Political violence in Eurasia: radical Islam or rational acting?
Gardner, Simon C.
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Much of the violence in Eurasia since the break-up of the Soviet Union has been blamed purely on radical Islamic fundamentalism. This characterization is at best simplistic and at worst dangerously insufficient. Not understanding the underlying causes of violence in this volatile region will marginalize the efforts of both American diplomats and soldiers to help to prevent future political violence through engagement agendas and in their failure to do so execute post-conflict operations. It is widely accepted that the potential for political violence across Eurasia is high. Given the complicated array of human divisions and mobilizing institutions that exist there, lessons learned from past or present conflicts might be insufficient to craft meaningful engagement and post-conflict strategies. This thesis attempts to provide a framework to better understand the complex socio-political underpinnings of society. It will attempt to dispel the popular notion that the preponderance of regional violence is purely predicated on Islamic fanaticism and postulate that the true causes are instead, more rational and political. It will emphasize the divides and allegiances at the local levels where policymakers will influence populations and soldiers and humanitarians will assist in the rebuilding of broken institutions and infrastructure in the aftermath of political violence.
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