Regional Conflict Formations: An Intractable Problem of International Relations

  • Väyrynen R
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Shifts in the international distribution of economic and military power have created new centres of growth and conflict in the world's peripheries. The rise of different forms of regionalism is an indication of the fragmentation of international order. That is why there are substantive reasons to focus on political, economic and military discontinuities in international relations. There is a rich research tradition in the study of international relations and peace research which can be utilized in the analysis of regional subsystems and of their bearing on international conflict and integration. Unruliness in the world's peripheries cannot be accounted for primarily by the structure of the international system or by the policies of major powers. Conflict formations are naturally shaped by the impact of the capitalist world economy and by the economic and strategic penetration by major powers into the Third World, but ultimately these conflicts have their roots in domestic and regional circumstances. The most comprehensive picture of the causes and processes of peripheral conflict formations can be obtained by investigating the interaction of specific regional conditions with the constraining or instigating role of global forces. This interaction is a two-way street in that the relations between major powers are also affected by peripheral regional conflicts in which they have become entangled in a competitive fashion. In fact the failure of detente can be partly explained by the assertiveness of the Third World which has resulted in a new situation which major powers cannot manage efficiently enough in their foreign policies or mutual relations.

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  • Raimo Väyrynen

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