The Enemy of My Enemy is My Agent : A Case Study on the Effects of Soft Power in Preventing and Facilitating One-Sided Violence in Internal Conflicts

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för freds- och konfliktforskning

Abstract: The internationalisation of conflicts has made the study of the effects of external support a prominent subfield within peace and conflict studies. How supporting states affect conflict strategies and changes the conflict dynamic has been the prime concern of this thesis. I have argued that when a government actor is supported by an external state with high soft power, in the form of political and economic capital, the government is less inclined to use one-sided violence as a conflict strategy. By using the principal- agent theory as a model to explain the relationship between the supporter and the supported state, I have found support for my argument. The government of the Central African Republic has conducted low levels of one-sided violence when supported by the soft power France. The government of South Sudan, on the other hand, has conducted high levels of one-sided violence when supported by the non-soft power Uganda. By coming to this conclusion, this paper has introduced soft power as an important concept in peace and conflict studies while also helping to elucidate the role of external supporters in conflict strategies. Future research should develop on the findings in this thesis by controlling for other possible explanations to why one-sided violence decreases depending on the characteristics of the support and include a greater number of cases.

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