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Why Peace Fails: The Causes and Prevention of Civil War Recurrence

by Charles T Call Georgetown Univ Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 328 pages
AU$72.00 NZ$74.78
Product Status: Out of stock. Not available to order.
Why does peace fail? More precisely, why do some countries that show every sign of having successfully emerged from civil war fall once again into armed conflict? What explains why peace ''sticks'' after some wars but not others?

In this illuminating study, Charles T. Call examines the factors behind fifteen cases of civil war recurrence in Africa, Asia, the Caucasus, and Latin America. He argues that widely touted explanations of civil war—such as poverty, conflict over natural resources, and weak states—are far less important than political exclusion. Call's study shows that inclusion of former opponents in postwar governance plays a decisive role in sustained peace.

Why Peace Fails ultimately suggests that the international community should resist the temptation to prematurely withdraw resources and peacekeepers after a transition from war. Instead, international actors must remain fully engaged with postwar elected governments, ensuring that they make room for former enemies.

Table of Contents

The Importance of this Study

The Central Argument

Contributions to Theory

Research Design & Methodology

Organization of the Book

Part I: Why Peace Fails: Theory

1. What Do We Know About Why Peace Fails?
Civil Wars and Ethnic Conflict: What We Know
The Peacebuilding Literature and Preventing Civil War Recurrence
Clarifying Concepts: Exclusion, Inclusion and Legitimacy

2. Is Civil War Recurrence Distinct from Onset?: A Quantitative Analysis and the Limits Thereof
A Regression Analysis of Civil War Recurrence
The Limitations of Quantitative Methods in Studying Civil Wars

Part II: Examining the Cases

3. Liberia: Exclusion and Civil War Recurrence
The First Civil War
The Onset of Peace
The Second Civil War
Charles Taylor's Exclusionary Behavior
Alternative Explanations
Insights from Liberia's Second Post-war Peace Process, 2003-present

4. Separatist Recurrences of Civil War
Sudan: Marginalization of the South
Chechnya: Reneging and Resistance
Georgia / South Ossetia: Integration Backfires
China / Tibet: Compelled from Autonomy
Analyzing Cases of Reneging on Territorial Autonomy

5. Non-Separatist Recurrences of Civil War
The Central African Republic (CAR): Exclusion and State Weakness
Haiti: Political Exclusion and Recurrence
East Timor: Liberation, Statehood and Exclusion
Zimbabwe: Liberation, Statehood and Exclusion
Burundi and Rwanda: Chronic Exclusion
Alternative Explanations and Conclusions

6. Recurrences That Defy the Argument
Where Inclusionary Politics Prove Insufficient
Lebanon: Failed Powersharing
Mali: Failed Powersharing
Analyzing Cases of Failed Powersharing
Nicaragua: Externally-Driven Recurrence
Peru: Exclusion, Coca and Rebel Resurgence

7. Making Peace Stick: Inclusionary Behavior and 27 Non-Recurrent Civil Wars
Inclusion, Powersharing and Peacebuilding Success
Powersharing and Peace Consolidation: Examining the Pool of Cases
Beyond Powersharing: Inclusionary Behavior and Peace
Peace and Exclusionary Politics?
International Troops and 'Frozen' Conflicts

Part III: Implications for Theory and Practice

8. Conclusions for Theory: Legitimacy-Focused Peacebuilding
The Main Findings of the Book
Rethinking Peacebuilding Aims and Approaches
Addressing Some of the Limitations of the Study

9. Conclusions for Policy and Practice: Can External Actors Build Legitimacy After War?
Why Legitimacy-Building is Exceptionally Difficult
Beyond Blanket Inclusionary Formulae: Four 'Moments' for Key Choices and External Strategy


''Charles Call has written the next important statement on why some states that come out of a civil war trend toward peace while others return to violence. Bringing to bear a deep knowledge of existing theories of the causes of and solutions to civil wars and a rich understanding of a wide range of cases, Call makes a compelling case that political exclusion is an important but overlooked reason for cycles of violence. This is the sort of book that should be read and discussed by both scholars and practitioners.'' - Michael N. Barnett, University Professor of International Relations and Political Science, The George Washington University

''Thoughtful and thorough, Why Peace Fails combines the systematic reasoning of a social scientist with the contextualized insight of a practitioner. Charles Call has drawn on his experience in both arenas and produced a study of what makes for success and failure in peace operations. It is well worth the closest attention of both scholars and policymakers.'' - Michael W. Doyle, Columbia University

''Countries that fall into civil war are likely to see future violence. Charles Call's impressive book - rich with theoretical insight and rife with empirical evidence - offers new evidence into precisely why that's the case. This carefully researched, accessibly written, and engagingly argued book underscores the essential ingredients of inclusivity and legitimacy; its findings and recommendations should be essential reading for students, scholars, and practitioners alike.'' - Timothy D. Sisk, University of Denver

''This important new book offers fresh insights into the failure of peace agreements that will be of great interest to scholars and policymakers alike.'' - Chandra Sriram, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Charles T. Call is an assistant professor in the School of International Studies at American University. He was previously a senior fellow at the US Institute of Peace and is the editor of Building States to Build Peace and Constructing Security and Justice after War. He has conducted research in Afghanistan, West Africa, Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, Colombia, Chechnya, and Central America.