Causes of Conflicts

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From the perspective of various academic disciplines, there have been different explanations for conflict and war. This week we will examine a specific case study that shows that even small incidents can explode into major issues.

According to Australian News Service reports, Thailand and Cambodia have begun high-level talks aimed at resolving a military stand-off over a disputed temple on their joint border. Defense officials met in a border town about 350 kilometers from the 11th century temple that has been the focus of a decade-long dispute between the two neighbors.

Hundreds of Thai and Cambodian troops have faced each other at the Preah Vihear temple since mid-July, backed up by several thousand more troops and heavy artillery on both sides. A Cambodian government spokesman says he does not expect a swift end to the stand-off, but believes the talks will ease some of the tension.

The temple has provoked political turmoil in Thailand after Prime Minister Samak’s government agreed last month to support Cambodia’s bid to win World Heritage status for the ruins. The World Court ruled in 1962 that it belongs to Cambodia, but its most accessible entrance lies in Thailand and the exact border is in dispute.

A Thai court invalidated the prime minister’s agreement, and foreign minister Noppadon Pattama was forced to resign in the ensuing scandal. The parliamentary opposition is mulling impeachment motions against the entire cabinet. Despite the controversy, earlier this month the UN’s cultural agency UNESCO awarded the temple World Heritage status in recognition of its importance as an example of ancient Khmer architecture.

Examine this case study in terms how conflict can arise and escalate. The discussion will probably require that you fully investigate the Thai-Cambodian case.

In this seminar discussion, you need to ensure a full exchange of ideas and comments. This means going beyond statements of “I agree with…”.

Instructions: Your initial post should be at least 500 words.

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