Daftary - Introduction
Among the means nation-states and minorities have at their disposal to
safeguard and to pursue political and other interests, violence figures
prominently. This is valid for central governments and ethnic
peripheries in today's Western Europe as well as in Eastern Europe,
including the Balkans and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Yet, whereas in the European Union area separatist terrorism in
Northern Ireland, the Basque Provinces and Corsica is safely fenced in
inside the United Kingdom, Spain and France respectively,
ethnopolitical conflicts in Eastern Europe still have the potential to
trigger off interstate wars â€“ Bosnia-Herzegovina being the most
recent example, and Kosovo, the Caucasus and Cyprus at or beyond the
threshold of ethnic warfare. Accordingly, in Europe ethnic conflict is
an almost ubiquitous phenomenon; it is, however, not a predominant one.
Although there are a few instances where political struggles for power
and participation between minorities and majorities lead to interethnic
warfare, in the majority of cases they do not. We know of ethnonational
conflicts being successfully transformed, even solved, by efficient
power sharing models, and we know of ethnoregional movements that have
withered away during what Miroslav Hroch would call their 'A phase'
(Hroch 2000). We even find cases where the ethnic entrepreneurs of a
movement, after having turned to violent means, switch back to
nonviolent forms of action.