Natural Resources & War


In the late 1990s and first decade of the 2000s, scholars and policy makers began focusing on the threat of natural resources to peace and stability. The presence of some natural resources, it seemed, was correlated with greater potential for civil conflict, instability, and war.


Under what conditions do natural resources promote conflict? And, under what conditions might they lead to peace?


With the help of a grant from the US Institute of Peace, Prof. Ron and his colleague, Pierre Englebert, studied the impact of oil on the onset, duration, and termination of civil war in Congo Brazzaville. Later, with the help of a grant from the Arsenault family foundation, Prof. Ron organized a workshop and special issue of the Journal of Conflict Resolution on the issue.


Politics matter; natural resources on their own have little effect. More specifically, the nature and quality of the state in question matters tremendously.



RON, J., Guest editor. Journal of Conflict Resolution 49/4. Special issue, “Primary Commodities and Civil War.”

RON, J. “Paradigm in Distress? Primary Commodities & Civil War.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 49/4: 443-455.


ENGLEBERT, P. & J. RON. “Primary Commodities & War: Congo-Brazzaville’s Ambivalent Resource Curse.” Comparative Politics 37/1: 61-81.


RON, J. “Stop Looking the Other Way.” Globe and Mail. August 10; “Le bras inegal de la justice internationale.” Le Devoir. August 20.