The 20th century saw numerous local and international conflicts, including the two world wars. The United States always played one of the greatest roles in managing ethnic conflicts worldwide. The growth of U.S.’s military and political power facilitated its active involvement in conflicts outside of its borders. At times, the United States was welcomed as the source of salvation and peace hopes. At other times, the U.S. would face hostility on the side of the local populations. Other countries also actively engaged in international conflicts, including Syria. Russia, Turkey, and Lebanon became active participants of the Syrian conflict. Yet, resolving ethnic conflicts should be a responsibility of the countries, nations, and populations that are directly involved in them. Countries should stop being a peacemaker and peacekeeper in such conflicts. Third party involvement in ethnic conflicts does not bring economic benefits, does not help to prevent wars, but allows countries like the U.S. to exploit other countries.
Countries should not get involved in ethnic conflicts outside of their borders, since third party involvement in such conflicts does not help to end violence. In other words, third party participation in foreign conflicts often proves to be futile. Jennifer L. Maio shares numerous examples of such failures, focusing mainly on the participation of the U.S. forces in local conflicts across the African continent. According to Maio, external involvement in ethnic conflicts cannot be successful, unless the third party knows how to alter the political perceptions of the conflicts between the antagonistic parties and, at the same time, ensure that the peaceful results of conflict resolution are actually owned by all parties (3). Moreover, in many situations, such involvement can further aggravate the situation. The recent conflict in Syria showed that third party involvement would hardly improve the situation. Quite on the contrary, it leads to destabilization, because of the hostility facing foreign countries like Russia, Turkey, and Lebanon, as they are trying to resolve an inner conflict in Syria. These domestic threats should be solved by the countries, which are responsible for their emergence, and the American population is very skeptical about U.S. involvement in international conflicts. Every country should solve its inner conflicts without external involvement. Every country must rely on its resources and population, when dealing with internal threats. Ethnic conflicts often have deep cultural and historical roots. Third parties may find it difficult to understand these historical legacies. This is why it is always better to solve ethnic conflicts from within. Any external intervention can prove to be destructive for the local populations that want to resolve the conflict quickly and without any human losses. Meanwhile, the United States should focus on resolving its own political, economic, and social issues, while keeping an eye on the changing global landscape.
One of the chief arguments in favor of third party involvement in foreign conflicts is the threat of global instability and the risks of using and distributing weapons of mass destruction. Such participation can be justified by the need to eliminate the risks of World War III (Betts 26). However, these threats are actually the major sources of its vulnerability to failure (Betts 26). Too many resources have been spent on third party involvement in conflicts outside of U.S. and other borders. Citizens of the countries, which engage in regional conflicts, understand that it is better to use these resources to speed up social and economic improvements. No single country can or should control all regional conflicts around the globe. Failure to find an optimal balance of national and international interests will inevitably lead to other strategic failures.
- Betts, Richard K. “The New Threat of Mass Destruction.” Foreign Affairs, 77.1 (1998): 26-41. Print.
- Maio, Jennifer L. Confronting Ethnic Conflict: The Role of Third Parties in Managing Africa’s Civil Wars. New York: Lexington Books, 2009. Print.