For the past three years or so, the world has been witnessing momentous changes. The world watched as the Berlin Wall came crashing to the ground; as the Solidarity Movement in Poland completed its methodical, relentless dismantlement of Polish Communism; and as the people of Czechoslovakia fashioned their velvet revolution. Even as this was happening, no one expected that it was just a matter of months before the entire Soviet Bloc would be in pieces. We were unprepared for such dramatic social changes. We had come to assume unquestioningly that the Cold War, East and West, Communism and Capitalism in ominous tension would always be with us. But, today we live in what is being called a unipolar world, as the United States and what is left of the former Soviet Bloc have decided to cooperate rather than compete on the world stage (Blight and Weiss 1992). President George Bush once dubbed this the “Era of the New World Order.”
One of the primary defining features of the “New World Order” is the resurgence of nationalism among large ethnic groups heretofore incorporated into multi-ethnic states. Moreover, the conflicts which grow from such developments have a high propensity to be internationalized. Take, for examples, the rebellion of the Baltic states against the former Soviet Union, or the breakup of Yugoslavia, and even the collapse of the Soviet Union itself. In Africa domestic conflicts in Sudan, Somalia and Mozambique, to name only a few places, have created refugee flows and the flow of armed rebels across national borders, thus internationalizing what were domestic conflicts (Weiner 1992).