A Level-of-Analysis-approach to the Kosovo-War

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2006

19 Pages, Grade: 2,0


Table of contents


1. The theory of Multi-Level-Analysis

2. The individual level
Slobodan Milosevic
Ibrahim Rugova

3. The national level
3.1 The situation in Kosovo
3.2 The situation in Yugoslavia

4. The international level
The UN
The EU
The Balkans Contact Group
The G-8

5. Conclusion

6. Bibliography


This paper deals with the Kosovo-War of 1999 and tries to examine this conflict by using the Multi-Level-Analysis. This approach was first established by the Realist scholar Kenneth Waltz in 1954 and it marks a key aspect of the Realist-theory of International Relations.

On the one hand the Multi-Level-Analysis provides the opportunity to explain the causes of war on different levels of society like the individual, the societal and the international level. On the other hand, conflict resolutions can be found as well by finding and solving the conflict causes on each level.

In its first chapter, the following paper will give an overview of the Realist Multi-

Level-Analysis as presented by Kenneth Waltz. The theory’s application for the explanation and the resolution of conflicts will also be an aspect of the first chapter. The following chapters will use this theoretical template to find and to explain the different conflict causes on each level which lead to the Kosovo-War.

Therefore, the second chapter examines the behaviour and policy of the two major protagonists on the individual level. Slobodan Milosevic as President of Yugoslavia and Ibrahim Rugova as the representative of the Kosovo-Albanians will be confronted and compared to find the conflict’s individual motives.

The third chapter deals with the national resp. societal level. Here the conflicting interests of different ethnical or social groups shall be presented. But also economical problems and social injustice played an important role for the rise of the conflict in Kosovo. These aspects will be examined as well.

The fourth chapter gives an overview of the most important actors on the international level. Those are organisations like the EU, NATO, OSCE but also Russia and the USA. Their roles, interests and importance during the conflict will be explained and compared regarding Waltz’ theory about conflict causes on the international level.

The paper ends with a summary of the preceding chapters and a critical view on Waltz’ theory. The questions, in how far the Multi-Level-Analysis is applicable on the Kosovo-War and whether it can offer possibilities for conflict resolution will be answered in this last chapter.

1. The theory of Multi-Level-Analysis

In his book “Man, the state and war” author Kenneth Waltz presented a new view on international relations in 1954. Waltz saw the reasons for war on three different images/levels. The first and most important for him is the individual level, i.e. the level of man. Causes of war can be found in the nature and the behaviour of individuals. For Waltz, wars result from selfishness, misdirected aggressive impulses or stupidity among men.[1] So the primary information to explain existing wars lies on the individual level, where people need to be identified who caused a war with their own selfishness, stupidity or other conflict causing behaviour. Apart from that, Waltz remarks that the elimination of war must come through uplifting and enlightening men or securing their psycho-social readjustment.[2]

The second level on which wars occur is that of the internal structure of states. As Waltz explains, defects in the internal structure of states cause wars among them. Examples for such defects can be deprivations imposed by despots on their people, sedition, rebellion or acts of civil war. The state, plagued by internal strife, may then seek an external conflict to promote internal peace and unity among the people.[3]

The third level presents conflict causes on the international level. Because each state is the final judge of his affairs, any state may at any time use force to reach its aims. So other states constantly must be ready to resist an attack. On the one hand, anarchy on the international state level creates insecurity among the people and forces them to look with suspicion at each other. On the other hand, wars are bound to occur among sovereign states, if there is no system of law above them. Each state is judging its grievances and ambitions according to the dictates of its own reason or desire.[4] Antagonisms that can occur between states are not only important for the unity among its own people but also when a state has to mobilize resources, interests and sentiments behind a war policy. Previously inculcated feelings of enmity may make a war policy more likely and increase its chances of success.[5]

If international anarchy is the problem, Waltz presents two possible solutions: (1) to impose an effective control on the separate and imperfect states; (2) to remove different and competing states from the map and to lift them up into a sphere were one world state feeds the requirements of the people.[6] Today, both solutions seem to be found at least partially in international organisations like UNO, EU, NATO and international agreements on the proliferation of weapons or arms limitations. But as long as wars among sovereign states occur, the problem of anarchy in the international system is not solved completely or satisfactory.

The theoretical template mentioned above will now be used to examine, whether and how peace was established on each level in the case of the Kosovo-War. According to Waltz’ Multi-Level-Analysis, conflict causes must be found on the individual, the state and the international level. The overall topic of “conflict resolution” then leads to the question in how far these causes were erased or whether they still exist.

2. The individual level

Slobodan Milosevic

In 1987, the old fashioned communist Milosevic was elected by the 8th plenum of the central committee of the Serbian Communist Party as President of Yugoslavia. As usual in communist parties and dictatorships, Milosevic was used to reduce all social or political controversies into a friend-enemy-scheme. Right against wrong, good against evil, revolution against restoration were the leading principles of Milosevic’ policy and helped him to consolidate his power. That is why he created crises and wars again and again. Coming to decisions by struggle was his way of policy rather than the way of finding compromises. By using the struggle as a way of politics, compromise is reduced to a sign of weakness. In crisis and during the struggle against inner and foreign enemies, Milosevic used threats and retaliatory measures to create a permanent sphere of fear among those who did not submit to his policy.[7]

By using the media, above all Television, Milosevic was enabled to promote himself as the only saviour of the Serbian people in a period of disintegration and insecurity. In his speeches on TV, in parliament and in public, Milosevic tried to emphasise the unity among the Serbian people by using the history of Kosovo and the Amselfeld[8].

In Middle Age, a Christian Serbian army was defeated by the army of the Muslim Ottoman Empire and the Serbian people fall under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. 600 years later, this event was converted into a symbol for the Serbian will for independence, self-determination and Christianity. A sacrifice myth was created in which the loose of Kosovo would mean the loose of an important aspect of Serbian culture.[9]


[1] See: Waltz, Kenneth. Man, the state and War. A theoretical analysis. Edition 2001. New York 2001. P.16.

[2] ibid.

[3] See: Waltz. P. 81 ff.

[4] See: Waltz. P. 159 ff.

[5] See: Waltz. P. 179.

[6] See: Waltz. P. 182.

[7] See: Rüb, Matthias. Kosovo. Ursachen und Folgen eines Krieges in Europa. München 1999. P. 34 f.

[8] Im englischen existiert neben der Bezeichnung „Amselfeld“ auch „Kosovo Field“, die jedoch beide sowohl die historische, als auch geographische Dimension dieser Region im Kosovo erfassen. Im Folgenden soll der im deutschen identische Begriff „Amselfeld“ benutzt werden.

[9] See: Hofbauer, Hannes. Balkankrieg. Zehn Jahre Zerstörung Jugoslawiens. Wien 2001. P. 82.

Excerpt out of 19 pages


A Level-of-Analysis-approach to the Kosovo-War
University of Münster  (Institut für Politikwissenschaft)
Conflict Resolution
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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Level-of-Analysis-approach, Kosovo-War, Conflict, Resolution
Quote paper
Bernd Reismann (Author), 2006, A Level-of-Analysis-approach to the Kosovo-War, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/54800


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