Engaging Non-State Armed Actors. Options and Strategies

Armed actors dominate contemporary conflict environments dramatically. Their degree of dispersion, influence, and effect on international politics make it necessary to establish strategies for interaction with them. This article makes a contribution by assessing particular strategies and their suitability and applicability with regard to specific actors. First, it delineates options for dealing with armed actors based on three perspectives from international relations theory: realist, institutionalist, and constructivist. Second, it matches these perspectives to the capabilities of international actors. Finally, it offers an assessment of the difficulties that arise from the plurality of forms of armed actors, as well as of external actors.