The Legacy of Empire in International Relations




Katz, Mark N.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Taylor and Francis


In the aftermath of the cold war, not only have many nationalist disputes persisted, but many more have erupted, especially in and around the former Soviet Union. Is this nationalist conflict a temporary phenomenon that is likely to disappear, or is it a deep-seated problem that will persist and possibly grow worse? The working hypothesis that this study will examine is that, aside from continued fighting, there are only three alternative outcomes to ethnic conflict occurring within nations: (1) the development of peaceful, multiethnic societies within existing nations, in which ethnic distinctions become unimportant; (2) mainJenance of the status quo by force, in which dissatisfied groups are unable to achieve their goals; and (3) the breakdown of existing nations and the proliferation of small, more ethnically homogenous states. This study will argue that unless governments can bring ahout the first outcome (development of a peaceful multiethnic society), it will be extremely difficult in the post-cold war era for them to achieve the second outcome (maintenance of the status quo by force). Achieving the first outcome will also be difficult; although many regimes have the stated goal of building a society in which ethnic distinctions become unimportant, they act to preserve exist in patterns of ethnic dominance. The third outcome (the proliferation of small, ethnically homogenous states is often regarded as the most difficult to achieve, but it may be the most likely outcome if larger nations cannot be held together on either a voluntary or involuntary basis.


The definitive version of this document can be found here: This document was created using OCR technology, and may contain minor discrepancies from the published document.


Cold War, Soviet Union, International relations, Nationalism