient solutions to ensure peace between ethnic groups and give them political power in order to prevent new massacres and ethnic cleansings. Scholars have proposed many solutions, like ethnic separation (Kaufmann), consociation democracy (Lijphart, Andreweg), and reconstruction of ethnic identities (Brown, Gottlieb) or state building (Tilly). According to Kaufmann, the only right solution to ethnic conflicts is ethnic separation because it sets apart populations and therefore reduces opportunities for further combats and for ethnic cleansings (massacre or genocide). However, I will show in this paper that ethnic partition is clearly an undoable, even dangerous solution. Therefore, ethnic separation is neither an efficient nor a viable solution, and that consociation democracy is much more likely to succeed while being at the same time a much more comprehensive solution, since it allows the reconstruction of ethnic identities and reaches the goals of the state building theory.
[...] He does not even clearly state what kind of separation he advocates: partition or secession? Will the new state be autonomous, or will it be dependent, and at which degree? What resources will it rely on to provide the population with services? These are questions of first importance for the survival of the new state, and for its legitimacy among the population. To finish with, Kaufmann does not indicate who must draw new borders. This is also of major importance because borders do not only separate people; they also distribute resources and power. [...]
[...] Thus, partition is a dangerous solution, and that the global process of partition suffers from a lack of legitimacy. How to gain legitimacy? By involving the elites in the negotiation. c. a solution: elite collaboration Facing an ethnic conflict, the only solution for the international community is to intervene to give legitimacy to the political power in order for it to efficiently manage the ethnic conflict. Instead of destroying the country by dividing it, the intervention is meant to the ethnic conflict by assisting the existing institutions, and give them power and legitimacy. [...]
[...] most often not able to bear, and the international community is not willing to pay, for a simple reason: even though there is a risk of ethnic cleansing or genocide, no one can predict it with certainty. Moreover, Kaufmann himself uses a faulty reasoning by supposing that every ethnic tension ends up in a civil war. Violent conflict can be reconstructed back to ethnic harmony, if an intervention is made to stop the production of discourses reinforcing ethnic identity at the level of the elites. [...]
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