People look at the remains of an armoured personnel carrier that is part of an exhibition of weapons, drones, documents and other materials the Ukrainian government claims it recovered in eastern Ukraine and prove direct Russian involvement in the fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists on February 22, 2015 in Kiev, Ukraine. Russia has denied sending heavy weaponry to the separatists, admitting only that Russian volunteers are participating in the fighting.

Transcending illusive dilemmas

The Myth of ‘Frozen Conflicts’

April 2010, Number 01.02

“The pernicious character of the term “frozen conflicts” is striking. Yet it is still largely employed even if manifestly inappropriate. Embracing the term frozen conflicts could amount to a hypocritical approach that claims the situation is frozen while the post-conflict effects are visible and evolving, an ostrich approach that pretends we cannot see the imminent danger, or a cynical approach that assumes that insofar as the conflict is not imminently re-erupting, this is someone else’s problem.

The term frozen conflicts is deceiving; it erroneously suggests that a conflict could be put on hold as one could press the pause button of a remote control. Nothing remains unaltered ad infinitum in either the physical world or in the political world, either in a home refrigerator or in the Black Sea-South Caucasus area. The very existence of any form of life inescapably involves alteration and is manifestly placed under the sign of change. Territorial conflicts without lasting solutions could not escape the alterability of a lingering situation in which almost all sides, far from idly waiting, are attempting to differently affect a status quo that all directly involved parties equally find unattractive and distant to their ultimate goals...”

Excerpt from Filon Morar, “The Myth of ‘Frozen Conflicts’,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 1, No. 2, 2010: 10-17.

Dr. Filon Morar is a diplomatic counselor at the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs now serving on an EU electoral assessment mission in Iraq. He specializes in transition to democracy studies and worked on electoral technical assistance and post-conflict stabilization missions in Iraq, Algeria and Georgia with the United Nations and EU. He was a deputy chief of Field Office Tbilisi with the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia. He was an assistant professor at the University of Bucharest political science department and has published four books and several articles on political science and international relations. He has a doctorate in political philosophy and a master’s degree in political science. He is a 2001 graduate of the Marshall Center Program on Advanced Security Studies.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.