The New Research on Civil Wars: Does It Help Us Understand the Colombian Conflict?
Article first published online: 22 AUG 2008
© 2008 University of Miami
Latin American Politics and Society
Volume 50, Issue 3, pages 63–91, Fall 2008
How to Cite
Gray, V. J. (2008), The New Research on Civil Wars: Does It Help Us Understand the Colombian Conflict?. Latin American Politics and Society, 50: 63–91. doi: 10.1111/j.1548-2456.2008.00022.x
- Issue published online: 22 AUG 2008
- Article first published online: 22 AUG 2008
The article synthesizes contributions from the recent comparative research on civil war and the case-specific literature on Colombia to argue that too often, commentators on this conflict overlook some of its key dimensions. A comprehensive analysis shows that no fewer than six factors are fueling violent conflict in Colombia: economic forces, state weakness, landscape, U.S. policies, long-duration and spin-off violence, and malicious opportunism by non-combatants. The first three are the ones that matter most. The case made here is that when analysts disregard the range and interrelat-edness of the factors involved, the result is a distortion of reality and a tendency to support policies that will not enhance the prospects for peace.