‘Illiberal Peace’: Oxymoron, Political Necessity, or Old Wine in a New Bottle

In: International Negotiation
Anna Ohanyan Department of Political Science and International Studies, Stonehill College 320 Washington Street, Easton, MA 02357 USA

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With growing multipolarity and geopolitical polarization, the role of international organizations as third-party actors within the framework of liberal peace, has been steadily declining over the past two decades. The most recent spike in armed conflict since 2014 has not been accompanied by an associated increase in peace agreements and negotiated settlements, as was the case in the 1990s. Considering the undersupply of conflict management by international organizations, the role of state actors in third-party roles has grown, often with weak normative support and commitment to nonviolent conflict management. This has often legitimized the use of violence as a strategy of coercive kinetic diplomacy. Drawing from historical analyses of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, this article examines the question as to whether the current period of growing illiberalism in peacebuilding is historically anachronistic. It introduces a framework of analysis and engages in concept development to understand and operationalize “illiberality of peacebuilding.”

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