Sunday, 2 March 2014
Pease Making and conflict resolution
2. Guard the Balance of Powers
3. Reduce Any Gap Between Expectations and Power
4. Accept Some Conflict Now
5. Reduce the Probability of Successful Violence
6. Institutionalize Adjustment Procedures
7. Expect Conflict as Normal
8. Increase and Assure Freedom
For any society the question of social justice is this: What principles would people select for their social institutions if they had no idea what their abilities or place in society would be? If major socio cultural and sociopolitical divisions exist in a society that rule our consensus on first-order principles, then the Just Package is the just solution. That is, social institutions should then permit and secure each individual's rights to determine his social contract--community--with others, and to leave any community.1 And for any such society the question is how to achieve this just peace.
Given this understanding, in the following section and next two chapters I will first discuss a philosophical approach to implementing the Just Peace, which I will call incrementalism; second, I will outline principles and rules for peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peace fostering that are consistent with or derived from the theoretical and empirical work of previous volumes and point toward a just peace; and third, I will present two general principles for incrementally moving toward a just peace.
THE PEACEKEEPING PRINCIPLE
Peacekeeping requires beginning with things as they are, not some past situation or some future hope. But this assumes knowing what is presently important for keeping the peace, which in turn requires understanding the nature and basis of peace. It will not help, and may even create conflict and violence, if peace is seen as the absence of any conflict behavior and peacekeeping viewed as avoiding any provocative, assertive, aggravating, contentious, antagonistic, or hostile behavior--in short, any behavior which may upset another. The first rule of peacekeeping is to understand peace. Such an understanding, I believe, is presented in these volumes. Peace is a structure of expectations, a social contract. It will be kept only as the parties, for whatever reason, find it in all their intersecting interests, capabilities, and wills to do so.
Moreover, peacekeeping must have in mind a specific peace--a particular structure of expectations--and a specific level of peace. Does one want to avoid intense, nonviolent conflict, violence, or just extreme violence, revolution, war? Different levels of peace are interrelated, and keeping peace at one level may require giving it up at another. Trying to avoid all conflict may restrict adjustment, increase pressure for radical change, and risk violence. Indeed, avoiding a war may entail a willingness to engage in limited violence.
In addition, expectations are interdependent. Social relations are a totality, a whole of overlapping and nested structures of expectations. Efforts to keep one kind of peace may spill over onto other kinds of peace, perhaps even creating conflict. For example, a government's desire to avoid an open clash with strikers may communicate weakness and encourage more and possibly even a general strike.
In any case, a specific peace depends on a balance of interests, capabilities, and wills. Relevant change in this balance will increase or decrease the likelihood of conflict. Is there a shift in interests relevant to the status quo expectations? Have relevant capabilities altered? Has will altered? For example, through diverse conflicts and crises during the period from 1945 to 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union developed a balance of powers and associated understandings and treaties that allowed them to coexist with a minimal danger of war. But for a number of reasons (such as the Vietnam war, generational turnover, fear of nuclear weapons, and a tactical Soviet emphasis on détente) the interests of American leaders gradually shifted from primarily opposing Soviet expansionism to avoiding nuclear war. American capability to confront the Soviet Union declined; the will to oppose communism weakened. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union continued to pursue her primary aim of a Soviet-led, global communist victory and has been massively increasing her military capability to support this goal. Much change therefore has occurred in the Soviet-American balance, leading to a much increased risk of Soviet-American war.14 To try to prevent this war means understanding the current balance and these changes the Reagan Administration understood this and in the 1980s successfully rearmed, strengthen theater and strategic deterrence, displayed strong support for democracy and democracies, and showed the resolution to use force, if necessary. All this eventually caused Secretary Gorbachev of the Soviet Union to realize that they could not both compete with a restrengthened United States in arms and also deal with its own domestic economic deterioration, and for this and other reasons he set a new course in foreign and domestic policies that unintentionally and eventually lead to the collapse of the Soviet Union
Not only the relevant but also the relative changes in the balance are important. Changes in what the parties want and can and will do may be offsetting. Or they may be moving in opposite directions, as for the United States and Soviet Union. [Written in 1998: from 1968 until the Reagan Administration, the United States had been unilaterally disarming,15 while the Soviet Union engaged in a rapid build-up. Thus, in relative terms, their disparity in military capability had been changing more rapidly than would be clear from looking at either's capability alone.]
Guard the Balance of Powers
A particular balance of powers is essential to its associated status quo and peace. This balance is a matter of what psychological relationships have developed between individuals or groups. Knowing or sensing this balance and its changes is one aspect of peacekeeping. Maintaining this balance is another. This requires keeping a relative balance among the relevant interests, capabilities, and wills. But this may be a temporary effort until any significant gap which has developed between the status quo and underlying powers can be reversed.
Keep in mind, however, that some changes may be just and the resulting conflict a worthwhile adjustment. I do not argue in the abstract for peacekeeping above all, or even peacekeeping as a major goal. It is only a means toward a just peace. Many interests must be satisfied. And the weight peacekeeping should be given against, for example, protecting or enhancing freedom, equality, or rights, depends on the situation. Nonetheless, guarding the balance of powers can help to anticipate and avoid undesirable conflict. And on this score the status quo challenger should be watched.
The status quo is the core of any peace. It defines rights and obligations--who gets what from whom.16 Now, a party may not like or want a particular status quo but may believe that the cost of changing it outweighs the gain. He is dissatisfied, waiting for a favorable shift in the balance of powers to challenge the status quo. Therefore, it is vital to recognize a status quo challenger (such as a revolutionary group or state) and to know the particular balance that maintains the status quo against him. Peace is then a matter of maintaining the relative strength of those who support the status quo.
This requires being alert to warning signals. Often one need not be a social scientist or seasoned observer to recognize that something is going wrong. The signs are all too familiar: increasing tension, hostility, unrest, insecurity. These are atmospherics whose precise source may be obscure and do not consist of any specific behavior. They usually reflect a growing gap between a balance of powers and a status quo; they tell us that a significant gap exists.
Rather than avoid or treat the tension or hostility, which are only effects, seek their source. What status quo is involved? What rights or obligations? Was there relative change in relevant interests? Have associated relative capabilities shifted? Is there still sufficient resolve to protect the status quo? Perhaps the new leadership of some state believes that they can now realize an historic national goal of extending the state's borders to the ocean. Or perhaps shifting populations and upward mobility have weakened the power base of a political machine, or perhaps change in relative military capability has emboldened a state to seek regional dominance.
Reduce Any Gap Between Expectations and Power
Three approaches can help reduce the risk of intense conflict resulting from a particular balance of powers becoming incongruent with a status quo. The first is to redress the balance of powers by making compensating changes in what one wants and can and will do. Second, one can negotiate incremental changes in status quo expectations. Treaties or contracts may be redrawn, understandings discussed and redefined, and practices altered. Indeed, diplomacy can be defined as the art of avoiding war by keeping international expectations in tune with the changing balance of powers among states.
Third, one can also adopt tacit changes in expectations. Negotiating changes in a status quo requires the agreement of all involved and is difficult to achieve in the absence of an action-demanding crises or violence. Sometimes, however, one can make gap-reducing, unilateral changes. And if the other party agrees by not opposing these changes or compensating for them, then an adjustment in expectations is accomplished.
Accept Some Conflict Now
Peace occurs along many dimensions and at many levels.17 Recognizing this complexity is required to understand why and how to use conflict, violence, and war to keep the peace. To fight something by deliberately introducing that which one wants to avoid certainly is paradoxical, at first thought; and initially, selective burning to control forest fires, inoculation to prevent disease, and herd-thinning to prevent mass starvation were not readily accepted concepts.
To maintain a higher peace may entail lower-level conflict in order to make needed readjustments of expectations and power. Such conflicts through time further a process of adaptation to change. This helps avoid that large gap between the balance of powers and status quo that requires an adjustment possible only through much more extreme conflict and violence. As previously noted,18 enabling such continual adjustments through nonviolent conflict is one of the values of the exchange society and libertarian political system--that is, of the just peace.
And a corollary is that it is often better to let conflict take its course, for parties to negotiate their own balance, than for a third party to impose an artificial peace simply in order to avoid conflict.
Reduce the Probability of Successful Violence
Successful violence breeds violence. It not only encourages its future use, but also motivates others to do likewise. This increases the general level of violence and ultimately even risks the gains of those who first used violence, as others may subsequently employ violence more effectively against them. Therefore, seek nonviolent alternatives.
However, I do not urge pacifism. Sometimes violent aggression must be met in kind to defend higher values than peace, or a higher peace. But violence may be also unnecessary and, indeed, counterproductive for a stable peace. I have already discussed under the peacemaking principles many nonviolent alternatives, such as separation and nonviolent resistance. However, while nonviolent alternatives may be desirable, do not allow the choice of such to reward the instigator of violence. If violence cannot be avoided without seeming to reward it, then meet violence by strong and swift counteraction, as any community must suppress the violence of criminals through police action when other means fail.
Institutionalize Adjustment Procedures
To institutionalize means more than just setting up an organization. It means developing norms (rules that are followed because they are felt to be right and proper, such as the norm of due process). It means establishing roles--authoritative positions with a responsibility for doing certain things (such as the role of mediator or conciliator). It means adopting particular procedures to be followed in making adjustments, as in collective bargaining. And, of course, it means creating organizations that embody these norms and roles and have the task of applying these procedures, such as a court, labor relations board, or international commission. Institutionalization should be guided by four considerations.
First, institutionalize consensus-building. This should be some means of finding or establishing common denominators among the diversity of interests involved. Perhaps this might be a process of consultation among all interested parties to a decision, a national referendum, or a multilateral commission among allies. However institutionalized, consensus-building helps avoid miscommunication, misperception, and misunderstanding, and gives groups and nations a feeling of having at least participated in a decision in which they may have some stake.
Second, institutionalize confrontation of perceptions, expectations, and interests. Conflict is a process of adjustment, which itself can be subject to procedures to contain and regularize conflict behavior and assure a fair outcome. A judicial system is such an institutionalization: the adversary relationship between defense and prosecution lawyers, the systematic presentation and questioning of evidence and witnesses in court, the intermediary role of the judge, and the verdict of a jury regulate confrontation and nonviolently resolve social conflict that could otherwise lead to violence. The formal debate is another type of institutionalized conflict and settlement over beliefs or ideas.
Third, institutionalize a test of strength. Capability and will are difficult to measure and assert in the abstract. There is much room for ambiguity and misjudgment. A function of conflict, seen clearly in violence, is to settle the question, "Whose capability is greater; whose will stronger; whose interests more focused?"
When interests in society become polarized and the stakes involve the most fundamental values, there is no institutionalized replacement for violence. This is and will remain the ultimate test of strength. However, even the process of fighting a war has, through the ages, developed rules and procedures, such as in declaring war, the protection of civilians, the role of neutrals, the immorality of certain weapons, and the treatment of prisoners of war.
As long as the values involved are not critical and interests are unpolarized, however, tests of strength can be institutionalized. The determination of who is more capable and resolute can be governed by procedures, overseen by a third party, and the winner certified in some manner. The conflict can be turned into a contest, like a football or baseball game, except that the outcome does not establish the better team but a new social contract.
To illustrate, strikes by workers against their bosses and the latter's attempts to suppress such strikes used to cause much social violence, many injuries and deaths. As a test of strength in the United States, the strike is now institutionalized within a process of collective bargaining governed by certain laws. Workers can still strike, but only after certain conditions required by law have been satisfied (such as a vote among union members). As a result, although more commonplace, a strike today is less violent and rarely upsets the community (except when major industries or services are involved).
Perhaps the most widely used and valuable decision-making procedure is the vote. It decides which alternative or candidate will win. But this should not obscure the test of strength involved. In social conflict, the number of supporters is a critical index of capability, and their willingness to articulate their support, fight on one's side, man the barricades, and suffer injury or death certainly measures their resolution. Voting simply enables social issues to be decided by counting supporters on each side to begin with, while bypassing the necessity to physically fight it out. It is an institutionalized test of strength: the ballot, not the bullet, determines who is stronger, which idea is "better."
Fourth, institutionalize settlement procedures. The outcome of a conflict is a decision, agreement, contract. The final determination of this outcome, aside from the confrontation and tests of strength involved, can itself be subject to procedures and institutionalized. Thus, establishing the right to vote on issues or competing candidates not only formalizes confrontation but also establishes a settlement procedure. Other institutionalized settlement procedures are mediation and conciliation, the jury system for deciding legal cases, and the Supreme Court for deciding disputes over the meaning and applicability of the law.
In the process of growth all societies naturally evolve institutions for peacefully rebalancing power. As the society becomes more complex in its division of labor, size, and diversity of groups, many different institutionalized adjustment procedures develop. The point here is not to review these, but to emphasize that peace can be furthered by being aware of such a capability, making use of what institutions exist, and adopting new institutions to recurring conflict situations. Peace fostering is partly a process of incrementally extending such institutions.
Expect Conflict as Normal
Essential to developing a more stable peace is appreciating that conflict is a normal process of communication and adjustment among human beings. It will inevitably occur in some form. Avoiding all conflict, unless one is a hermit or totally submissive to others, eventually creates more severe conflict. The aim is rather to minimize conflict's intensity and eliminate unwanted side effects. Therefore, anticipate conflict, prepare for it, and develop a disposition to compromise. This disposition will facilitate exchange and make adjustments more acceptable. Both parties will gain.
Part of this disposition is the attitude, "I want to find a middle ground." But a part is also an appreciation that others, like ourselves, seek through a subjective fog to understand the world, find dignity, enhance their esteem, and satisfy their needs. It is a realization of our fallibility and that truth, beauty, and justice are often a matter of our personal perspective. It is an understanding of what a just peace is about.
We are not inconsistent in believing ourselves right, acting on our beliefs, and being guided by our ethics, while realizing that we may be wrong. Belief in an absolute truth or justice that cannot be wrong has fueled some of the most violent upheavals in history. The change from "You are wrong!" to "You may be right" reduces the intensity of many a conflict. This does not mean that we should always compromise, suffer exploitation, or appease aggression or murderers. Nor should we split unreasonable demands down the middle. A disposition to compromise is simply a willingness to find common ground and a mutually beneficial exchange if the situation warrants.
Increase and Assure Freedom
All that need be mentioned here is that the more individual and group socioeconomic and political freedom is increased, the more a nonviolent stable peace is promoted. At this point, peace fostering and the Just Package unite: nurturing peace is implementing a just peace.
In sum, know and start from things as they are, not from ideals or hopes. Guard what balance of powers exists, and reduce any gap between expectations and power. But in order to do this, accept some conflict now. And do not reward violence. In all this peacekeeping is partly a matter of relation and proportion: that between the present and future, between various kinds of peace, and various levels of conflict. The fundamental, underlying idea of peace fostering is to free adjustment to change. But a peace that is flexible enough to absorb and adjust to change and absorb shocks to expectations, particularly a status quo, is not made overnight. Nor is it designed and constructed like a building or a bridge. At most, one can provide facilitating conditions for individuals, groups, and states to make their own adjustments contextually and the rules and institutions to enhance this process. A durable peace will then likely flower of its own accord.
1. BDallmayr, Fred R., ed. 2000. Border Crossings: Toward a Comparative Political Theory. New York: Lexington Books. Falk, Richard. 1997. “False Universalism and the Geopolitics of Exclusion: The Case of Islam”, Third World Quarterly. Vol. 18, No. 1
2. Irani, George E. and Nathan C. Funk. 1998. “Rituals of Reconciliation: Arab Islamic Perspectives”, Arab Studies Quarterly. Vol. 20, Issue 4,
3. Youth Justice Board for England. search for "restorative justice". Abu-Nimer, Mohammad. 1996. “Conflict Resolution in an Islamic Context: Some Conceptual Questions”, Peace & Change. Vol. 21, No. 1. January,
4. Bush, Robert A. Baruch. "Defining Quality in Dispute Resolution : Taxonomies and Anti-Taxonomies of Quality Arguments." University of Denver Law Review 66 (1989):
5. Abul-Fadl, Mona. 1987. “Community, Justice, and Jihad: Elements of the Muslim Historical Consciousness”, The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences. Vol. 4, No. 1,
6. Carment, David, and Dane Rowlands. "Three's Company: Evaluating Third Party Intervention in Intrastate Conflict." Journal of Conflict Resolution 42 (1998):
7. Augsburger, David. 1992. Conflict Mediation Across Cultures: Pathways and Patterns. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press. Avruch, Kevin. 1998. Culture and Conflict Resolution. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press.
8. Esser, John P. "Evaluations of Dispute Processing: We Do Not Know What We Think and We Do Not Think What We Know." Denver University Law Review 66 (1989):
9. Bateson, Gregory and Mary Catherine Bateson. 1987. Angels Fear: Towards an Epistemology of the Sacred. New York: Bantam Books
10. Duffield, Mark, "Evaluating Conflict Resolution. Context, Models and Methodology." In NGOs in Conflict - an Evaluation of International Alert, R 1997:6, edited by Gunnar M. Sørbø, Joanna Macrae and Lennart Wohlgemuth, 79-112. Bergen: Ch. Michelsen Institute, 1997.
11. urton, John. 1990. Conflict: Resolution and Provention. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
12. Esser, John P. "Evaluations of Dispute Processing: We Do Not Know What We Think and We Do Not Think What We Know." In The International Library of Essays in Law and Legal Theory, edited by Michael Freeman. New York: New York University Press; Aldershot, England: Dartmouth Publishing Co., 1995.
13. Hoffman, Mark. "Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment Methodology: Evolving Art Form or Practical Dead End?". In Berghof Handbook for Conflict Transformation. Berlin, Germany: Berghof Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management, 2001. Available online (pdf) at http://www.berghof-handbook.net/uploads/download/dialogue1_hoffman.pdf
 BDallmayr, Fred R., ed. 2000. Border Crossings: Toward a Comparative Political Theory. New York: Lexington Books. Falk, Richard. 1997. “False Universalism and the Geopolitics of Exclusion: The Case of Islam”, Third World Quarterly. Vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 7 23.
 Irani, George E. and Nathan C. Funk. 1998. “Rituals of Reconciliation: Arab Islamic Perspectives”, Arab Studies Quarterly. Vol. 20, Issue 4, pp. 53-73.
 Youth Justice Board for England. search for "restorative justice".
Abu-Nimer, Mohammad. 1996. “Conflict Resolution in an Islamic Context: Some Conceptual Questions”, Peace & Change. Vol. 21, No. 1. January, pp. 22-40.
 Bush, Robert A. Baruch. "Defining Quality in Dispute Resolution : Taxonomies and Anti-Taxonomies of Quality Arguments." University of Denver Law Review 66 (1989): 335-80.
 Abul-Fadl, Mona. 1987. “Community, Justice, and Jihad: Elements of the Muslim Historical Consciousness”, The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences. Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 13-30.
 Carment, David, and Dane Rowlands. "Three's Company: Evaluating Third Party Intervention in Intrastate Conflict." Journal of Conflict Resolution 42 (1998): 572-599.
 Augsburger, David. 1992. Conflict Mediation Across Cultures: Pathways and Patterns. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press.
Avruch, Kevin. 1998. Culture and Conflict Resolution. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press.
 Esser, John P. "Evaluations of Dispute Processing: We Do Not Know What We Think and We Do Not Think What We Know." Denver University Law Review 66 (1989): 499-562.
 Bateson, Gregory and Mary Catherine Bateson. 1987. Angels Fear: Towards an Epistemology of the Sacred. New York: Bantam Books.
 Duffield, Mark, "Evaluating Conflict Resolution. Context, Models and Methodology." In NGOs in Conflict - an Evaluation of International Alert, R 1997:6, edited by Gunnar M. Sørbø, Joanna Macrae and Lennart Wohlgemuth, 79-112. Bergen: Ch. Michelsen Institute, 1997.
 urton, John. 1990. Conflict: Resolution and Provention. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
 Esser, John P. "Evaluations of Dispute Processing: We Do Not Know What We Think and We Do Not Think What We Know." In The International Library of Essays in Law and Legal Theory, edited by Michael Freeman. New York: New York University Press; Aldershot, England: Dartmouth Publishing Co., 1995.
 Hoffman, Mark. "Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment Methodology: Evolving Art Form or Practical Dead End?". In Berghof Handbook for Conflict Transformation. Berlin, Germany: Berghof Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management, 2001. Available online (pdf) at http://www.berghof-handbook.net/uploads/download/dialogue1_hoffman.pdf