Press Release

New Dædalus Issue on “Ending Civil Wars: Constraints & Possibilities”


CAMBRIDGE, MA | January 10, 2018 — It is simple to hope for an end to the world’s civil wars–nearly thirty of which are underway right now–but it is not at all simple to bring these conflicts to an end when the causes are wide-ranging, the effects are extensive, the international response is uncertain, and the solutions are elusive.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ 18-month project on Civil Wars, Violence, and International Responses, directed by Karl Eikenberry (Stanford University; Lieutenant General, U.S. Army, retired; former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan; Member of the American Academy) and Stephen D. Krasner (Stanford University; Member of the American Academy), brings together experts across disciplines and from around the world to examine why states break down, what the impact of state disorder and failure is within and beyond national borders, whether there are universal qualities or regional characteristics of violent conflicts, and how and when external actors can effectively intervene in civil wars.

The Winter 2018 issue of Dædalus, “Ending Civil Wars: Constraints & Possibilities,” identifies impediments to ending civil wars and offers policy prescriptions for states and for the international community facing the spread of instability and humanitarian crises, including pandemic diseases and transnational terrorism. This issue of Dædalus is the second publication of the American Academy project on Civil Wars and is a companion to the Fall 2017 issue of Dædalus, “Civil Wars & Global Disorder: Threats & Opportunities,” which explored the causative factors of civil wars, the connection of intrastate strife and transnational terrorism, and the many direct and indirect consequences associated with weak stages and civil wars, including the dangers posed by pandemics, mass migrations of people, and great-power proxy warfare.

The fourteen essays in the current volume on “Ending Civil Wars: Constraints & Possibilities” offer information and insights rooted in conflicts and resolutions from seventeenth-century England to twenty-first-century jihadi insurgencies. The authors–from academia, diplomacy, policy institutes, the press, and the United Nations–offer a range of approaches to limiting the devastation of civil wars: from prevention, to containment with limited statehood, peacekeeping, and buffer zones, to ending civil wars by building “good enough governance.”

Together, the essays illuminate the complexity of state disorder and how the international community could reduce chaos, violence, and disruption through new and coordinated approaches to civil wars.

The Winter 2018 issue of Dædalus on "Ending Civil Wars: Constraints & Possibilities" features the following essays, all of which are available online at

  • Ending Civil Wars: Constraints & Possibilities
    Winter 2018
  • Introduction by Karl Eikenberry (Stanford University) and Stephen D. Krasner (Stanford University)
  • The Last English Civil War by Francis Fukuyama (Stanford University)
  • Religionist Rebels & the Sovereignty of the Divine by Tanisha M. Fazal (University of Minnesota)
  • Jihadi Rebels in Civil War by Stathis N. Kalyvas (Yale University)
  • Civil War, Economic Governance & State Reconstruction in the Arab Middle East by Steven Heydemann (Smith College; Brookings Institution)
  • Is Prevention the Answer? by Charles T. Call (American University) and Susanna P. Campbell (American University)
  • Ending the Sri Lankan Civil War by Sumit Ganguly (Indiana University, Bloomington)
  • Sovereignty Strategies: Enhancing Core Governance Functions as a Postconflict and Conflict-Prevention Measure by Clare Lockhart (Institute for State Effectiveness; Yale University)
  • Limited Statehood Does Not Equal Civil War by Thomas Risse (Freie Universität Berlin) and Eric Stollenwerk (Freie Universität Berlin)
  • Building Good (Enough) Governance in Postconflict Societies & Areas of Limited Statehood: The European Union & the Western Balkans by Tanja M. Börzel (Freie Universität Berlin) and Sonja Grimm (University of Konstanz, Germany)
  • The Practicalities of Living with Failed States by Seyoum Mesfin (Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China) and Abdeta Dribssa Beyene (Centre for Dialogue, Research and Cooperation, Ethiopia)
  • Syria & the CNN Effect: What Role Does the Media Play in Policy-Making? by Lyse Doucet (BBC; University of Toronto)
  • In Defense of Ambition: Building Peaceful & Inclusive Societies in a World on Fire by Nancy E. Lindborg (United States Institute of Peace) and J. Joseph Hewitt (United States Institute of Peace)
  • The International Regime for Treating Civil War, 1988–2017 by Richard Gowan (Columbia University) and Stephen John Stedman (Stanford University)
  • The United Nations & Civil Wars by Jean-Marie Guéhenno (United Nations)
  • Conclusion by Stephen D. Krasner (Stanford University) and Karl Eikenberry (Stanford University)


NOTE: Please credit Dædalus, the Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, when citing this material.





Civil Wars, Violence, and International Responses

Karl W. Eikenberry and Stephen D. Krasner