Theoretically, any arrangement for the consolidation of durable peace must meet two basic requisites regardless of the conflict management institutional decisions. First, the arrangement must be practicably enforceable. Whenever there is no practicable means of enforcing an arrangement, this creates a credible commitment problem similar to that proposed in Fearon (1995) and Walter (1999, 2002) because parties have no assurance that their rivals will uphold their end of the bargain. A security dilemma between former belligerents may arise and, consequently, the parties may violate the provisions of the arrangement to avoid being on the losing side of a zero sum outcome. Second, the arrangement must be perceived as legitimate by the affected parties. To elaborate on the concept of legitimacy, a legitimate arrangement is both just and binding. Whenever the affected parties do not feel bound by the provisions of an arrangement, they cannot be expected to adhere to those provisions. In the face of unjust provisions, the party may feel that it is being oppressed by those measures and therefore feel obliged to resist the arrangement. Thus, my research seeks to advance the existing literature by determining how the primary methods of conflict management (power sharing and partition) impact the legitimacy of post-conflict arrangements. Although this leaves room for future examination of enforceability, my research should also provide useable policy guidance. While the factors highlighted by previous literature as determining whether or not peace proves durable have largely been immutable characteristics such as the prewar democracy score of the country (Hoddie & Hartzel 2001), decision makers can influence the legitimacy of post-conflict arrangements if they are informed as to the implications that each method of conflict management has on the provisions of the post-conflict arrangement.
In order to qualify as legitimate, an arrangement must be viewed by the affected parties as both just and binding. A party perceives an arrangement as ‘just’ whenever the provisions of that arrangement are fair or favorable to the interests of the party because such provisions do not place a disproportionate burden or share of the risk on that party. For example, a rebel group would likely view unilateral disarmament as unjust because it requires that the rebel group sacrifice its only form of security and consequently, weaken its position in relation to the government. The provisions of the arrangement must also be conducive to the realization of the primary goals of the party because such provisions allow them to achieve their goals without the violence and resource depletion that accompanies renewed conflict; however, provisions that serve as obstacles hindering the ability of the party to achieve its goals by domestic means require that they either abandon their goals or return to conflict. For example, if the party in question wishes to obtain independent statehood, that party will view a partition providing it with autonomy over a defensible, sovereign enclave outside of the administrative control of the rump state as just because this helps that party to reach its goal of independent nationhood. That same party, however, will likely perceive a power sharing arrangement requiring it to concede the right to self-determination and cooperate in the governance of a shared state with its rivals as unjust because the arrangement serves as an obstacle hindering the ability of the party to achieve independence.
On the other hand, a party perceives an arrangement as ‘binding,’ whenever that party feels obliged to uphold the provisions of the arrangement either to avoid negative outcomes or promote positive outcomes. If the party from our previous example feels that without conceding to the power sharing arrangement, it will suffer military defeat or that by conceding to the power sharing arrangement, it will eventually move closer to achieving its ultimate goal of partition the party will feel bound by the arrangement. They feel this way because respecting the provisions of the arrangement helps them to achieve a positive outcome (eventual independence, peace, etc) while avoiding a negative outcome (military defeat, resource depleting conflict, etc). As an additional requirement, each party must acknowledge the leader agreeing to the arrangement on their behalf as that representative of the party before the arrangement can be seen as binding. If the party does not acknowledge the leader agreeing to the arrangement as its representative, the party will not feel that it has consented to the arrangement in the first place. As a result, the party may feel oppressed and resort to political violence rather than uphold the arrangement because they feel that the arrangement was imposed upon it.
In summation, legitimacy is a characteristic held by an arrangement whenever three requisites are satisfied. First, the affected parties must acknowledge the leaders agreeing to the arrangement on their behalf as their representatives. Second, they must feel obliged to uphold the provisions of the arrangement. Finally, they must see the provisions of the arrangement as conducive to the eventual realization of their primary goals. However, as many goals held by parties to a conflict are dependent upon the type of conflict, it should be possible to find general provision types which address common goals held by all parties to other conflicts of that same category. For example, if we are focusing on an ethnic conflict, our method of managing the conflict should contain provisions resolving the ethnic security dilemma. On the other hand, if we are dealing with an ideological conflict, our method of conflict management should contain provisions which help former belligerents to the conflict protect and pursue their political interests. This being said, the nature of both primary approaches to the consolidation of durable peace gives each method a unique implication for legitimacy; therefore, it is necessary to examine the implications of partition and power sharing on legitimacy individually as opposed to merely looking at conflict management as a whole.
I define partition as an institution that seeks to achieve either de jure separation by dividing a single administrative entity into multiple units and/or de facto separation by dividing demographic groups into separate, geographical enclaves. With this definition, it is possible to argue that partition mitigates post-conflict legitimacy in ideological conflicts where ethnic groups see themselves as members of the same community but disagree on how to govern that community. The goals of the parties to such a conflict are to pursue a system for their shared community that protects and pursues their political interests in that community. Dividing these parties into separate enclaves would then hinder their ability to achieve their goal by breaking down the original community and isolating them from the other factions of the original community. On the other hand, my theory suggests that partition should increase the legitimacy of the post-conflict institutional arrangement in an identity conflict between antagonistic ethnic groups that do not perceive themselves as different factions of the same community because it does not hamper any goal of unified governance and it helps to resolve ethnic security dilemmas (Kaufmann 1996, 1998; Johnson 2010).
Thus, partition should positively impact the legitimacy of arrangements following a conflict of identity by taking steps towards the resolution of the security dilemma (either by separating rival groups into separate enclaves or by providing them with enclaves in which to separate themselves) without hindering goals of unified governance. On the other hand, partition negatively impacts the legitimacy of arrangements following an ideological conflict by hindering goals of unified governance.
H1: Partition positively impacts the legitimacy of post-conflict arrangements following conflicts of ethnic identity.
H2: Partition negatively impacts legitimacy of post-conflict arrangements following a conflict of ideology.
As an alternative to partition, power sharing–defined as an institution of dividing political, economic, military, and/or territorial power among rival groups within a single administrative unit–should increase legitimacy in ideological conflicts. Like partition, power sharing accomplishes this by providing each group with a means of pursuing positive outcomes while avoiding zero-sum and negative outcomes. In the case of power sharing, the positive outcome is the realization of the goals of the party. Power sharing provides each party with a mechanism to pursue its goals by arming them with political and economic power. Former rebel or minority groups will likely see this as a step towards the realization of their goals because such groups are unlikely to have had significant economic or political power. Thus, through power sharing, these groups obtain an influence over government and economic and political power, which equips them with tools that they were formerly lacking. On the other hand, majority and government groups benefit from the arrangement as it prevents the resource depletion that accompanies renewed conflict and allows them to focus on obtaining their other goals. At the same time, power sharing provisions allotting control over military and territorial resources help to resolve security dilemmas and credible commitment problems by giving each group a tangible tool for the protection of its interests should its rivals fail to uphold their end of the bargain (Jarstad & Nilsson 2008). In this way, groups have tangible mechanisms to assure them that they can avoid a negative outcome. Furthermore, the provisions of a power sharing arrangement allow the respective parties to accomplish all of this within a single, unified society. Thus, power sharing has an advantage over partition in cases of ideological conflict because it does not demand that parties isolate themselves from other factions of their community.
Therefore, my theory suggests that power sharing increases legitimacy in ideological conflicts by arming rival groups with a mechanism (political/economic power) with which to diplomatically pursue their political interests while simultaneously arming them with security producing tools (military/territorial control) to reassure them against the occurrence of negative or zero-sum outcomes. However, because it accomplishes both of these goals within a single unified society, it decreases legitimacy in identity conflicts where groups are not dedicated to existing as a single community.
H3: Power sharing positively impacts the legitimacy of post-conflict arrangements following conflicts of ideology.
H4: Power sharing negatively impacts the legitimacy of post-conflict arrangements following conflicts of ethnic identity.