The impact of third-party weapons shipments to conflicts like the current one in Bosnia
Recent crises, including the civil war in Bosnia, have raised questions about whether the shipment of arms to war zones serves to escalate hostilities, to equalize unevenly matched foes, or to halt fighting. While previous studies have examined the relationship between arms races and the causes of war, Arms and Warfare considers the impact of arms shipments on a conflict once it has begun. In this study, Michael Brzoska and Frederic S. Pearson look closely at the complex effect weapon transfers have on the escalation or de-escalation of warfare and on the process of negotiations.
Using case studies from the Americas, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, the authors pinpoint the timing of arms transfers and then assess the influence of these deliveries. Concluding that their study offers intricate, varied lessons, the authors argue that while arms transfers seldom exert much direct leverage over negotiations, the concerned parties unfailingly interpret them as political statements. In addition, Brzoska and Pearson contend that although arms transfers generally increase the bloodshed in a given conflict, large-scale resupply can substantially shorten the duration of hostilities.
Michael Brzoska is lecturer and researcher at the University of Hamburg in Germany, where he received his Ph.D. in political science. Formerly a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in Sweden, he is author of Restructuring of Arms Production in Western Europe.
Frederic S. Pearson is director of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies and professor of political science at Wayne State University in Detroit. Twice a Senior Fulbright Scholar, Pearson served for twenty years as professor and research associate at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.