See all the ICE Cases
Deploy the ICE Search and Sort Tool (SST)
Go To ICE Expert Site

ICE Case Studies
Number 131
June 1, 2004

Why Timber Is A Crisis-Driving Commodity

An ontological review of third world socio-economic pandemics
After the end of the Cold War

By: Joshua Kleymeyer





The current investigation into crisis-driving commodities focuses primarily on the causes, and secondarily on the severity of social upheavals in developing countries. The bloody conflicts that have too often resulted from the exportation of highly coveted natural resources come with a tremendously exacting, yet often unacknowledged price tag. This price tag is calculated in terms of the loss of human rights, an unsustainable democratic process, and so, the degradation of self-determination and the disenfranchisement of the poor.

This study is as much an overview of one of the great modern polemics, having  its roots in the industrialized world, as it is a historical, and thereby ontological, attempt to take on the broader questions surrounding the control of goods on our modern supply and demand continuum.  Specifically, the focus of this study is on what socio-economic elements exist that are critical for the perpetuation of rural violence in the form of civil wars or ethnic cleansing, worldwide.  What are results of exporting those economic, political, and legal systems of economically dominant nations on countries bereft of the rule of law?  In a results oriented world like today, it is critical for our governments to keep in mind what conditions make impoverished nation ripe for some form of mass civil unrest.  Though there exist today many crisis-driving commodities of the caliber to ensure a socio-economic pandemics around the globe, for the purposes of this study, timber will be the main parameter describing a extractable natural resource with a large black-market presence.

Drawing on a pool of specific studies, theories, and recent developments, this research paper proposes that current perspectives and policies towards conflicts that habitually spiral out of control symbiotically can influence and are influenced by these ever-worsening situations which typically erupt in the more lawless and disparate regions of the world.  To accomplish this, a five-section guideline will be adhered to with a total of 16 subsections.  The format proposed here is that of the typical Inventory on Conflict and Environment (ICE) case study.  A short outline/summary of the ice case study methodology is as follows.

This first section is the Case Background, and commences with an abstract defining the context whereby conflicts are fueled and sustained by commerce and trade.  The second subsection gives a description of conflict commodities, and the nature of timber extraction for foreign consumption.  The following segment offers a general account of the duration of this crisis, with a specific concentration on the injurious inheritances residues from the industrial world.  This is best described in the context of the pernicious socio-political fallout because of the proxy wars, both economic and territorial in character, which stemmed from old Cold War rivalries.  The focus of the subsequent subsection is on location, or rather the environment that a commodity-driven conflict tends to fester.  The last subsection determines whom the actors are, and under what conditions and to what extent resource rich regions are forced into insurgent/modern warfare.

            The second chapter focuses on Environmental Aspects.  Commencing with the type of environment needed to produce a commodity-driven civil war, the first subsection looks at certain environmental problems that have emerged.  This is followed by a review of the social and political habitat necessary to create fragile, failing, or failed states, and how these systems are exploited both internally and externally.  A short subsection on act and harm sites follows.

            The third chapter is on Conflict Aspects.  The first subsection offers investigative findings on the type of conflicts that result from the ability of a developing nation to export and import goods with to and from the outside world.  A look at the level the conflict has reached follows.  Greater detail in this area would come from a longer investigation, complete with the production of hard sociological data, but has yet to be conducted as of the publishing of this case study.  Regardless, a general review of how these conflicts can generate such high levels of fatalities as a result of commodity-driving disputes concludes this section.

The fourth chapter is on the connection between an Environment and Conflict.  It looks first at the links and dynamics between the environment and conflicts. Specifically, how a locally abundant and a globally high-demand resource like timber promulgates modern guerrilla warfare resulting in often acute regional and international fallout.  A review of the level of strategic interests in terms of local and global actors follows.  The importance of which lies in discovering how illegal trading operations engender notably bloodier societal backlashes where free market ideals are not followed due to monopolies on black-market goods.   This paper proposes, therefore, that when there is hording and haggling of natural resources, which crosses the principles of a free market economy, human rights violations and a disturbing democratic deficit are to be expected.  The last subsection is on the outcomes of the dispute as best defined by the present multinational market environment entangled with free trade agreements, like we live with today.

The fifth and last chapter, Relevant Literature and Web sites, is a collection of related resources on the subject of timber as a conflict-driving commodity.  It is composed of a subsection on related ICE and TED case studies, and finishes with a group of relevant web sites, recommended literature, and a list of endnotes that substantiate this case study.


1. Abstract

In the final decades before the end of the Twentieth century, a growing correlation emerged between human rights abuses, criminal acts committed by international crime syndicates - in the form of local and global terrorist networks - and the specific increase in official and unofficial fact-finding studies conducted with the intention of comprehend the scope of ensuing socio-economic problems.  These problems are notably linked to the mass extraction of natural resources from countries in conflict, and the purchasing of small arms and light weapons.  A host of inquires into the matter grew in number and scope, charged to do more than simply discuss current affairs and past atrocities, and have resulted in such needed global legislation as the U.S.-E.U Action Plan on Small Arms and Light Weapons, whose fourth point charges these parties to “Promote support for the observance and the enforcement of the Economic Community of West African States' (ECOWAS) moratorium on the import, export and manufacturing of small arms in West Africa.” [1]  The international studies are also compelled to recommend viable ways to diffuse (or at least halt) mounting tensions in developing countries that constantly threatened to slide into a quagmire typical of any and all fragile, failing, or failed nation states.  Though popular academic and/or institutional studies have proven their necessity and legitimacy,

The current  study also aims to show that generally and specifically the overall analysis of prior government funded research conducive to ever greater levels of “groupthink” often fault the messengers (the survivors) instead of the message (systemic socio-political failure  that forces individuals to sacrifice their principles so that they and their families may live to see another day.  In more exacting terms, it is the rogue organizations, the criminal cartels, and the corrupt states who shoulder the burden of their innovative and entrepreneurial actions, instead of the political environment ushered in by the suspect arms race of the Cold War.  To the embarrassment of international community, which can be credited for the reform measures being sought and instituted in many organizations (the United Nations being a quintessential example), the 90s saw a tremendous rise, not a reduction, in the levels of ethnic uprisings, social upheavals, and economic disasters.  Those natural resources accessible within a nation state's sovereign boundaries have lamentably become the fuel for acrimonious and amoral social deviance, instead of a positive element in the struggle to create greater peace, equality, and prosperity; a principle of a free market oriented democracy.

In studying modern crisis, those influential Western foreign policy theorists that predominately saw the world descending into greater chaos are critical in understanding the manner in which modern warfare has adapted in the ways that it has.  Many of the great Conservative, neo-Conservative, Realist, and neo-Realist theories of the twentieth century, energetically formulated to bolster a core logic, or rather a lasting ideological framework, for when and why one powerful nation should wade into the fray of a crisis in a weaker state headed towards anarchy.  In particular, whether or not one or several powerful nation’s global interests may or may not be at stake.  Furthermore, whose or what administration will be intractably intertwined and therefore accountable to the world’s lenders and collectors of both political and fiscal security.  Such world views, for example, have been historically argued through the writings of  Hans J. Morgenthau’s school of Realpolitik, or the neo-conservative views illustrated in Robert Kaplan’s apocalyptic descriptions of those North-South and East-West socio-economic and socio-political divides that historically portend ever-growing levels of conflict and lawlessness.

It is important to note, in the post-WWII political environment, how the works of Morgenthau grew to epic levels of importance, and greatly influence the Cold-War period.  The result was urgency and a rationale that declared US attainment of political and economic supremacy abroad as paramount.  Morgenthau wrote:

Statesmen and peoples may ultimately seek freedom, security, prosperity, or power itself.  They may define their goals in terms of a religious, philosophical, economic or social ideal….But whenever they strive to realize their goal by means of international politics, they do so by striving for Power.[2]

Though in present-day terms, we would need to define Morgenthau's wide category of "peoples" as including everything from insurgent leaders and local activists, to executive officers and stock holders, if anyone was a pundit for the politics driving modern warfare, and the school of thought that it would mirror, it was Morgenthau.   Twenty-one years later, in lock-step with this and many other similarly Realpolitik theorists, Robert Kaplan published an article in The Atlantic Monthly, titled, “The Coming Anarchy,” where he warns that to engage in a regional crisis will result in a direct and undesirable acquisition of the problems afflicting the unstable region.  Facilitating the extraction of a volatile nation’s natural resources does not seem to be an acquisition leading to greater social and corporate responsibility in the terms of Kaplan. He argues in his article that:

We are entering a bifurcated world.  Part of the globe is inhabited by Hegel’s and Fukuyama’s Last Man, healthy, well fed, and pampered by technology.  The other, larger, part is inhabited by Hobbes’s First Man, condemned to a life that is “poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”  Although both parts will be threatened by environmental stress, the Last Man will be to master it; the First Man will not.[3]

Kaplan, it would seem, suggests that Western world powers should in no way compromise their national interest, or else become vulnerable to weakness which would diminish our capacity to survive the coming deluge of conflict.  This line of thought holds that, for a country like the US who’s participation in a race for militaristic, political, and economic supremacy has indeed resulted in global hegemony: if you find yourself on top, it is only logical to make the necessary efforts to stay there.

Another theory, similarly fashioned, is the often-cited thought-piece by Samuel P. Huntington titled, “The Clash of Civilization and the Remaking of the World Order.”  Huntington warns that present and future wars will not be waged across ethnic divides, but because of antagonistic religious differences between seven civilizations (possibly eight if you choose to include Africa).  These civilization’s were categorized as: Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavi-Orthodox, and Latin American.[4] Though Huntington’s perception of the world may have departed slightly from the Realist camps in that it includes ethnicity, culture, and religion as factors in the equation, most conflicts happen within and not between states, thus making it a theory lacking in the flexibility needed to understand our dynamic age.

When popular literary works, like those mentioned above, directly impact the foreign policy strategies proposed b elected moral authorities like those in the US and the EU, these ideologies retain the power to define what is acceptable when formulating questions, and what are the realistic conclusions to be reached by most if not all fact-finding panels.  Smear campaigns typically await those who are not willing to be a party to the systematic and unlawful extraction of natural resources.  Our present day intelligence needs and the reforms with, antiquated or premeditated perspectives can and have only led to a crisis in informational legitimacy, credibility of action (i.e. use of force over sovereign borders), and as mentioned prior, anti-free market groupthink.  Humanitarian crisis today as seen in the Great Lakes region on Africa or in the far East like Indonesia, be they caused by a desperate and savage contest over national resources, or be they due to a long standing policy by the West to weaponize a region through external strengthening of internal trade partners and government to government assistance like that handled by USAID, the IMF, or the World Bank.

In the case of official studies on conflict commodities, in particular, they have historically functioned, regardless of their comprehensibility, as the reference reviewed and relied upon by policymakers whose responsibility it is to endorse or thwart intervention. The United Nations (UN), through the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) and PROFOR, works constantly on raising awareness on topics of global concern, and yet proves greatly ineffectual in generating progressive change.  For example, UNFF recently issued a report on how “conflict timber” fuels militias and guerilla groups in the Greater Lakes Region of Africa, in June of 2001.  Since the conflicts that ravaged Africa in the later part of last century were considered to have death tolls unlike any since the 1940’s, reports on conflict are only becoming more essential to social change.[5] A separate five-member panel was formed at the request of the Security Council in June 2000, called the Panel on the Illegal Exportation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  They were to focus on the Great Lakes Region of Africa, and produce recommendations regarding the illegal exploitation of resources including confiscation, extraction, forced monopoly, and price-fixing.  The Associated Press has quoted the former Ivory Coast energy minister and panel chairman Safiatou Ba-N’Daw concluding that, “All the belligerents in one way or another are benefiting from the conflict.  The only losers are the Congolese people.”[6] It must be said, though, that these studies do focus on the growing security and defense threats that have, to a large degree, infected most every region in the world and are therefore critical to the debate. Unfortunately, the tendency for our global humanitarian agencies to experience a democratic deficit is too often the case.

In the case of UNFF’s study, they focused on the Congolese opposition groups actively fighting the government in the Democratic Republic of Congo who presently have strong connections in Uganda and Rwanda. The result of large operations in the illegal trafficking of timber in these countries, coupled with the ready access to weapons on the black-market, has become a near eradicable social plague,  spreading crisis in the form of ruthless fighting, and creating humanitarian disasters like starvation, disease, environmental decay, and mass displacements of peoples across the continent.  Subsequently, the final report issued by the panel recommended that the UN Security Council take action and declare timber extracted from areas experiencing conflict as “conflict timber and non-timber products.”[7] They recommended, in effect, that in the grand scheme of revitalizing a politically and economically impoverished Africa beset with strife, starvation, and disease, it would be most prodigious to use sanctions to economically and politically pressure those corrupt regimes who profit from long-entrenched regional conflicts, thereby eradicating the dissent and returning the region to some semblance of a democratic process.  To those fighting for greater justice and accountability within nations engulfed in social inequality and political discord, this comes as a bitter piece of western policymaking, demonstrating that the International community continues to misunderstand the nature of conflict and the strategy of reconciliation. In short, Western global powers all to often create a one-size fits all policy vis-à-vis sanctions, thereby failing to recognize how sanctions do not work on the lawless and yet destroy the middle-class who are generally the greatest supporters of self-determination and a government that abides by the principles of democracy.

Similar types of fact-finding reports have been issued in the US, as well.  As a branch of US government that dispenses developmental aid abroad, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) regularly assembles panels of experts to research current humanitarian crises being experienced around the world, and report on the social problems these conflicts create.  A recent example of one of these official studies – carried out by the Agency for Reform and Development, Inc. (ARD) – IS A nine-month study titled, “Conflict Timber: Dimensions of the Problem in Asia and Africa.”  It was initiated in September 2002 through a contract provided by USAID.  Studies like this one typically focus on the magnitude and dimension of a developmental problem and in the end attempt to offer the best policy suggestions available.

To better comprehend the social and environmental crisis linking timber and armed conflict, ARD divided the problem of timber harvesting into two categories.  On one level, timber can be used, “specifically to finance armed conflicts…,” and on another level, vast swaths of land covered in timber create, “rival claims to ownership of, or control over, forest resources, resulting in conflict.”[8]  Though many of the policy suggestions that follow tend to include unsavory options like international sanctions, which often prove to worsen the situation, and wipe out a nation’s middle class, more engagement by the international community in resolving a conflict does allow for continued diplomacy.  As such, these studies are good because they assist in raising awareness on critical issues in a way that shows how virulent conflicts around the world demand responsible and unwavering engagement.  Unfortunately, as mentioned before, greater political engagement often comes in the form of the aggressive implementation of international conditions.  To the detriment of the innocent bystanders of conflict, these conditions often require the withholding of humanitarian assistance, the enforcement of trade barriers, or the blocking of money intended to help develop civil society until the armed conflict is suspended, or human rights abuses are reduced – a task nearly impossible without foreign assistance and guidance being readily available.

The purpose of many international reports in the field of conflict studies, as USAID’s contracting of ARD to create a Conflict Timber Task Force in the year 2002 showed, are charged to better understand how conflicts are funded, perpetuated, and resolved.  The latter suggestions are classically ensconced in a policy recommendation section.  These reports offer as well, the opportunity to review the international community’s response to a crisis.  Developing an independent analysis in this case can lead to a set of “sustainable” policy recommendations that benefits the foreign policy debate greatly, as it stimulates the public sphere.  Yet, what studies like ARD’s often miss is how the long-term and short-term devastation in unstable regions around the globe stems from a forced paradigm shift.[9] The agitation felt in the process of conforming to foreign (Western) economic and institutional systems in foreign lands often works to create an unsustainable level of cognitive dissonance in the country’s citizenry and their leadership.[10]

The ramifications of this clash are many, but the norm has been that if the reasons a state is failing can be ignored, they are.  Moreover, the many problems besetting a failed state are only addressed when they reach a level of disaster high enough for there to be a spillover effect felt in other sectors of humanity.[11] One could say that international terrorism is a direct result of world powers ignoring regional unrest until it exploded on the international scene. Consequently, Alan M. Dershowitz, professor of law at Harvard University and the author of "America on Trial," has recently published an op-ed piece in the Baltimore Sun on March 28, 2004, titled "Rules of War Enable Terror," where he rightly argues that the outdated nature of non-combatant clauses in the Geneva Convention actually emboldens terrorists to wage non-conventional war, and then protects them when they are caught.[12]  It is important to note how far off Huntington’s argument of wars between civilizations was proven to be by noting, for example, the four Balkan wars in the 1990’s were fought not between two or more civilizations but within one.

Continuing on the subject of regional studies conducted by research institutions, much quality work is being produced in Europe.  Studies, for example, that were conducted by privately funded think tanks for those politicians and military agents, engaged in foreign policy and security debates focusing on current threats to the EU.  Natalie Pauwels, at the International Security Information Service – Europe, (ISIS-Europe) authored a briefing paper on, “Conflict Commodities:  Addressing the Role of Natural Resources in Conflict.”  Three related policy recommendation offered by Pauwels in her report that portend great significance and urgency, were:

 1.  The EU should… pressure exporting countries to accept independent monitors and possibly make this a pre-condition for the provision of development assistance for related sectors.

2.  Country Strategy Papers should include, where relevant, an evaluation of the economic, social and political significance of natural resources in the target country.

3.  EU aid for extractive industry and logging sectors should be assessed in terms of the positive spill-over effect on the development of related, non-extractive industries to ensure that targeted development assistance is not unduly favoring industries prone to corruption and exploitation, nor aggravating income inequality or impeding economic diversification.[13]

By connecting these three policy recommendations, the underlying message is, first, that these mechanisms do not exist or are not functioning, and, secondly, that initiating dynamic conflict prevention or reduction measures is crucial for the future of those peoples regrettably living in a country rapidly swept up in a regional war.

The current case study aims to look at the issue of “conflict commodities,” and how the lack of timely and/or sufficient action on the part of the world’s power brokers directly led to a perpetuation and diversification of conflicts around the world, and the resources burned up in the process.  These power brokers are, but ARE not limited to governments, monetary unions, military treaties and alliances, legal conventions, international diplomatic bodies, and multinational corporations.  A necessary explanation is sought in understanding the causes and effects the international trade of goods and arms elicits in the “harvest and sale” of natural resources.  It is the opinion of this author that the deficient models of development instituted half a century ago that created as many if not more problems than they were structured to resolve, must be overhauled if peace and freedom are truly going to be attainable and sustainable.[14]

As Hamid Mowlana, professor of International Communication at American University pointed out in his book, Global Information and World Communication, “Western theories of human development, both Marxist and liberal democratic, proceed from a shared assumption that the development of societies requires that modern economic and social organization replace traditional structures.”[15] As such, this Current study will concentrate on how capitalism, with its demand for a “labor-market,” a “cash-payment,” and “greater deregulation,” has demonstrated its terrible potential to further destabilize, instead of develop those ‘hot-regions’ that consist of developing countries.[16] In the 1970’s, Marxist theorist suggested that these tensions were insurmountable.[17]

2. Description

The research conclusions of the current paper describe the possible reasons developing countries remain volatile even in the face of half a century of functioning diplomatic and financial institutions.  It also aims to uncover the roots of foreign policy misperceptions that may have led to a worsening OF relations between states internationally.  By singling out timber as an abundant commodity known to perpetuate conflicts in already war torn regions, the modern system of trade is noted to be the backbone on which these conflicts ride that kill millions of combatants as well as non-combatants.  Let us not forget that deforestation is also of tremendously pressing environmental concern.  As was seen in the few years before the end of the Cold War, and even more so in the decade that followed, many developing regions around the globe suffered an acute abandonment of socio-political, economic, and military aid and oversight.  This unexpected disappearance almost overnight of what grew to be exaggerated foreign aid packages – typically in the form of military hardware and software (i.e. weapons and training) – proves not to be the sole destabilizing force, but unquestionably one of the main ones.

Subsequently, the push and pull on the local level of the national interests of the power blocs, would leave millions dead by the end of the last century.  What was obviously not of any concern at the time was the disastrous crisis left in the wake of such global struggles.  When the fight for supremacy in certain global theaters was deemed less a priority, or no longer of national interest, perhaps too costly to continue, those theaters experienced a tremendous evacuation of support and guidance and an inevitable failure of governance.  When their house of cards crumbled the exacting result was a mortifying increase in human rights abuses.  The US, it is said, was one of the main resisters, disabling the UNSC from declaring consensus on the level of conflict and the need for intervention.  The UN Security Council, for example, is constantly reminded by delegates representing upwards of 192 member-states of the difference in political will needed to carry out its peacekeeping role under Chapter VI, versus the its more active peacemaking role under Chapter VII.[18] But, choosing to do nothing, or having the power to do nothing, often results in a far worsening of the conditions necessary for peace and stability.[19]

Devastation and desperation brought about by conflicts, and being as much psychological as economic, rooted in the juxtaposition of Western political, legal, and economic models on rural populations that are not prepared for such a colossal transition of values.  In a separate study conducted by the Heinrich Böll Foundation in 2003 titled, “The Aftermath of September 11: New Challenges for a European Common Foreign and Security Policy,” author Marianne Ebertowski argues that this is one of the causes of failed states.  In her chapter on “the Responsibilities of the International Community toward Failing and Fail States,” Ebertowski writes:

Such societies are modified in a way that leaves them fundamentally altered.  These societies turn into societies of fear characterized by social polarization, social exclusion, increasing violence as an instrument to acquire goods and resources, that absence of law, massive violations of human rights, criminalization and the growing illegalization of the economy, and the disappearance of the central state.[20]

The UN has demonstrating the constraints not only of its Charter, but also of its signatories.  Acting in accordance with UN Charter chapter 1, Purposes and Principles, Article 2.1 that states, “The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members,” means that stopping a genocide is as complicated as calling it a genocide.[21]  The UN, it must be noted, was evolving challenge by challenge its institutional roles in this environment.  As a cause of this, the UN has grown the greatest in sectors that have witnessed the most struggle.  

The phenomenon of the failing of a state has, after September 11, come full circle to  show the world to what degree instability and civil unrest can be exported.  Furthermore, Iraq can be defined in preemptive rhetoric to have demanded intervention before the contagion of instability was spread locally in the Middle East and abroad.  The end of the cold war simply did not usher in the world peace it was thought to foretell.  It is the premise of this particular study on conflict commodities that in the last 20-30 years, developing world conflicts – whether religious, armed, psychological, economic, or environmental – have been erupting with greater ferocity, greater frequency, and further reach.  We have witnessed, as a result, the institutionalization of, yet not the consistent application of Preventive Diplomacy.  Professor Mowlana, encapsulated this school of thought in cross-cultural communication terms, when he wrote of the possibility of international governance and law based on the canons of a unified global diplomacy:

Widely accepted in the West and diffused among the elites of the less industrialized countries, this assumption encompasses, among other things, industrialization in the economy; secularization in thought, personality, and communication; the development of a “cosmopolitan attitude”;  integration into the “world culture”; and rejection of traditional thoughts and technologies simply because they dominated the past and thus are not “modern.”  This third way eschews both Marxism and liberal democracy.  It has its roots in more humane, ethical traditionalist, anti-bloc, self-reliance theories of societal development.  In short, the “third way” seeks not to promote itself or its ideology; it seeks dignity though dialogue.[22]

Studies have been called for on these issues by the private sector, as in 1994 when the Carnegie Corporation of New York set out to create the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict Series (CCPDCS). Similar to non-governmental agencies (NGO’s), the Carnegie Commission felt a spike in legitimacy because of their focus on the origins of and solution to world crisis through soft power means.  This has been the case principally because of the quality and integrity of their fact-finding abilities, and a direct increase in their funding.  The OSCE, for example, tracing its origins back to the détente phase of the early 1970’s and the implementation of the Helsinki Final Act in August 1975, saw an increase in its yearly budget as it engaged its Conflict Prevention Center (CPC) in containing and resolving the Balkan Crisis, from 39 million Euros in 1996 to upwards of 205 million in 2000.[23]  That is a five-fold increase in funds over brief five-year period.

In raw numbers, NGO’s have exponentially increased in correlation with the number of natural or unnatural disasters that have been filling the minds of the world’s TV viewers since the days when Vietnam was the topic of nightly newscasts.[24]  Presently, with terrorism, organized crime, and corrupt regimes on the rise, non-state actors are increasingly functioning in the realm of the intangible, oftentimes with technologies and weapons made by legitimate industries.  Two European organizations, Europol and Interpol, the first public and the second private, have their hands full with the rise in crime in Europe alone.  In a 2002 European Union organized crime report, Europol stated that in regards to key organized crime features:

Somewhat perversely, the levels of violence within the field of organized crime may rise following the successes of law enforcement.  By disabling powerful group leaders or groups, the field is opened to fierce competition between organized crime groups wanting to fill the power vacuum.  Concerning resources, it is clear that organized crime groups in the EU amass vast profits from their illicit undertakings.  Although it is impossible to exactly estimate the money involved, the sum should be measured in billions of euro annually.[25]

The failure to implement early warning systems in regards to conflict has allowed a culture of illegal networks to concretize.  Those people committing crimes, by default on the part of weak law enforcement, have had the chance to perfect their ability to function and avoid being brought to justice.  This, unfortunately, has been the precedent the world around.

The role of controlling natural resources in these conflicts has, indeed, become primary to the competing factions within countries in crisis.  Ironically, even though the seeds of “conflict commodities” were sown in the wake of the retreating interests of superpowers, they have been perpetuated by the consumer.  Modern rules of international relations, in fact, have not brought forth states that are based on principles of modern democracy but on AN entrenched culture of dependencies, which breeds corruption and organized crime.  If ever democracy and capitalism were thought of as the preeminent panacea to world inequality and suffering, especially when Mikhail Gorbachev threw in the towel on Christmas Eve of 1991, these modern institutions continue to miss opportunities to thwart dissension in nation states, and as such, aggressively move away from creating the social fabric needed to establish a true international community. 

Inevitably, something crueler has evolved from the risks taken by presidents, czars, prime ministers, and policymakers over the last half century.  As the largest world power’s competing national interests began to fade in regions such as Southeast Asia, North and South Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, a discouraging correlation emerged in the form of a decrease in economic aid and political will.  The dueling interests of the world’s superpowers had grown to be the mechanisms of containment (occasionally reaching the level of occupation) that had governed unstable states and their masses, which were operating with historically weak civilian and military structures.  consequently, when the attention of the capitalist and communist regimes in the mid to late 20th century turned to other more pressing concerns, these states began to experience an economic and political state of delusion.  Diamonds, gold, oil, coltan, and trees became the commodities most easily controlled by crime syndicates who could sell them for the best prices on foreign markets.

Furthermore, with the mind-boggling collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the boundaries that followed alliances of convenience around the world became obsolete almost overnight.  These boundaries, which followed the precedent of being arbitrarily designated behind closed doors and more often in far off regions, were drastically redrawn by the remaining world power brokers.  The boundaries drawn in Africa stem from a precedent reaching as far back as King Leopold II of Belgium, and his ruthless partitioning across subtle ethno-territorial lines of what is now Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The redrawing of boundaries in Africa are often criticized for single-handedly spurning the historic territorial disputes that to date show no sign of resolution or rectification.  We can trace these disputes all the way to Charles Taylor’s regime in Liberia, where the internally fomented political and economic conflicts spilled over its borders to engulf whole neighboring regions in similar crisis.[26]  Yet, when the international community responded, they did so with sanctions against “blood diamonds.” Having diamonds sanctioned by the UN was not a threat that resulted in anything more than symbolic regional cooperation (as can be noted with the Kimberly Process).  Nonetheless, the next national resource for export logically proved to be timber.

Those countries most vulnerable to instabilities rapidly fell into chaos, demonstrating the “failing” of a state phenomenon, occurring when a government buckles under the stress of dissenting factions.  This crumbling created an environment where the further corruption of existing political structures by international terrorists and crime syndicates ultimately functioned to cast off any obligation to protect a nation’s resources or peoples.  It has been argued that in those situations, the concept of adhering to a higher moral order pales in comparison with that of keeping a semblance of control.  Establishing control then becomes an aggressive act of self-preservation.  If the choice to participate is removed from the non-combatant in an armed conflict, resulting in collateral damage, then the conflict was unjustified.  By these standards, many if not all conflicts are therefore unjustifiable.  Writing on the possible justifications for a final and decisive war, recognized as encapsulating the Nuclear Dilemma of the Cold-War period, Oldenquist and Kincade stated, “The most significant moral perplexity turns on the fact that the deterrent use of nuclear weapons could mean an end to the traditional injunction against killing non-combatants.  This violates one of the most important principles of moral reasoning about conflict: that it must be discriminate if it is to be justified.”[27] Curiously enough, this same parameter defines the dilemma in comprehending a terrorist act.

Many nation states that were no longer privileged to continue their dependence on historic sources of economic and security patronage, logically infused the ensuing political struggles for dominance with primarily economical and militaristic goals.  It must be pointed out that a country with a disciplined military structure under political control is characteristic of Western political culture, and not of the global south or the Middle East, which abide by resolution of territorial disputes with more traditionally tribal confrontations and competence.  The lesson was obviously learned that to run a military, or a militia mandated (paid) to protect the authority of a regime, it takes money and is essential in establishing primacy.

The high exploitation of conflict commodities alone by terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah ranges into the billions of dollars.  This illegal movement was on the radars of the world’ strongest intelligence and law enforcement agencies.  The movement of funds through parallel banking systems like Hawala, should have been a clear warning of the redefinition on a global scale of what constitutes resistance and guerilla warfare.[28] As such it took an attack on US soil to jumpstart the war on terrorism in 2001, which named the Taliban in Afghanistan a non-state adversary along with Al-Qaeda.  Afghanistan, after having been left to its own devices for decades when the Soviet Union was forced to disengage, became the first example in the history of NATO as a Western military alliance in which it evoked its Article V contract when one of its alliance members was attacked.  The resulting military response was both a hybrid scenario in the face of the historic NATO obligations and a hybrid in its approach to declaring war on a territory because it allowed a loose-nit organization of Islamic Extremists to flourish under quasi-state sponsorship by the Taliban. Though Afghanistan doesn't have much of a conflict timber problem, it does have a conflict flower problem in the form of Amapola.

Not two years after the UNSC resolution declaring war on Afghanistan, and the quantities of exported conflict commodities have won it the label of largest supplier of heroin consumed in the EU, clocking in at 90%.  In the case of Afghanistan, it was the established infrastructures typical of ‘economies of war’ that allowed such high levels of an illegal commodities to slip into the EU.  We live in a world where European junkies indirectly clothe, feed, and arm Taliban warlords and their minions. This phenomenon is but a repetition of what has occurred in Colombia one short year after Plan Colombia (a financial and military aid package put together by the US and supported by the EU) was initiated.  Shocking CIA reports at the time cited an astonishing 50% increase in coca production post-arrival of the Plan Colombia package, which included large amounts of aid, training, and military equipment.  This begs the question of the intelligence of intervention, development packages, and the rules of engagement in conflicts that have a natural resource component.

To make further reference to ARD’s contract with USAID for the nine-month study, the assembled Task Force sought to gain understanding of the exact cause and effect conflict timber has on developing countries, as follows:

To begin characterizing the magnitude and dimensions of the problem at the global and regional levels, Country-level Conflict Timber Profiles were developed for 14 countries from Asia and Africa.  In order to develop these profiles, the Team processed considerable information on conflict timber from a range of sources (e.g., official and NGO reports, newspaper accounts, interviews with key informants and stakeholders within the US government/UN agencies/international finance institutions/NGO's, etc.).[29]

The point to be made here is complicated, and yet obvious.  In the tradition of Western democracies flush with laws and law enforcement mechanisms, the criminal is always to blame.

But today, the principle culprits of bloody conflicts are not just the despots in positions of power, the corrupt elite, or a sadistic military; the uninformed consumer abroad is as much a progenitor, albeit unconsciously, of conflict as those in house despots who attempt to reign in their respective industries.  Alongside the infamous leaders of war-trampled countries like that of Charles Taylor in Liberia or Siyad Barre and later Mohamed Farah Aideed in Somalia, are hosts of competing gangs cutting their teeth on some of the worst human rights violations.  Alongside these dictators are crime lords, corrupt militaries and police force, guerrilla revolutionaries, private military contractors and their paid mercenaries, and of course, international terrorist organizations to name a few.  In addition to these actors, culpability also falls on the shoulders of international corporations for their blind demand of raw materials; and, as mentioned above, the world powers for their failure at preventing conflict, which was a top priority in the agreement signed at Dumbarton Oaks.

Moreover, the modern Nation States system is culpable.  The slow implementation of crucial international legal codes, the sporadic and arbitrary allocation of hard and soft diplomacy, the fickle enforcement of sanctions, have all functioned to send mixed messages to developing states as to their place and their powers when recognized by the UN, and to tribal warlords or terrorist organization as to what the international reaction will be.  Organized crime, in the final analysis, has flourished under the watchful eye of the world’s conflict-prevention institutions.  This is the five-act tragedy of our modern political drama.

What has followed in many of the destabilized or “abandoned” regions around the globe is, consequentially, the birth of ‘conflict commodity’ sponsored terrorism.  The continuation of proxy wars started by the now-disinterested superpowers allowed guerrilla groups, militias, and weak governments to continue the fight for control of resource-rich lands and sustain what has been termed as “economies of war” in the ensuing grab for any form of power and control.  It is important to raise a point that often gets lost in the intensity of conflict: those who witness and survive the most atrocious human rights abuses often rise to positions of power because of these vicious cycles.  The poor and the planet’s only hope, it would seem, are those non-partisan, non-state actors motivated by solidarity and a greater sense of humanity.  We must ask ourselves if humanitarian organizations and international alliances would be better served if they were not constrained by one country’s national interests over another.[30]

3. Duration

The length of time that the illegal logging of timber in conflict areas of the world has been termed “conflict timber” has been historically short.  And the length of political response, even shorter.  The European Union’s response to violent conflict, in what they call the ‘near-abroad’ first emerged in May 2001, in the form of Article 7 of the Council’s Common Position on conflict prevention in Africa.  The resulting policy is most commonly known as the “Everything-But-Arms” initiative.  The EU has previously attempted to adopt United Nation Security Council recommendations for sanctions against countries experiencing a conflict timber crisis.  However, it is widely accepted that though sanctions are one of the few tools that governments can use against other nations harboring illicit markets and trading in illegal commodities, sanctions rarely if ever achieve the results they aim for.  In all reality, they more often than not make the situation more pressurized, allowing those in power to further monopolize the commodity in question, and the powers it creates.

Another unsavory aspect in the world of ‘trade of goods and services,’ is the lack of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), in regards to purchasing timber harvested either illegally or in areas where the profits undeniably go to armed factions.  These illegal logging operations are located in almost all regions enduring years of economic instability.  With like minded goals, logging companies and regional actors have been known to team up not only to avoid being caught in the act, but also to publicly and physically confront activists.  A specific case to recall is the threatening of the Greenpeace ship the M.V Arctic Sunrise, in November 2003, on a stretch of the Brazilian Amazon.  Three hundred Brazilian loggers, having been enticed by their mayor (who owns the largest logging concession in the region of Porto de Moz) and other local officials with the promise of fuel and alcohol boarded 17 boats and two large barges and aggressively confronted the Arctic Sunrise in mid-river.  The efforts made by Greenpeace in Brazil were to reinforce their commitment to halt the illegal logging of rare mahogany.  They recently won a lawsuit in which they were being prosecuted by the US State Department for boarding a ship transporting illegal timber that they had tracked to the coast of Florida in 2002, whereas no legal action was taken against those exporting or importing the timber.[31]

The US, criticized for ignored international laws and dominating the World Trade Organization, allows the demand for illegal mahogany to continue, for example, by continuing to permit the supply of contraband timber to be sold in US markets.  Similar cases exist in European circles where Greenpeace has followed boats from Africa loaded with conflict timber into French and Spanish ports.  In terms of the efforts made by state and non-state actors to find solutions to the multifaceted problems inherent in conflict commodities, the drafting of international laws without teeth allow for the continuation of corporate fraud; possibly confounding the situation even more by amplifying trade on the black-market.  The ignorance of citizens purchasing conflict teak chairs and conflict mahogany tables is also a factor, but one that would not be so ironic if the institutions mandated to control a blacklisted industry actually worked.

4. Location

Sub-Sahara Africa has been the site of most conflict commodity civil wars. Conflict Timber affects regions ranging across Central and South America, with Brazil being the most deforested.  Conflict Timber has also greatly affected regions in north, west, south and sub-Sahara Africa, which have all experienced a further worsening of their situations due to the extensive black market trade in arms.  Asia, Indonesia and Malaysia have all reported grave infractions and witnessed human rights violations as a cause of it.  Russia and its former republics have been affected; and cases have also been reported in the rump Yugoslavia, specifically in Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and FYROM.  It would not be far off the mark to declare that we live in times of true socio-economic pandemics.

5. Actors

When it comes to complicity in the many armed conflicts of our time, the failure on the part of the international community to collectively deter tense situations from spiraling out of control has been categorized by political scientists as ‘the sin of omission.’  The historian Jacob Burckhardt once said, “The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity.”  In part, what Burckhardt was declaring was that the consequences of turning a blind eye to fact and figures is to partake in tyrannical behavior toward both those you represent and those you don’t.  In the case of Somalia, analysts like Kenneth Menkhous and Louis Ortmayer, in an attempt to answer what went wrong, cite several causes for the ensuing conflict.  Menkhous and Ortmayer describe those causes as ranging from the corrupt Siyad Barre regime and his repressive, “divide-and-rule tactics that stoked the flames of clan conflict,” to the bloodthirsty militia fiefdoms controlled by Mohamed Farah Aideed of the Habr Gedr clan, and Ali Mahdi of the Abgal clan who were accused of, “a self-aggrandizing pursuit of power at the expense of their own countrymen.” Moreover, as we begin to grasp that the origins of these tribal conflicts come from their militarization, we must look at modern armed conflict in terms of short-term or long-term policies.  In a critique of the failure in diplomatic capacity to resolve Somalia’s civil war, Menkhous and Ortmayer also noted how, “the Cold War rivalry between the Soviet Union and the United States is accountable for the exceptional militarization of conflicts in the Horn of Africa and for shoring up the oppressive Barre regime for two decades.”[32] Somalia, in the end, was a policy failure and a humanitarian fiasco.  Somalia also set a historical precedent, as it went on to negatively influence the choices made throughout the Rwanda crisis by the international community.

Addressing the question of actors is both easy and hard; obvious and yet, ever more elusive.  On the list of perpetrators of illegal logging are multinational logging companies, local officials, military commanders, state-sponsored militias, and the masses of individuals who have no other choice but to engage in environmental exploitation to eek out a living.  Exponentially more wealthy countries like the US and the EU have up to now taken few substantial steps forward to establish corporate accountability regulations or pass international laws with teeth.  The EU, for example, allocated development assistance between 2002-06 for Indonesia in a Country Strategy Paper (CSP) subsidizing an Illegal Logging Response Center assembled to tackle the internal conflict in Indonesia and how unsustainable resource extraction impacts the environment and the society.  Regrettably, these efforts are not enough to undertake the resolution of a deep-rooted illegal timber industry.  In the opinion of Charles Barber, it simply does not tackle [the] underlying causes, such as legal access to and ownership of forest lands and the lack of dispute resolution forums in which to address these and other grievances.[33]

Valuable world commodities that come from failing or failed states like timber, diamonds, gold, oil, coltan, or even uranium that fall into the hands of militarized cartels, guerillas, or terrorists have only made war, and thus a false state of security, a daily reality.  But unfortunately, when violence erupts, it is the killers and the victims that are declared culpable for the bloodshed.  Yet beneath the surface is an intricate global network of trade that turns a blind eye to this phenomenon because it supports the liberalized movement of goods.  The capital infusions into these regions as a result of the business interests have side-affects that are simply not being examined.  Intelligence agencies including Europol, Interpol, the MI6, the CIA, the NSA, and The FBI are well versed in the lucrative nature of organized crime when it expertly traffics commodities.  As such, it is important when attempting to construct a historical perspective of conflict commodities and their origins, to recognize that capitalist countries and their law enforcement agencies have limited lists when it comes to who perpetrates conflicts and should be punished accordingly.  Frankly, this situation has been long under-appreciated for its capacity to institutionalize violence. An NGO that has brought tremendous insight into how the environment is affected by conflict is Greenpeace.  To quote an article found on their New Zealand web page:

Since 2000, Greenpeace has repeatedly exposed the links between Liberian logging companies associated with illicit arms trading and timber traders throughout Europe and North America.  Through extensive research we presented new and damning evidence to the timber industry, and blocked shipments of Liberian timber into many European ports, calling for timber companies to put an end to the trade in conflict timber.  A UN Security Council proposal to impose timber sanctions on Liberia was first tabled in December 2000, but it was squashed by France and China - the largest importers of Liberian timber.[34] 

In the act of supplying materials, raw or processed, the global demand of natural resources has the function of creating huge amounts of capital in remote areas of the world.  In their own way, warlords who arm their loyal soldiers are, to some degree, engaging in a radical form of aggressive peacemaking not unheard of in the larger world.  Unfortunately, the manner in which they keep the peace is through violence:  a system that only feeds on itself to the detriment of the existing social ecology.  What lesson is there to be learned when political will is so difficult to conjure? It is important to point out that nowhere in Europol’s 2002 organized crime report did they gauge the affect on Europe of conflicts spurned by the illegal harvest and sale of timber or diamonds.  This is frightening since Antwerp, Belgium and the ports in France have a notable quantity of conflict commodities passing through their customs agencies.

Another agency quite active internationally dealing with such global concerns is Global Witness.  This NGO began with two men, carrying few supplies, who trekked into the mountains of Indonesia to monitor and report on the illegal logging of timber by decedents of the Khmer Rouge.  They drew attention to an issue that shortly thereafter received congressional attention, with plans drawn up to remedy the situation.  Regardless, it is important to return to the issue of the market and its relationship with the state.  Peripheral states have been finding themselves guided by the more industrialized country’s trade habits.  Professor of Sociology at UC Davis, Seán Ó Riain, addresses such issues of states and markets in his essay, “States and Markets in An Era of Globalization.”  By taking a historical perspective, Ó Riain described how models of social organization like neo-liberalism, welfare states, development, capitalism, and socialism intersect.  At the end of the twentieth century, Ó Riain writes, “States find themselves responding to pressures from local societies and global markets simultaneously without the breathing room previously offered by controls on transnational trade, finance, and production.”[35] When it comes to exporting timber like teak, or hardwoods like Mahogany, the market conforms to the principles of demand.  However, because numerous negative environmental effects arise post-extraction, the supply of this commodity comes at an increasingly high price.

Hardwoods often fetch a higher price due to their rarity.  Moreover, in the production process, hardwoods are cut very thin and sold as veneer for upwards of thousands of dollars a sheet.  The international community (armed with money, modern technology,  a vast military complex, and a host of theories on preventive diplomacy) must consider on the road to rectifying any crisis, the manner and ease with which organized crime becomes a way of life for those who are faced with survival under a dictatorship.  It remains altogether too easy for multinational corporations and logging companies to cut deals with black-listed distributors in countries beleaguered by internal conflict.  The research of Ó Riain demonstrates that, “Relations of unequal exchange in primary commodity trade and a heavy reliance on foreign investment have been shown to be poor development strategies, whereas structural adjustment programs associated with foreign debt repayment have wreaked havoc on many economies.”[36] Furthermore, when it comes to conflict commodities, the level of complicity is frighteningly obvious when you consider the logistical challenges of cutting a tree down, milling it, transporting it, and distributing it.

The existence of an international open market based on capitalist theories of ‘embedded liberalism’ have only allowed multinational logging companies to justify the role they play in facilitating extraction of foreign resources.  It goes without saying that ‘whom’ our global corporations are doing business with is a progressively revealing issue.  Industries bent on their bottom line standards of success further demonstrate their interest in implementing cost effective measures by buying low and selling high.  In addition, when they do business in bulk, specifically with rare hardwoods (though lower quality woods have a sizable market as well), they act as perpetrators of human rights abuses and environmental degradation.  As the ill-effects of this practice are seldom if ever felt at home, enabling illegal logging to continue constitutes good business.  And because there exist relatively few historically examples to dissuade the further practice of marketing timber from warring regions, it continues without mandatory checks and balances.

II. Environment Aspects

6. Type of Environmental Problem

Many natural resources fall under the category of Conflict Commodities; yet those considered more in high-demand are principally five.  In particular, five natural resources known for their capacity to fuel or sustain conflict are: timber, diamonds, oil, gold, and columbite-tatalite ore (otherwise known as coltan, which is vital for the fabrication of microchips used in modern-day technologies like mobile phones and laptop computers)  Most countries rich in natural resources have the potential to create industries, and therefore, economies of scale able enough to raise the standard of living enabling the respective region to crawl out of  turmoil and poverty.  Considering this, it is shocking that so few do.  It is by force of proximity and association that the local supply of global commodities captures already distressed communities, and the environment, as its de facto prisoner of war.

With an appropriate level of aid and management directed by the world community, developing countries in theory could establish enduring institutions of good governance capable of managing their domestic affairs.  This would work to engage civil unrest through economic expansion, the provision of better civil services, health and educational services, and the subsequent rise in the quality of life for all.  But, for those on the ground scrapping for a meager, if not humiliating living, this kind of state altruism is sadly neither the case, nor the norm.  Again, the difference between the theory and practice of engaging in stabilizing a failing state is extremely pronounced.

As the World Bank has previously pointed out, a natural resource-dependent country is four-times as likely to experience civil war than a developing country with no primary natural commodity.[37] Moreover, these resource-rich states are often further polarized due to the domination of these resources by elite factions with close political and military associations that demonstrate a ruthless survival-of-the-fittest strategy.  It is not surprising then that the riches garnered through control of a country’s abundant natural resources are hoarded and ferociously protected.  Comparatively, the position of our governments and industries would seem to denote the counterproductive nature of giving concessions to global alliances like the UN or human rights conventions like those signed in Geneva half a century ago.  There exists, in the eyes of our modern multinational corporations and the politicians in their pockets, no benefit to the local economy of an industrialized country if provisions are made for war-stricken peoples under the jurisdiction of another country.  It is exactly this scenario that disenfranchises those in ADD A dire situation.  Local control of natural resources, is illusory, and ultimately reinforces the need of authoritarian dictatorships. Finally, the internally-conflicted high-trauma regions of Africa, when confronted with the decentralizing system of ‘embedded liberalism’, too often are left to engage in genocides as were seen in Somalia, Rwanda, Congo, and Zaire.

7. Type of Habitat

Because timber is found the world around, the entire planet becomes the type of habitat that can support this type of conflict.  If we look at the history of conflict commodities and armed conflict, timber has often been a crucial resource, if not a decisive resource when engaging in war.  Whether to heat meals or keep troops from freezing;  in the construction of forts, raise lodgings, or boats and train cars that transport goods; when building weapons like battering rams, arrows, spears, or the butts of a  Kalishnokoff riffle, wood has proved its essentiality time and time again.  Yet, what has immerged as fundamentally different today in the use of timber, is not the form it is fashioned into, but the value it has acquired, and the manner in which the spoils are directed.  This scenario has been of major concern to environmentalists and conflict management practitioners.  Because readily available caches of timber and exotic hardwoods are located in remote regions of the world, there has been a focus on establishing environmental regulations to protect these woods, thus making their sales illegal, and the market for them illicit.

8. Act and Harm Sites

Affected regions around the world, as mentioned above, are limited only in where these natural resources exist.  The rapid deforestation of Brazil’s rainforest from the rubber barons to the mahogany barons to the cattle barons, is one of the more complicated examples.  But sites that have seen the most harm and conflict are, as described previously, in sub-Sahara Africa and Indonesia.

III. Conflict Aspects

9. Type of Conflict

In looking back at the twentieth century, we can recall the atrocious loss of life of two consecutive World Wars.  The first shot, often cited as being the casus belli of WWI (that after its conclusion, left Europe with major diplomatic issues and resulted in WWII), was dealt by the sharp-shooting Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Principe, when he assassinated the Arch Duke Ferdinand and his wife Sofia in Sarajevo, Bosnia. A few generations later, the world would witness the creation and actual application of Nuclear technology – unleashed on innocent Japanese civilians – though perhaps it would not comprehend the connection.  Conventions, Pacts, Acts, and Alliances were actively engaged in, starting in the late 1940s, to ensure the lessons world wars teach were learned, and never repeated.  Only a few years later, the Cold War escalated with the wealthiest countries contributing their best technology, science, and capital into what rapidly became a ‘must-win’ geopolitical game of survival, until the Soviet Union’s collapse.  Now that the dust has begun to settle, we are left to recognize how this thrashing about directly contributed to already long-standing altercations abroad devolving into civil wars and periodically into full-fledged genocides.  A short list – with too great a capacity for elaboration – of those destabilized regions around the world with notably high death-tolls is:  Africa (Congo, etc.), the Balkans (Bosnia, etc.), Central America (Nicaragua, etc.), South America (Colombia, etc.), Southeast Asia (Indonesia, etc.), East Asia (China, etc.), and the Middle East (Afghanistan, etc.).  To speak of a Type of Conflict we must speak of how ideologically fomented proxy-wars locked the struggle for supremacy into the social fabric of the world’s resource-rich/government-poor nations.

This paradox has been voiced by other highly regarded activists known by those international agencies dedicated to the struggle for sustainable peace through conflict resolution.  The former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, contributed an essay to the book, Preventive Diplomacy: Stopping Wars Before They Start, on his role as the UNSG.  His essay chiefly set out to put in plain words why the world saw so much conflict in the 1990s.  In the words of Boutros-Ghali,  “The Cold War might be over but the world was still plagued by a number of wars that it had spawned, almost all of them wars within states.”  He goes further to demarcate the origins of these conflicts stemming directly from the, “so-called proxy wars in which each of the protagonists was backed, politically and in materiel, by one of the Cold War power blocs.”[38] Hence, the genesis of anarchy in so-called failed states (recall the Kaplan camp) is linked to both the plundering of natural resources in the era of colonialism, and the excessive Cold War and post-Cold War meddling.

This issue is further addressed in one of the Carnegie Commission to Prevent Deadly Conflict (CCPDC) studies titled Opportunities Missed, Opportunities Seized: Preventive Diplomacy in the Post-Cold War World.  The editor of this study, Lee H. Hamilton, is the director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.  Hamilton took the opportunity in the Forward to this book to confirm the general feeling that the dissolution of Cold War rivalries in the 1990s resulted in a distinct ‘over-optimism’ that quickly proved myopic.  He also noted, as many other analysts and scholars have since, that when these quintessential world rivalries ended, the sobering fact was not a global and evenhanded fusion of nations and did not result in a self-regulating rise in the global standard of living.  Hamilton wrote, “Since 1990 over two dozen deadly conflicts have produced more than nine million casualties and doubled the number of refugees around the globe from 12 million to 25 million.[39]

Bruce Jentleson, director of the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) and professor of political science at the University of California, Davis, contributed the first essay published in Carnegie’s study, but curiously drew upon different statistics.  He references the CCPDC’s “Final Report” citing the 90s being smeared with, “thirty-seven major armed conflicts,” and “causalities exceeding four million.”[40]  Regardless of the actual count, the question remains: which agencies or organizations are sincerely engaged in the prevention of conflict, and when that fails, which are having greater success in the resolution of conflict?  The significant increase in the number and legitimacy of international NGO’s is due not only to their consistent contributions to the global debate on conflict, but to the invaluable expertise some have gained as a direct result of being, in the words of Jentleson, “those left to try to cope with the consequences of prevention failure.”[41]

If the norm of development has been to export democracy to the far corners of the earth, regardless of the unsuitability of those places for institutional modernization, then facilitating liberal trade of their natural resources has created an egregious cultural and ethnic disconnect.  The actors, as much as the act, then defines the type of struggle produced by conflict commodities.  It would follow that those agents (political, military, or business) more willing and able to play the game, are those considered more capable of wielding authority and legitimizing their power grabs.  The logical consequences that materialize around this type of cultural divergence is:  heightened resistance.  John Tomlinson noted that this ideological divide is entrenched even in the institutional discourses of UNESCO on protecting cultures.  For example, the 1982 UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies held in Mexico City, one in a series started in 1970 in Venice, focused on defining culture as a significant issue in international affairs.  Yet, in the words of Tomlinson, “The talk of cultures and the need to protect them as it occurs in the setting of UNESCO will tend to privilege the nation as a site of cultural identity.” This gives primacy to that culture that controls a nation over other cultures that reside within that nation’s globally recognized borders.  The ramifications of this arrangement are endless.  One example of entrenched civil unrest compounded by borders and nationalistic autocrats is the Balkan conflict.  Though Serbia invaded multiethnic Kosovo in 1989, and again in 1999 – resulting in UN sanctions, international arms embargoes, and a 79-day NATO air campaign, enforced by a permanent presence of  NATO peacekeepers – ethnic clashes are again bubbling to the surface as recently as March 2004.[42]

When discussing the Type of Conflict a commodity engenders, it is crucial to establish sufficient context.  Are we addressing a conflict of interest, or addressing socio-political dilemmas that result in armed conflict?  Are we speaking of conflicting ideologies, or of territorial conflicts born from nationalist sentiments rallied by scandalous leaders?  Perhaps we are talking about the type of illicit conflicts that are state-sponsored as in the case of a Taliban Afghanistan, a Bathist Iraq, a Khmer Rouge Indonesia, a Hutu Rwanda, or white supremacist South Africa? Or, would it be most prudent to ask why and how socially-irresponsible multinational corporations sponsor conflict by engaging in the mass extraction of natural-resource abroad (to be traded on global markets), directly and indirectly arming the despotic leaders, sadistic military commanders, or perhaps their rebel opposition groups, who must retain control of those resources? Democracy and capitalism, has up till now been problematic and unsustainable in Burundi, or Liberia, or the Democratic Republic of Congo, to name a few.  It would follow that encouraging an establishment of norms that favor liberal market competition does not result in a better standard of living.  Those regions unfamiliar with the benefits of democracy, many of which having been weaned on violence and misery, have a tendency to devolve into ever more severe structures of discrimination and rivalry.  For example, regional alliances like the African Union grapple with continental problems and their possible solutions; nevertheless, their efforts are rendered impotent by far more powerful local alliances between Africa’s self-empowered leaders and warlords.

Left to their own devices, conflicts fueled by commodities tend to grow in severity, frequency, and fixation.  Conflicts within nations, like those that surfaced in the 70s, 80s, and 90’s, unfortunately, did not lead to more political transparency, more institutionalization of the rule of law, or inspire a more apt distribution of wealth, or lower the regional tensions that stem from sustained human rights abuses.  Warfare does not lead to greater nation building, but the business of regional in-fighting.  It would seem that Africa is going through the same bloody socio-political dance that Europe experienced before the Westphalian System of nation-states and sovereignty coalesced in 1648.  This constitutes the Machiavellian cycle that Robert Jervis has defined as a ‘security dilemma.’  Jervis writes, “The central theme of international relations is not evil but tragedy.”[43] The rising possibility of human conflict has frightfully few mechanisms to effectively impede these escalations of aggression, locally and globally.  John Herz is another author whose opinion is equally as indicative.  “It is the mere instinct of self-preservation which,” Herz explains, “in the vicious circle [of a security dilemma], leads to competition for ever more power.”[44] The issues Herz describes here can lead to a wholly different reading on what constitutes economies of war when it is recognized that consumers are directly and indirectly financing conflict worldwide.

10. Level of Conflict

Humanitarian intervention has ceaselessly been built on a creed of hardship alleviation.  This is particularly true with those agencies around the world that make it their business to decrease poverty, reduce disease, and resolve conflict in so many areas of the world.  They are known for adhering to the high moral standard of the diplomatic tract.  Industrialized countries, however, house corporations that justify sponsoring greater interaction abroad on the principles of product and capital-driven trade.  The justification for which is often argued in terms of a utilitarian social order of democracy that has its roots in the social theories of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.  They focused on society benefiting from market expansion, i.e. hardship alleviation through greater economic strength.[45]

When deconstructing geopolitical policies of prosperity and freedom, like those which promote capitalism and democracy, it is vital to ask: Are the millions of impoverished and underprivileged individuals around the would being freed of their hardships, or not?  In effect, it is critical to ask if the policies, say economic and political, are not at odds. Moreover, since the rhetoric of ‘development’ became a fundamental aspect of the language of diplomacy in the mid-nineteen hundreds, any country who publicly endorses preventive measures to reduce conflict, and yet has had a hand in generating said conflicts is in itself a thorny and sobering indicator.  Furthermore, when gauging the level of conflict that is generated precisely by the trading in those commodities found in the Horn of Africa, Southeast Asia, South America, or Central Eastern Europe, it is demonstrative, as was done in the previous section on ‘Types of Conflict,’ to look at what came previously, and why.  However, to do so is a complicated if not impossible task, requiring at least, the rewriting of twenty-first century history.  It is the nature of the problem that to comprehend how conflicts with direct links to illegal trade have elicited different State versus non-State responses (i.e. public versus private) in the latter half of the last century, one must comprehend how demand of commodities also produces an oversupply of conflict. 

When the political will for action arises under the auspices of national interest, the tendency towards reactive instead of proactive approaches becomes tantamount.  When diplomats argue for action based on a:  ‘Let us intervene by exporting stability to them, before they make a mockery of our sovereignty by exporting their form of instability over our borders,’ the tendency towards disjointed foreign policy stances becomes the norm.  The fact that the World Bank, the IMF, the UN, and USAID (amongst others active in this debate) have not concretized a forum for amalgamating their visions, capacities, and methodologies, has repeatedly made a three-ring circus of conflict management.  The four independent Balkan wars that occurred in the 1990s are perfect examples of the level of conflict that can arise and be prolonged when the multiple mechanisms for peacekeeping and preventive diplomacy fail to coordinate their efforts.

The initial inoculation of democracy into under-developed regions of the world starting in the 1950s was based on the theories of venture capital and microeconomics, but also on international law.  However, we must question the validity of current models of development having witnessed the size of the chore and the consequences of failure.  The unreliability of the ‘come on over and be like us’ policy has proved to be such a faulty calculation that the World Bank, the IMF, and USAID were just a few amongst many to undergo structural and institutional overhauls in the late 1990’s.  Kofi Annan’s recommendations for an overhaul of the United Nations can be found in his Millennium Declaration.  The European Union, as well, underwent several bureaucratic stages of development that in the end produced a rubric establishing parameters towards maintaining security within the EU’s territories.  Efforts in this direction can be seen with the Maastricht Treaty in 1991, the Helsinki Final Act, the Madrid Declaration, and more recently, the Petersburg Tasks.  Though the EU and its member states do not face any direct military threat to their territorial integrity other than the organized crime emanating from the Balkans, they have begun to understand that long-term security must be implemented comprehensively, with competency, and in a timely manner.  Furthermore, they have noted that the root causes of instability and insecurity have to be met with institutionalized, rule-based multilateralism.[47]

Continued violence around the world clearly demarcates why nation-building has more to do with national and cultural solidarity within a conflict infected region, than with global market policies.  The IMF’s fiscal policies toward Yugoslavia in 1989 were egregiously in contradiction with the harsh social conditions, directly compounding the Balkan political predicament and security dilemma.[48] Nation building, using a Western developmental approach, includes opening markets, enacting global trade agreements, and enforcing international customs law that governs all imported or exported goods across national borders, that are benevolent up to the point of selectivity.  Up to the point of collusion, more correctly.  Major global alliances and, let us not forget, the diplomats, envoys, representatives, political and business leaders who make up the world’s greater powers are well versed in negotiating for their side.  These typically partisan entities, representing or wrestling with standing parliaments and elected officials with their appointed administrations, demonstrate to the world the immovable politics that constitute hegemonic rules of engagement. 

Yet, the irony of such modern phenomena like the ‘CNN factor’ is that public opinion and political will are extremely erratic in the sense of when action is finally taken, and why.  This was most acutely witnessed in the disjointed responses to Bosnia, Rwanda, Somalia, and Zaire (which having a low level of media presence, has clocked in at over one million dead from its recent years of conflict post-Mobuto Sese Seko’s reign of terror and has yet to generate any corresponding international policy debates).  To quote from a recent report on conflict timber:  “Dimensions of the Problem in Asia and Africa,” put out by the United Nations Development Programme:

Conflict arises where commercial stocks of timber are present.  In every study area, the background to conflict lies in past repressive state control over forest lands under the Suharto regime, or even before in the colonial period.  Old resentments that have long held the potential for violence have been unleashed.  The recent upsurge in violent incidents related to timber has occurred in tandem with an ongoing and chaotic process of political decentralization along with capricious application of laws and regulations by new and old political elites.  International companies buying forest products, or providing logging tools, are also directly or indirectly complicit in engendering conflict.[49]

The political and economic destabilization that occurs in countries rich in resources but not in the rule of law results in “Kleptocratic” regimes.  They cycle into and out of power, vary in name and style, but all, in actuality, have the same socio-environmental ramifications.  And all have relatively the same solution, beginning with an end to violence through greater understanding.  Non-state terrorism is, to our increasing detriment, the language of a growing number of disaffected peoples around the world.  It is, in effect, the stage beyond power-motivated inter-state genocide.  To return to the idea of September 11, the US saw a situation not only get worse, but also mimic globalization.  

The UNDP study mentioned above categorized these affects into six areas, which are near universal when comprehending the cause and effects of commodity driven conflicts.  These problem areas are as follows:

1)      Implementation and enforcement of law is capricious.

2)      Fragmentation of political power has fragmented natural resource management.

3)      Newly devolved political powers to the local level by decentralization, which was meant to alleviate poverty within a newly democratized context, are abused.

4)      Old frustrations erupt with more frequency and force into conflict because the central government’s authority is primarily on paper, and so, without influence.

5)      Formal security and military agencies are directly and indirectly involved in timber conflicts.

6)      Corruption in financial and banking arrangements is an incentive for activities engendering conflict.

Numerous case studies conducted in Asia by the UNDP, as in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal/India, Pakistan/Afghanistan, Philippines, and Vietnam all reinforced these conclusions.[50]

11. Fatality Level of Dispute (military and civilian fatalities)

With a total of 37 armed conflicts raging over a ten year period, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has been forced to deal with a host of issues – all political, financial, and legal in nature. Mandated to debate the form and scope of a UNSC Resolution, cabinet-level diplomats representing their nations vital-interests together with other signatory nation states argue over terminology, and therefore, the rules of engagement.  They argue, for example, if the Geneva Convention’s international laws or the UN’s Charter on Human Rights both drafted in the late 1940’s, are applicable and how.  In the case of Rwanda, when the conflict reached its height in 1994, and where the  conflict between a Hutu-majority and a Tutsi-minority cost over 800,000 people their lives in approximately eight months, the word “Genocide” was not used until the damage had been done. 

The scenario that began coalescing in far off regions of the post Cold-War world was a ruthless push to establish a regional balance of power.  This strategy, infused with often contradictory perspectives of tribal warlords and state-sponsored militias, produced the hoarding of resources (which explains the land-grab aspect privy to all civil and world wars).  Militias mandated to establish civil obedience in a fractured state, whose integrity can only be maintained by heavy infusions of cash and military hardware, did so through violent domination.  The vicious civil wars that burst upon Africa over land and resources, where several countries sponsored militias to destabilize neighboring countries, as was seen in the case of Congo with refugees and its massacres resulting from military operations initiated by non-native political parties.

The subsequent creation of the Democratic Republic of Congo to diffuse the conflict has not functioned to solve this problem.  A non-governmental organization by the name of the International Rescue Committee released a report on 8 April, 2003 estimating the death toll of combatants and non-combatants associated with the civil war (i.e. civilians and refugees alike who suffer casualties caused by starvation and disease) at between 4.7 and 6.7 million.  The inability to establish a more exact number is blamed on black-holes, rather, the many areas completely off-limits to aid workers or peacekeepers.  Consequently, where there is a marked lack of regulatory powers with civilian rights as a priority, and conflict reigns, there are incalculable casualties. Case in point, conflict timber in the form of Futon Beds or Adirondack chairs seldom if ever invigorates a politician or activist to accept any level of responsibility for the guns and ammunition acquired as a result, in the timber's country of origin.

IV. Environment and Conflict Overlap

12. Environment-Conflict Link and Dynamics

But the regulations dealing with the trade of timber products have not, to date, included a comprehensive definition of conflict timber.  The EU, for example, has yet to put forth a blacklist of all companies with the history of, or potential to violate an established and  stringent corporate code of conduct when it comes to conflict timber.  This has more than just a humanitarian angle.  It is seen by many to be crucial for the clean conscience of EU member-states and their timber industries.  This is due to the obvious obstacle inherent in harvesting timber, and the complicity that EU companies have simply because the trafficking (not trade) of conflict timber requires a host of tools, trucks, ships, and ports clearly under control of Western companies.

In taking this further, in the context of what has been outlined, the point must be made in regards to the fundamental premise of “open market capitalism.”  That is: without demand, there is no supply.  Without multinational corporations, there is no viable market for goods that originate in foreign lands plagued with human rights, and thus, environmental abuses.

13. Level of Strategic Interest

In the world’s more underdeveloped countries, devolution of Human Rights and Environmental regulations is always preceded by political instability.  The corruption of existing military and police organs continues to speak of the deficiencies latent in the field of International Law and its many conventions (from the Geneva Convention, to the European Union’s Petersburg Tasks; from the Children’s Convention, to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.)  It would seem though that the “soft power” being cultivated in Europe is at the nexus of global efforts being made to tackle the problem concomitant with the failing of a state.  It will be a long road, but there is hope in many sectors of the international community that the policies that are being hammered out in the EU are the closest thing we have to a new set of dictums with which to address conflicted regions around the world.  One of the more apt sets of  policies to come out of the EU IS based on proximity to insecure regions and IS called the Neighborhood Policies.  These have been created to further fill the diplomatic toolbox of negotiators and practitioners of preventive diplomacy.  Uncontrolled migration into the EU when coupled with links to international organized crime has bled through to the degree that establishing a wider net of security and stability has become a goal for the EU.

As mentioned, the EU’s Neighborhood Policies are instruments that theoretically offer concrete benefits through preferential relationships to contiguous states in the form of greater market access, as well as investment promotions.  The availability of these benefits are directly linked to a defined list of positive accomplishments that states must prove to have reached.  Examples of areas that must see progress are: respect for human rights, economic reform, democratization, and notable political/military cooperation in order to create joint crisis management and conflict prevention mechanisms, including opening the door to possible strategies to combat terrorism.  The EU’s soft power is based on creating bilateral relations that will develop into multilateral partnerships to allow participating countries to approximate the status of an EU member state without actually being one.  The basic underlying objective here is to harmonize shared values on security and prosperity and so minimize the disputes and the violent manners in which they are traditionally resolved, or not resolved.

14. Outcome of Dispute

Europe has a unique burden in the matter of destabilized African states.  The resulting cases of genocide, the pillaging of the environment, and the pattern of ethnic Diaspora’s around Africa can be traced to Europe’s golden age of colonialism.  Furthermore, the choices for the communities of peoples living under the oppression of a state they neither understand or chose are few.  They can chose to remain silent or to leave, to tolerate the abuse or to become an abuser themselves in order to survive.  Holding on to any shred of regional stability, as seen in the West’s behavior in the past toward Rwanda, Afghanistan, the rump Yugoslavia, Sierra Leon, the Israel/Palestine question, and now Iraq, trumps the value of human life.

The relationship between a conflict commodity like timber and regional instability is undoubtedly linked at the grassroots level. The fact of regional instability is both inversely and conversely linked to the interest of global players (i.e. governments, markets, consumers, etc.).  The outcome of the particular dispute surrounding the harvesting and sale of illegal timber is far from being concluded. In conclusion, the reality of such illicit and ultimately war- inducing global exchanges will surely define (as we have begun to take in the full extent OF the chimera that is a terrorism) the model of modern warfare, and the ensuing methods of quelling social unrest.

V. Related Information and Sources

15. Related ICE and TED Cases

TED Cases:

AFRICA - by Jennifer Douglas and Shehu Ibrahim
AUSTRIA - by Christina Patterson
CAMWOOD - by Shugo Tanaka
CHOPSTIK - by Jay A. Schmidt
GHANA - by Senamede Beheton and Shehu Ibrahim
HAWALA - by Joshua Kleymeyer
MALAY - Nik Balanakura
NICARAG - Deborah Ullmer
OPTION9 - David Dalbeck
SURINAMEWOOD - Sharon Eve Grau
TEAK - Kevin T. Kunkel and Teri Emmons
THAILOG - Paul Macek and Kalaya Chareonying
VIETWOOD - Brian W Hill
WOODLBL - Shawn Lee Bryant

ICE Cases:

10. NAGORNO “Nagorno War and Armenian Deforestation,” by Kathy Lalazarian (Summer, 1997)
11. KALIMAN “Ethnic Conflict and Deforestation in Kalimantan (Indonesia),” by Dianne Linder (November, 1997)
12. BELIZEBelize Logging Conflict,” by Juliet Litterer, (Spring, 1997)
15. PETEN “Guatemala-Maya Civil War and Deforestation,” by Barbara Pando (November, 1997)
26. TUPAC “Tupac Amaru,” Deforestation and Peru, Julissa Castellanos (January, 1998)
54. HAITIDEF “Deforestation in Haiti,” by Kristen Picariello (December 18, 1997)
88. CONGO-COLTANCongo War and the Role of Coltan,” by Natalie Ware (December 2001)
96. TEAK “Teak Deforestation and Trade in Southeast Asia and Conflict,” (Cross Link to TED Case 200), by Kevin T. Kunkel and Teri Emmons (June 1995)
116. LIBERIA-AMERICA “Repatriates to Africa and Links to Current Civil Conflict,” by Kimberly Jackson (June 2003)
117. MINDANAO “The Conflict in Mindanao, Terrorism, and How Environmental Factors Have Contributed,” by Alyson Slack (June 2003

16. Relevant Web sites and Literature

Web sites:



Pauwels, Natalie. “Conflict Commodities: Addressing the Role of Natural Resource in
Conflict.” Briefing Paper No. 27, March 2003, ISIS- Europe.

Klare, Michael. "Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict." Owl Books;
Reprint edition (March 13, 2002)

Struhsaker, Thomas. "Ecology of an African Rain Forest: Logging in Kibale and the
Conflict Between Conservation and Exploitation." University Press of Florida; (April 1997)

Homer-Dixon, Thomas. "Environment, Scarcity, and Violence." Princeton Univ Pr;
Reprint edition (July 2, 2001)

Ebertowski, Marianne. “The Aftermath of September 11: New Challenges for a European
Common Foreign and Security Policy.” Heinrich Böll Foundation EU Regional Office Brussels; (September 2003)

Coolsaet, Rik and Sven Biscop. “A European Security Concept for the 21st Century.”
Royal Institute for International Relations (IRRI-KIIB) Belgium; (October 2003)

Ferguson, Niall. “The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World,1700-2000.”
Allen Lane - The Penguin Press, England; (2001).

Jarvie, J., R. Kanaan, M. Malley, T. Roule and J. Thomson (May 2003) “Conflict Timber:
Dimensions of the problem in Asia and Africa.” Vol. 2 - Asian Cases - United Nations Development Programme. Associates in Rural Development, Inc., [jointly commissioned by = the Asia/Near East Bureau]. envirovlc/072003/index.htm (December, 2003).

Jervis, Robert. “Perception and Misperception in International Politics,” (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1976).



Author’s note:
This study is a compilation of research that stemmed from an internship at the International Security Information Service in Brussels Belgium, for electronic posting in American Universities ICE database of web pages on similar impacts that conflict has on our environmental.  The author would like to thank James Lee, head of the ICE team at AU.  Praise must be offered as well to the countless agencies doing good work in Europe, the US, and Africa producing credible and therefore, invaluable studies.  The ability to access reports published by expert research panel, as well as in-depth journalist coverage by Greenpeace, Global Witness, and Rapaport News to name a few, have been very helpful.


1. U.S. Mission to the European Union, 17 December, 1999U.S.-EU Statement of Common Principles on Small Arms and Light Weapons,” <> (4/25/2004).

2. Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, “Political Power,” fifth ed. (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1973), ch. 3, p. 25.

3. Robert Kaplan, “The Coming Anarchy: How scarcity, crime, overpopulation, tribalism, and disease are rapidly destroying the social fabric of our planet,” The Atlantic Monthly, February 1994, Volume 273, No. 2, p. 53.

4. These concepts are outlined in the works of Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (Upper Saddle River, NJ, NJ: Simon &Schuster, 1996).

5. For further information on this subject, see reports conducted by United Nations Development Program, compiled in their Human Development Report. Specifically the 2000 HDR report on “Human Rights and Development,” and the 1998 HDR report on “Human Development to Eradicate Poverty,” (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001 and 1999).

6. Rapaport News, 17 April, 2001, “UN Panel Calls for Embargo on Congo Exploiters” <> (4/20/2004).

7. “Security Council Report Addresses Conflict Timber,” PROFOR, News Archive: June 2001. < > (11/2003).

8. ARD, Inc. Projects, “Conflict Timber: Dimensions of the Problem in Asia and Africa - September 2002-June 2003” <> (10/9/2003)

9. The gravity of this issue is addressed in the works of John Tomlinson in his book, Cultural Imperialism (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1991) and Herbert Schiller in his book, Information Inequality: The deepening social crisis in America (New York: Routledge, 1996).

10. For further discussion on “cognitive dissonance,” see Robert Jervis, Perception and Misperception in International Politics, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), Ch. 11, 382-406.

11. Marianne Ebertowski, “The Aftermath of September 11: New Challenges for a European
Common Foreign and Security Policy.” Heinrich Böll Foundation EU Regional Office Brussels; (September 2003), 14-15.

12. Alan M. Dershowitz, "Rules of war enable terror." The Baltimore Sun, 28 March 2004, Sec. A, Op-ed.

13. Natalie Pauwels, “Conflict Commodities: Addressing the Role of Natural Resource in Conflict.” Briefing Paper No. 27, March 2003, ISIS- Europe, p. 7-8.

14. For more information on the advent of development prerogatives and projects by the numerous institutions created after WWII look at Hamid Mowlana’s chapter 10 “Communication and Development: The Emerging Orders” in his book, Global Information and World Communication, second ed. (California, Sage Publications: 1997) p. 187-8.

15. Ibid., 234.

16. For more detailed discussion into the ramifications of societies functioning on the cash payment, criticized greatly by Marx, reference to Niall Ferguson’s, The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700-2000, (England, Penguin Press: 2001).

17. See writings of Jürgen Habermas, Legitimation Crisis, (London, Heinemann: 1976); and C. Offe, Contradictions of the Welfares State, (London, Hutchinson: 1984).

18. Charter of the United Nations: Chapter VI and VII. < chapter6.htm> (2/10/2003), 1.

19. For more discussion on what the UN can and can’t, will or won’t do, reference Linda Polman’s book, We Did Nothing: Why the truth doesn’t always come out when the UN goes in, (UK: Penguin Books, 2003).

20. Marianne Ebertowski, 14.

21. Charter of the United Nations: Chapter I. <> (2/10/2003).

22. Hamid Mowlana, “The Unfinished Revolution: The Crisis of Our Age,” found in, Global Information and World Communication, second ed. (California, Sage Publications: 1997) ch. 12, p. 234.

23. Power Point presentation facts offered at the OSCE headquarters in Vienna, Austria by Deputy Keith Jinx on November 11, 2003.

24. For further conversation on the quagmire that was Vietnam, reference Irving L. Janis’s essay “Escalation of the Vietnam War: How Could it Happen?” found in G. John Ikenberry’s American Foreign Policy: Theoretical Essays, forth ed. (New York: Longman, 2002) 544-572.

25. Europol, “2002 European Union organized crime report, “(Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2003), 22.

26. Greenpeace, Bloody Timber Off the Market . http://www.Greenpeace/Bloody timber off the market.htm (5/10/2003).

27. B. Thomas Trout, J. Harf, & W. Kincade, eds., Essentials of National Security, (New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1989), Ch. 11, 258.

28. For further discussion on the many sides to Hawala, reference Josh Kleymeyer’s case study in the TED database titled, “Hawala: Conflict Diamonds and Child Soldiers” (AU TED Database: 2003) <>

29. ARD, Inc. Projects, “Conflict Timber: Dimensions of the Problem in Asia and Africa - September 2002-June 2003” <> (5/7/2003).

30. For further insight into cross-national quantitative research on these topics, see AM Crowly et. al., "Quantitative cross-national studies of economic development: a comparison of economics and sociology literatures," Studies on Comparative International Development, (1998, 33:30-57).

31. Greenpeace, “Lawlessness in the Amazon Underscores Need for U.S. to Stop Import of Illegal Wood.” (Nov. 24, 2003) <> (5/7/2004)

32. Kenneth Menkhaus and Louis Ortmayer, “Somalia: Misread Crisis and Missed Opportunities,” found in Bruce W. Jentleson’s, “Opportunities Missed, Opportunities Seized: Preventive Diplomacy in the Post-Cold War World,” (Washington DC: Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, 2001), p. 211-212.

33. For further discussions on the issue of policy failures toward illegal logging see Charles Barber, “Forests, Fires and Confrontation in Indonesia,” in Mark Halle and Jason Switzer, eds., Conserving the Peace. Resources, Livelihoods and Security. International institute for Sustainable Development, 2002.

34. Greenpeace, "European Timber Trader Linked With Liberian Arms Trafficking." (16 July 2001) <> (5/7/2004)

35. Seán Ó Riain, “States and Markets in An Era of Globalization,” Annual Review of Sociology, 2000, 26: 188.

36. Ibid., 194.

37. Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffler, “Justice-Seeking and Loot-Seeking in Civil War,” (Washington DC: Mimeo - World Bank, 1999.

38. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, “Reflections on the Role of the UN and its Secretary General,” found in “Preventive Diplomacy: Stopping Wars Before They Start,” ed. Kevin M. Cahill, a joint publication of Routledge and The Center for International Health and Cooperation, (New York, 2000), 189.

39. Lee H. Hamilton, “Forward,” found in Bruce W. Jentleson’s, “Opportunities Missed, Opportunities Seized: Preventive Diplomacy in the Post-Cold War World,” (Washington D.C.: Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, 2001), xi.

40. Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, Final Report, (Washington DC: Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, 1997), p. 11-12.

41. Bruce W. Jentleson, Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, “Opportunities Missed, Opportunities Seized: Preventive Diplomacy in the Post-Cold War World,” (Washington D.C.: Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, 2001), p. 4.

42. Morton Abramowitz, “Going Backwards in the Balkans.” The Washington Post, (4/19/2004), A23.

43. Robert Jervis, Perception and Misperception in International Politic, “Deterrence, the Spiral Model and Intentions of the Adversary: Two Views of International Relations and the cold War,” (New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 1976), 66.

44. Ibid., 66.

45. For more discussion on how the public sphere is the instrument of private or pubic choice, see: Shalini Venturelli, Liberalizing the European Media: Politics, Regulation, and the Public Sphere, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 41.

46. For further discussions on new forms of sanctions possible at the sub-political level in the form of political conditions like human rights, see Lord Robert Skidelsky and Edward Mortimer’s piece titled, “Economic Sanctions as a Means to International Health,” found in Kevin M. Cahill, ed., Preventive Diplomacy: Stopping Wars Before They Start, (New York: Routledge, 2000), 143-161.

47. This is explained further in “Ch. 5, Europe’s Proximity: Neighborhood Policies,” found in A European Security Concept For the 21st Century, published by the Royal Institute for International Relations(IRRI-KIIB), (Brussels: October 2003) 6, & 9-11.

48. Susan L. Woodward, “Costly Disinterest: Missed Opportunities for Preventive Diplomacy in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1985-1991,” found in Bruce W. Jentleson’s book, “Opportunities Missed, Opportunities Seized: Preventive Diplomacy in the Post-Cold War World,” (Washington D.C.: Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, 2001), p.146.

49. Jarvie, J., R. Kanaan, M. Malley, T. Roule and J. Thomson (May 2003) “Conflict Timber:  Dimensions of the problem in Asia and Africa.” Vol. 2 - Asian Cases - United Nations Development Programme.

50. Ibid.

[June 2004]