The Banality of Ethnic War

  title={The Banality of Ethnic War},
  author={John Mueller},
  journal={International Security},
  • J. Mueller
  • Published 1 July 2000
  • Political Science
  • International Security
In this article I assess the violence that took place in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda in the 1990s and argue that the whole concept of “ethnic warfare” may be severely misguided. Speciacally, insofar as it is taken to imply a war of all against all and neighbor against neighbor—a condition in which pretty much everyone in one ethnic group becomes the ardent, dedicated, and murderous enemy of everyone in another group—ethnic war essentially does not exist. I argue instead that ethnic… 
The concept of "ethnic war" tends to suggest a Hobbesian war of all against all and neighbor against neighbor. Although neighbors do sometimes enter into the fray, "ethnic war" often can be more
Bosnia ’ s Civil War Origins and Violence Dynamics
The civil war in Bosnia has received heavy coverage in the popular press and in scholarly writings.The fact that the war took place in Europe, the extent of ethnic cleansing and killing, the
The Longest Siege Humanitarians and Profiteers in the Battle for Sarajevo
Bosnia has a special place in the post-Cold War landscape of armed conflict and international intervention. The 1992–5 war in the former Yugoslav republic became the poster child of ‘ethnic conflict’
Rwanda, I: Into the Danger Zone
Unlike Europe, there has been no long-term trend toward an ethnically cleansed African continent. Not that ethnic violence is lacking. As Horowitz (1985) showed, the building blocks of African
Policing the Remnants of War
Certain standard, indeed classic, varieties of war have become so rare and unlikely that they could well be considered to be obsolescent, if not obsolete. Moreover, much, but not all, of what remains
Was nationalism the primary cause of the wars in the former Yugoslavia?
The wars in the former state of Yugoslavia that endured for most of the 1990’s have an established legacy today. They have come to be seen by those in the West as a gritty, difficult and unpleasant
Waging War among Civilians: The Production and Restraint of Counterinsurgent Violence in the Second Intifada
Author(s): Manekin, Devorah Sarah | Advisor(s): Keller, Edmond | Abstract: Theories of violence against civilians in conflict have tended to view combatants in homogenous terms, as the obedient pawns
Self-Defense Militias, Death Squads, and State Outsourcing of Violence in India and Turkey
ABSTRACT What explains the variation in states’ nonstate partners in civil warfare? States often use nonstate actors to do what their regular military forces cannot do well – navigate the local
The Clandestine Political Economy of War and Peace in Bosnia
Most contemporary intrastate military conflicts have a criminalized dimension: In various ways and to varying degrees they use smuggling networks and criminal actors to create and sustain the
The Dynamics of Internal Con o ict
John Mueller’s recent argument about the banality of “ethnic war” contains a curious glitch.1 Mueller would lead us to believe that the large-scale killings in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia during


The Dynamics of Internal Conflict
John Mueller’s recent argument about the banality of “ethnic war” contains a curious glitch.1 Mueller would lead us to believe that the large-scale killings in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia during
The war in Bosnia-Herzegovina : ethnic conflict and international intervention
Throughout American history, people with strong beliefs that ran counter to society's rules and laws have used civil disobedience to advance their causes. From the Boston Tea Party in 1773, to the
Ethnic Nationalism and International Conflict: The Case of Serbia
Does ethnicity affect the international system? What are the causes of violent conflict along ethnic lines? Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the outbreak of war in the Balkans, these
Containing Fear: The Origins and Management of Ethnic Conflict
S i n c e the end of the parts of Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Africa. Localities, states, and sometimes whole regions have been engulfed in convulsive fits of ethnic insecurity,
Possible and Impossible Solutions to Ethnic Civil Wars
Ethnic civil wars are burning in Bosnia, Croatia, Rwanda, Burundi, Angola, Sudan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Kashmir, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka, and are threatening to break out
One for All: The Logic of Group Conflict
In a book that challenges the most widely held ideas of why individuals engage in collective conflict, Russell Hardin offers an explanation of group action in its most destructive forms. Contrary to
Sri Lanka--Ethnic Fratricide and the Dismantling of Democracy
Focusing on the historical events of post-independence Sri Lanka, S. J. Tambiah analyzes the causes of the violent conflict between the majority Sinhalese Buddhists and the minority Tamils. He
The Myth of Global Chaos
When the Cold War ended in 1989, American hopes for a new world order were quickly disappointed. A new wave of violence soon erupted, engulfing places from Rwanda and Somalia to Chechnya and Bosnia.
Blood and Vengeance: One Family's Story of the War in Bosnia
Taking its place on the short list of essential books about the Bosnian struggle, Blood and Vengeance succeeds in putting a human face-on the conflict, rendering its devastation comprehensible to
Territoriality and Plausible Deniability: Serbian Paramilitaries in the Bosnian War
During the first months of the 1992 Bosnian civil war, ethnic Serb paramilitaries played a key role in forcibly displacing Bosnian Muslims and Croats from their homes, using classic death squad