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Abstract

The threat to the international system from the many forms of violent conflict, terrorism being the most prominent among them, is greater today than it was at the end of the twentieth century. This escalation of global conflict has been attributed to the breakup of the Soviet State, increasing ethnic tensions, weak governance at both the nation-state and international levels, and the rise of religious extremism. Each of these factors contributes to instability and the social tensions that lead to violence. It will be posited here that there is also a significant link between poverty and violent conflict, one that has been largely underestimated by national security analysts. I will argue that a strong correlation exists between conditions of underdevelopment and the various forms of conflict. This suggests that the failure to recognize the link between security and development has reduced the effectiveness of the more traditional methods of preventing or mitigating conflict, that is, the use of military force, diplomacy, intelligence sharing, and international law. Finally, I will discuss new development interventions and improved coordination and policy coherence measures to confront directly the conditions that produce violent conflict.

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