When the Cold War ended 10 years ago, we expected an era of peace. What we got instead was a decade of war.

Conflicts in Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia during the 1990s--mostly civil wars--have been extraordinarily brutal, with the majority of victims being children, women, and the elderly. The entire international community has been involved in costly relief operations and peacekeeping missions, frequently under hostile conditions.

Why has peace been so elusive? A recent report coproduced by Future Harvest and the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo examines conflicts around the world and finds that most of today's wars--unlike the recent war in Kosovo--are fueled by poverty, not by ideology.

The devastation occurs primarily in developing countries whose economies depend on agriculture but which lack the means to make their farmland productive. These countries--such as Sudan, Congo, Colombia, Liberia, Peru, Sierra Leone, and Sri Lanka--are places with poor...

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