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In an attempt to capture the unexpected forms taken by excessive violence since the epochal years of 1989-91, Robert Kaplan has argued that these developments indicate a coming anarchy, which has to be prevented (Kaplan 1994). This statement is based on the assumption that the level at which wars are being fought has shifted from the level of the state to a 'lower' level. It is argued that in most of these conflicts, non-state actors are involved on at least one side. The motivation and goals of these non-state actors seem not to follow political or ideological imperatives but have other sources, which may be ethnic, economic, or the fact that violence has become an autonomous force. Things would look different, however, if this diffusion were no more than a transitional phase after the breakdown of the polar order of the Cold War. The paradigm of the wars to come would then be determined not by the order/anarchy antithesis, but by the conflict between different conceptions of order. Finally, I argue that there will be a re-politicization of war and violence in the long run.

Theoria

A Journal of Social and Political Theory

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