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Power’s world: after Georgia, get ethnic conflict in proportion

By Jonathan Power  

From what many politicians and some of the press are saying, the house of ethnic togetherness is about to fall apart and the Ossetian withdrawal from Georgia is going to destabilize whole continents. No wonder that Beijing is opposing Moscow in rushing to recognize the new order in South Ossetia.

Theoretically yes, historically no. A few years ago the political scientists James Fearon and David Laitin studied ethnic division in Africa, a continent notorious for its wars. They identified tens of thousands of pairs of ethnic groups that could have been in conflict. But they did not find thousands of…

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