By Majid Tehranian
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Additional resources for Asian Peace: Security and Governance in the Asia Pacific Region
This question can be reduced to a problem of human security. Industrialism has produced overpopulation, environmental devastation, and poverty in the midst of plenty. Democratization has replaced monarchic authoritarianism with representative government but also marginalized millions of people as secularized subjects of regimes that are both weak and authoritarian. Nationalism has empowered state nations, enabling them to become both industrialized and democratic, but it has also mobilized a host of stateless ethnic nations that are prone to violence in quasi states where weak authoritarian regimes prevail.
However, there are several specific reasons why ethnonational conflicts often provoke global concern and action. They are likely to involve migrations and boundary changes. Refugees Increasingly genocide (ethnic cleansing) and revolts produce refugees fleeing across interstate borders. The citizens of Rwanda and Burundi who fled to Zaire, Uganda, and other African countries provide a vivid contemporary example. Others fled zones of conflict in Bosnia, Sudan, Uganda, Burma, Vietnam, Nigeria, Palestine, and many other countries.
At the structural level, parliamentary regimes are much more likely, in my opinion, than presidentialist regimes to be able to cope with these problems. In part this is because a presidentialist regime can survive only if it is rather oligarchic in character, as is the United States. My reasons for reaching this conclusion are spelled out in Riggs (1997a and 1997c). Vertical Devolution A significant contemporary trend that may well ameliorate many paramodern problems can be linked with radical transformation in the functions of states.
Asian Peace: Security and Governance in the Asia Pacific Region by Majid Tehranian