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Neverending Wars

Neverending Wars

The International Community, Weak States, and the Perpetuation of Civil War

Ann Hironaka

ISBN 9780674027398

Publication date: 03/01/2008

Since 1945, the average length of civil wars has increased three-fold. What can explain this startling fact? It can't be ethnic hatreds and injustices—these have been around for centuries. In Neverending Wars, Ann Hironaka points to the crucial role of the international community in propping up many new and weak states that resulted from the decolonization movement after World War II. These impoverished states are prone to conflicts and lack the necessary resources to resolve them decisively. International aid and external military intervention from the international community often perpetuate such conflicts. And the Cold War further exacerbated the problem by providing large amounts of military aid. The continual infusion of weapons and resources can prolong such wars indefinitely.

This timely book will provide an entirely new way to look at recent, vicious civil wars, failed states, and the terrorist movements that emerge in their wake.


  • In Neverending Wars, Ann Hironaka sets the record straight by pointing at the responsibility of the international community. Not only have superpowers, former colonial metropoles, and regional powers often directly interfered in other countries through outright intervention—they have also done so indirectly by fostering international norms to which all states are obliged to conform. The originality of Hironaka’s argument and the strength of her book rest in the examination of the relationship between civil wars and the structure of the international system.

    —Caty Clément, Ethics and International Affairs


  • Ann Hironaka is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine.

Book Details

  • 204 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press