PUAF 699K: Civil Conflict and Terrorism

Author data: 
Tim Gulden
Publication Date: 
January 2008
Document Type: 
The course begins with a review of the historical and analytic literature on civil violence demonstrating that there is no consensus regarding a simple set of causes. Civil violence is evidently generated by many different circumstances and is subject to wide local variation. Despite a significant decline in the global magnitude of civil violence since 1990, however, and a general reluctance of major governments to become entangled in the problem, it has emerged over the past 15 years as a central preoccupation of security policy. The course reviews episodes of international intervention in Bosnia, Somalia, Rwanda, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq noting that a justifying doctrine has developed reflected in the principle that all sovereign entities and the international community generally have responsibility to protect civilian populations against predatory violence. Nonetheless it is evident from each of the episodes that the capacity to provide that protection is incompletely developed and in particular that the requirements of post-conflict reconstruction have not been mastered in any recent instance. The course is designed to induce students to explore both the logic of justification and the apparent requirements of effective implementation, and to consider the difficult judgments involved in developing viable policy.