Monday, May 23, 2005

Are war and armed conflict in decline?

Gregg Easterbrook has an important and controversial article in this week's The New Republic here (sub req'd), arguing that war and armed conflict are in decline. Part of the basis of his argument comes from this study, Peace and Conflict 2005: A Global Survey of Armed Conflicts, Self-Determination Movements, and Democracy, by Monty G. Marshall and Ted Robert Gurr (you can download the pdf from the linked site).

I'm still reading the study, so I'm not yet ready to comment on whether I think it or Easterbrook is right in asserting that conflict has been in long term decline since the end of the Cold War. Nor am I ready to comment on what, if that is so, are the reasons for decline. But the article is fascinating, and so is the study, even if there is ground for skepticism. But Julian Ku at Opinio Juris has very interesting comments, here.

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