Peacemaking – a Holistic Approach

August 22, 2017

“The only way to solve a conflict at any level of society is to sit down face to face and talk about it.” (John W. McDonald)

Today most wars are intrastate ethnic conflicts. However it is important is to put single conflicts in wider context such as game between great powers, struggle over global energy resources and their supply routes, economic profits of military-industrial-complex etc. From my point of view current peacemaking, peace-building or crisis management structures are not designed to cope with this type of conflict so a deeper holistic approach is needed to make more sustainable solutions.

The British think-tank BICOM, has released its new report on Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding projects in Israel and the West Bank. The report finds that grassroots Israeli-Palestinian peace building projects work and are a vital missing ingredient in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The report is the first of its kind to attempt a comprehensive review of peacebuilding projects in this area, looking at over 20 years of evaluation data, and based on extensive field work.  [my review about report in article A future for Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding: The report By BICOM ]

Below I try present brief wider context about peacebuilding and – inspired by report mentioned -conclude the key components of a holistic approach of peacemaking.

The context

I think it is important define also peace mediation and different aspects of that. In my opinion the conflict resolution by most peacemakers is an ad hock fire department activity, important but secondary question. The primary issue from my viewpoint is prevention of problems and their causes, or at least awareness of them. So peace mediation is one part of handling conflicts, it should be applied also before armed conflicts, also post-conflict crisis management in short term and seeking sustainable solutions in long term should be integral part of peace mediation and its training activities.

In my article in Peacemaking – How about solving Conflicts too?   I described four traditional ways in which conflicts between two parties are handled:

  1. A wins, B loses;
  2. B wins, A loses;
  3. the solution is postponed because neither A nor B feels ready to end the conflict;
  4. a confused compromise is reached, which neither A nor B are happy with.

These traditional methods have at least following shortages:

  • Basically peace deals are made between elite’s and their (game) interests where participants are calculating are the wins due the peace bigger than the wins due the war.
  • Many times the process is coercive based to will of outsiders not necessary local needs.
  • In my opinion the traditional process will produce temporary – tactical – solutions and the outcome is frozen conflict. The best examples of these are maybe Bosnia after Dayton and Kosovo after Ahtisaari’s pseudo talks.

As alternatives for these traditional methods I have found three better approach [sure there is more but these three are good examples]:

Galtung himself has employed the “TRANSCEND” Method while serving as a negotiator in a number of international conflicts. He tries to break with four unsatisfactory ways – mentioned earlier – of handling a conflict by finding a “fifth way,” where both A and B feel that they win. He views his role as that of helping the parties clarify their objectives, and working to come up with solutions that meet the objectives of all parties. He presents them with concrete proposals that are intended to give both sides the sense that they are winners. TRANSCEND’s “conflict transformation” approach relies on nonviolence, creativity, and empathy to facilitate an outcome where both parties move beyond their stated positions to create a new reality in their relationship. [more in Johan Galtung’s Conflict Transformation Theory]

I think that “Transcend” approach hits the core question in peace-building process. First it is based to wide participation and even commitment of local stakeholders through dialogue, second it goes to the roots of conflicts and third it is future-oriented.  

Peacemaking – a holistic approach

“…long-term grassroots peacebuilding between the contending parties is always essential to achieving peace.” ((Jonathan Powell, the chief British negotiator during the Northern Ireland Peace Process )

In my opinion peacemaking is only secondary action by managing conflicts – a deeper holistic approach is needed to make more sustainable solutions. The main components from my viewpoint opinion are the following:

  • An approach of active or creative peace-building should be applied to achieve long term solutions
  • Dialogue between local stakeholders is the key component in peace-building process as if the parties are willing to discuss the conflict and work toward reaching a holistic resolution the outcome may be sustainable.
  • Dialogue should be applied through high, middle-range and grassroots levels horizontally across the lines of division in a society. There should also be no gap of interdependence of coordinated relationships up and down the levels of leadership in a society – the vertical capacity means developing relationships between higher and grassroots levels of leadership.
  • To understand the true nature of security issues in each particular context it is necessary to apply also a non-western theoretical framework as the non-western social, political and cultural reality demands maybe different approach – or viewpoint – than normal western practice.
  • Creating an environment of lasting peace is the primary goal of peace-building. The main tool can be different creative therapies being used to create peace, within individuals, groups, and societies. Although used primarily to overcome violence, creative peace-building can also be used as a preventative measure to make the foundations of peace stronger, especially when used with children.
  • The value of civilians in post-conflict stabilization has become increasingly clear and should be appreciated at the expense of military alternatives. Dialogue-based interventions will enhance the motivation and capacity of participants to become “agents of change” in their communities so encouraging long-term engagement in peacebuilding.

 


My related articles:

Civil Crisis Management: Filling the Gaps Between the Aims and on the Ground Effectiveness of a Mission

R2P vs Facades of Interventions,

Multifaceted Intervention Practices ,

Is Peace more than absence of the War? ,

Could EU lead the 3rd Way out from Confrontation? ,

Quality Peace?


Appendix: Some of my related infographs:

mideast peace process alternatives

 

quality peace by Ari Rusila

Cold-Peace-Solution by Ari Rusila

Solving Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by Ari Rusila - https://arirusila.wordpress.com

Solving Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by Ari Rusila – https://arirusila.wordpress.com


BTW MIC Still Rules

August 29, 2012

After recent failure to reach agreement on treaty for international arms trade the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote article ”The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded” (August 28, 2012). The main idea is in his article headline and article contents lot of good intentions and initiatives for peace development too. However I would like to bring up only one hard fact mentioned there. And here it is:

Last year, global military spending reportedly exceeded $1.7 trillion – more than $4.6 billion a day, which alone is almost twice the UN’s budget for an entire year.

The fact above describes that Military-Industrial-Complex (MIC) – especially in U.S. – still rules the world. Global military industrial consumption represents a few percent of GDP and is still rising. U.S. share of the cake is about 40%. The international community still is willing to invest hundreds of times more to the war than peace. MIC is a concept commonly used to refer to policy relationships between governments, national armed forces, and industrial support they obtain from the commercial sector in political approval for research, development, production, use, and support for military training, weapons, equipment, and facilities within the national defense and security policy.

U.S. MIC at work

Even academia is in tow, with about 350 colleges and universities agreeing to do Pentagon-funded research. In Academic world neuro-weapons and diverse applications of numerous branches of research – such as the software guidance systems, general communications networking systems and robotics technology – that blur the distinctions between government, military, and medical, technological and scientific research.

MIC is not only weapons, their development and use, energy companies are one key sector nowadays. The wider picture is that U.S. tries to implement its Silk Road Strategy (SRS) by securing control over extensive oil and gas reserves, as well as “protecting” pipeline routes and trade on Eurasian corridor. This militarization is largely directed against China, Russia and Iran. More about SRS in my article “Is GUUAM dead?

Small fraction of U.S. MIC

Amid all this waste the Pentagon spares no effort to keep the media on its side, both in the US and elsewhere. The military allocated at least $4.7 billion this year to “influence operations” and has more than 27,000 employees devoted to such activities.

War activities are producing high quarterly bonuses for owners of military-industrial-complex. Peace work has an opposite problem – it is not profitable, While global military spending is at least $ 1.7 trillion, the OECD Development tries to manage with some 100 billion, Peace work overall gets some 6 billion and 0.6 billion goes to conflict prevention. Peace Research, could help prevent conflicts, but development of tools for killing is much more lucrative. Against one peace researcher, is estimated to be more than 1100 researcher for weapon (and their use) developers.

The difference in what countries are prepared to invest in weapons and their use is huge compared to what they use for example, poverty elimination and economic development in developing countries. And just poverty is one of the causes of violence.

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Some – Believe or not – Trivia

  • Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report as of June 2009 in Afghanistan/Iraq theatres operated 73,968 private contractors; included were familiar names like Kellogg, Brown and Root, Fluor Corp, Lockheed Martin and hired guns like DynCorp and Xe (formerly Blackwater USA)
  • U.S. spending in Iraq 2003-2006 was 1.4% civilian, 98.6% military
  • In Afghanistan, one gallon oil costs the invading troops $ 400 and annual expenditure of one soldier is almost one million US dollar according to a recent statistics.
  • U.S. intelligence officials have concluded there are only about 100 al Qaeda fighters in the entire country. With 100,000 troops in Afghanistan at an estimated yearly cost of $30 billion, it means that for every one al Qaeda fighter, the U.S. will commit 1,000 troops and $300 million a year. (Ok there is Taliban too but if I remember right the justification for operation was al Qaeda)
  • To keep people happy and silence critics Pentagon spares no effort to keep the media on its side, both in the US and elsewhere. Last years the military allocated at least $4.7 billion per year to “influence operations” and has more than 27,000 employees devoted to such activities.
  • The cost of making a Qassam rocket for attacking to Israel is only $ 10-20/each while protecting Israeli civilians with Iron Dome interceptors costs each time $ 40,000 – 100,000.
  • Peace Research, could help prevent conflicts, but to kill the development of tools is much more lucrative. Against one peace researcher, is estimated to be more than 1100 researcher for weapon (and their use) developers.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed…. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people…. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense.

(President Dwight Eisenhower)


Civil Crisis Management: Filling the Gaps Between the Aims and on the Ground Effectiveness of a Mission

August 1, 2012

Outside interventions to inner conflicts are part of daily news stream today. Where, when and how to intervene are the core of discussions. However from my point of view more weight should put to day after planning. In Balkans there is still frozen conflicts; Iraq, Afghanistan and many conflicts in Africa are most recent or still ongoing theatres, Syria and many more are coming soon on the table.

Recent trend in international politics seems to be different separatist movements around the globe. Kosovo’s unilateral proclamation of independence from Serbia February 2008 played a key role in these developments, which already has been seen in Bolivia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia and probably many more waiting to spark. This trend has big potential to expand, because it is estimated that there is about five thousand ethnic groups on globe. The situation puts pressure to develop the effectiveness of future – if not even existing – civil crisis management operations.

Transformation ongoing

International crisis management has undergone a significant transformation in recent years. Its expansion in terms of tasks and timelines and the increasing number of actors involved have made effective coordination of activities an urgent priority. As a result the idea of a Comprehensive Approach has been adopted by many states and international organizations. However, recent efforts to implement it have shown mixed results. There is need to shift focus from tactical level – dashing from skirmish to skirmish trying to control a crisis – to strategic level with a more comprehensive and systemic approach to resolving the mess.

If traditional peacekeeping focused on containment and reduction of military escalation, contemporary crisis management aims at a social, reach a comprehensive conflict resolution. This increasing set of tasks coincides with expanding time-lines of crisis management. In conceptual and practical terms crisis management spans today from the initial phase of conflict prevention, the actual crisis management encompassing humanitarian intervention, peace building and peacekeeping to post-conflict management.

Definition of the Problem

Whilst there is no commonly accepted definition for ‘Comprehensive Approach’, there is broad agreement that it implies pursuing an approach aimed at integrating the political, security, development, rule of law, human rights and humanitarian dimensions of international missions. It can be linked to different degrees of coherence for inter-agency relationships, namely Coherence, Cooperation, Collaboration & Coordination and Coexistence, where various actors may operate in a more or less comprehensive fashion, depending on their motivations, identities and organizational independence (Source:Comprehensive Approach-Challenges and opportunities in complex crisismanagement. Karsten Friis & Pia Jarmyr(eds); NUPI, 2008.).

It can be linked also to the Whole-of-Government Approach where there is an emphasis on objectives shared across organisational boundaries, as opposed to working solely within a ministry. WGA has been developed particularly in the context of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee and its Fragile States Group (Source: Whole of Government Approaches to Fragile States, DAC Guidelines and referenceseries, ADAC referencedocument, OECD, 2006.)

From my point of view I would rule out some military strategies from the context of this kind of crisis management problem. For example COIN strategey implemented in Afghanistan by U.S. is clear application of military strategy. It has some civil crisis management components which however act more like decoration and not as an essential element.

Strategic aim

The approach of needed study could be described as “bottom up” perspective, where the problem is defined from the point of view of field level experiences. It is important to note, that civil crisis management issue is not – or shouldn’t be – an extension of military peace-forcing operation; it is an integral part of international development aid programs in overall and in particular with peace-building activities.

Earlier some donors gave money to build school in some Kosovo village. School was ready, nice photograph for donors’ media was taken, report confirmed that building was made ok, also tendering procedures were made with some standards, audit did not find anything special. So perfect project to satisfy donor? No one pointed attention to a small detail that there was no pupils for the brand new school. Similar examples are bridges, roads and swimming pools middle of no where, housing for returns (empty because people are not returning or going away immediately).(Source: Donors & field: Will Kosovo rise with 2 bn bucks?)

Perfect report does not mean that something positive development has happened on the field. The lesson learned from “bottom up” –approach could be the shift of focus from the issues made in right way to right issues, where vision, objective, strategy, implementation, feed back and especially commitment of beneficiary groups and project management have more important role in evaluation of operations than before.

The main components

For developing a more effective approach to issue of civilian crisis management different aspects – such as organizational questions, reporting practice, or evaluation process – can be more or less highlighted. It is possible also to have focus on improvement of situation analysis, developing field experience feedback during missions or applying “project cycle management” practice in operation/mission planning procedure.

One possible component could be applying Logical Framework Approach through the process. LogFrame is used in most EU projects, but individual donors have their preferences. LogFrame describes objectives, action lines, how individual projects are implementing the objective and how the success can be measured. There is also some flexibility according feed back during implementation. Special need at individual project and local level is also use there Participatory Planning methods so that all stakeholders can commit to actions. Applying these two practices can make new approach more vigorous.

Resources and method

Comprehensive Approach is quite modern trend in international studies of peacekeeping operations or civil crisis management. Few seminar reports and researches are however available and they can help while connecting this study to wider theoretical context. Different mission reports can describe the viewpoint which the top officials are giving to the top policy makers. The most valuable source is field reports such as OSCE municipal profiles and analyses, CIMIC reports etc. because they are describing situation on the ground. The best source and research method would be participatory observation and interviews of fieldworkers.

As a follow-up it is possible to link and compare the study with other core concepts and instruments at strategic-political level in different countries or organizations, such as

  • UN: Capstonedoctrine (2008), Integrated missions (2006)
  • EU: CMCO (2003), Crisis Management Procedures CMP (2003), Crisis Management Concept (individual mission)
  • Nato: Comprehensive Approach Actionplan (2008), Effects Based Approach to Operations – EBAO (2006)
  • Germany: White Paper on German Security Policy and the Future of the Bundeswehr (2006), Action Plan “Civilian Crisis Prevention, Conflict Resolution, and Peace Consolidation” (2004)
  • Britain: Conflict Prevention Pool – CPP (2004/8), Comprehensive Approach (2004)

(More about this context in CSS Analyses,Vol.3 • No.42 • October 2008, Center for Security Studies (CSS), ETH Zurich)

It is also possible to link study to concepts and instruments at mission level or to development of a comprehensive crisis management is a cyclical activity.

Bottom line

Today there is a lot of information and feedback from different crisis management missions around the world; there is also experiece which methods are working on the ground and especially which are not. In my opinion there is urgent need to develop civilian crisis management by studying lessons learned to find best – and worst – practices from different missions. In Balkans there is still frozen conflicts; Iraq, Afghanistan and many conflicts in Africa are most recent or still ongoing theatres, Syria and many more are coming soon on the table. LogFrame approach by using participatory planning methods could show way towards quality peace.

Ω           Ω           Ω

More e.g. in my related articles:

Interventions in general: R2P vs Facades of Interventions, Multifaceted Intervention Practices , Is Peace more than absence of the War? , Could EU lead the 3rd Way out from Confrontation? , Quality Peace? and Peacemaking – How about solving Conflicts too?

About U.S. strategy in Afghanistan: Will COIN work in Afghanistan? andAfghanistan – to be or not?

U.S. practising intervention first in the Bosnian War 1992-95 and selecting terrorist/OC-groups to U.S. allies (More e.g. Srebrenica again – Hoax or Massacre? and Krajina – Victory with Ethnic Cleansing and the outcome Bosnia on the road to the EU, sorry to Dissolution )

Racak fabrication and “humanitarian intervention” aka since WWII first ever full scale bombing operation in center of Europe 1999 ( High pressure to fabricate Racak reports and 10th anniversary of Nato’s attack on Serbia)

Other related articles: Libya Intervention is creating problems instead of solving them and Some framework to Syrian crisis


After Norwegian massacre – Way forward to prevent similar actions

July 24, 2011

This is an attack against the Norwegian Labour Movement, against the Norwegian labour Party and its Youth Organization.” (Jan Stoltenberg/PM Norway)


Immediately after the terror attack in Norway the finger of blame was at radical Islam and Al Qaeda. The first scenario was that grassroots Islamist militants based in Norway are behind these events. The causes could be for example Norway’s Nato activities in Afghanistan or Libya, Muhammed cartoons, racistical discrimination of immigrants etc. Now, when the extent of the massacre is clear and when the murderer is arrested, one may notice that the correct address can be found in the extreme right wing – the “white power” circles.

The murderer is neither a Muslim nor a member of al-Qaeda but a member of the Norwegian middle class, a religious, Christian fundamentalist with a record of right-wing activism. He was an active member of the racist Fremskrittspartiet, and has been writing against socialism and expressed extremist Islamophobic views on forums criticising also immigration policies and admiring the US Tea Party and the English Defence League.

How organized, widespread, or organized political activity behind attack is remains to see. Sure, the act can have been implemented by individual psycho-/socio path, but fundamental religious right-wing breeding ground anyway exists. Boaz Bismuth inYisrael Hayom has a good point by suggesting that the focus on Islamic terrorism may have led Europe’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies to ignore the threat posed by home-grown neo-Nazis and right-wing extremists. At the beginning of the year. the Norwegian intelligence service wrote that the extreme Right – like the extreme Left – would not constitute a tangible threat to Norwegian society in the near future.

The massacre began with a bomb blast that killed seven people in administrative quarter middle of Oslo . A couple of hours later the same terrorist started shooting on the island of Utøya, 50 miles north of the capital, where hundreds of young people had a summer school of the Labour Youth (AUF) and were waiting the speech of The Labour Norwegian PM Jan Stoltenberg. Nearly 90 was AUF members were killed before police arrested the murderer.

Right-wing policy is doing well in North

Far-right has for years been gaining significant support in the Nordic countries, in the Netherlands, Belgium and Central/Eastern Europe, Russia and in some Balkan countries. The answer to this phenomenon has been either marginalizing, isolation of the movements outside “normal” political activities and / or absorb the problems and views raised by the right-wing into the traditional political parties. E.g. many center-right politicians have begun raising anti-immigrant policy issues in order to secure popularity and distract from the ongoing economic austerity measures brought about by the European economic crisis. I think both methods are questionable. Isolation can further increase the power of extreme right-wing activism, adopting right-wing values may distance political spectre from “old” democratic and tolerant values. So the tactical win may later turn out to be Pyrric victory for the society.

In U.S. the Oklahoma bomb was a bit similar act than Norway’s bomb in the administrative center. After Oklahoma religious right-wing fundamentalists have been able only to small-scale attacks against abortion clinics or Liberal/Democratic persons. Could the reason be that among the U.S. far-right circles there is feeling that they are able to influence e.g. via popular Tea Party movement without further violence?

Powerlessness as cause?

Personally I think that one essential underlying cause for the violent outbursts, such as now in Norway, is the more or less imaginary powerlessness of individual or group to have influence to society around them. Half a century ago, the left-wing extremist groups in Germany and Italy saw the terrorist attacks to be the only way to beat the state-terror and to make revolution. Since then the revolutionary circles re-analysed situation and concluded that a non-violent political activity is more acceptable and efficient way. Today among radical Islam terrorist acts still enjoy popularity as an acceptable strategy.

My assessment to get the situation in hand

For all dead comrades, not a minute’s silence, but a life of struggle” (Olav Magnus Linge/The Socialist Youth)

From my point of view at international and national levels the best policy would be to take a firm stand against any fundamentalist, religious or neo-nazi movement which is aiming to limit general human and political rights or civil liberties of other individuals or groups. The available data should be analysed (for example, by drawing up a SWOTs at international/national levels), alternative development paths should be screened out, conflicting interests (for example economic interests vs civil liberties, security vs freedom of expression …) should be identified and generally approved vision should be put for implementation.

Extremism, xenophobia and racism can only slightly be limited by state- or top-level actions, besides this approach would lead towards controlled security based police-state with limited civil liberties. More effective and only sustainable way in my opinion is concentrating to grass roots. In general subsidiarity principle should finally began implemented. When people directly can debate about topics related their every day life, when local democracy and citizen participation channels are developed from pseudo-democracy to decisive power then people don’t have feeling that their needs and thoughts are ignored.

Today for many people states, the EU, political parties, civil service elite, and even city management may appear inaccessible, anonymous organizations; to correct situation the principle of subsidiarity in decision-making should be the central value and practice. Internet Forums and social media are not enough as there can more than dialogue get only support their own prejudices from like-minded people. From my point of view “face to face” debates can really via dialogue have influence over attitudes, also hate speech is not so easy to live person than to pc-screen. If debate will develop from a debate into a dialogue the outcome is even better.

Applying peace building methods in peaceful society?

Promoting a culture of coexistence, a multi-ethnic society or at least ethnic tolerance is not an easy task, not even in Europe. Grass roots jihadist groups are already assumed to exist across Europe, and this assumption — along with previous attacks — has bolstered far-right political parties’ popularity across the Continent. In my opinion tensions rising from multiculturalism in otherwise stable, democratic and peaceful societies could be copied by applying modern peace building methods at grass root level. In my article Peacemaking – How about solving Conflicts too? I described some of related principles as follows:

  • An approach of active or creative peace-building should be applied to achieve long term solutions
  • Dialogue between local stakeholders is the key component in peace-building process as if the parties are willing to discuss the conflict and work toward reaching a holistic resolution the outcome may be sustainable.
  • Dialogue should be applied through high, middle-range and grassroots levels horizontally across the lines of division in a society. There should also be no gap of interdependence of coordinated relationships up and down the levels of leadership in a society – the vertical capacity means developing relationships between higher and grassroots levels of leadership.
  • To understand the true nature of security issues in each particular context it is necessary to apply also a non-western theoretical framework as the non-western social, political and cultural reality demands maybe different approach – or viewpoint – than normal western practice.
  • Creating an environment of lasting peace is the primary goal of peace-building. The main tool can be different creative therapies being used to create peace, within individuals, groups, and societies. Although used primarily to overcome violence, creative peace-building can also be used as a preventative measure to make the foundations of peace stronger, especially when used with children.
  • The value of civilians in post-conflict stabilization has become increasingly clear and should be appreciated at the expense of military alternatives.


Epilogue: Dialogue is the key question to prevent this happen never again

Below the Dialogue handout by Barry Winbolt:  Dialogue-Handout

Dialogue-Handout as pdf (click)


Peacemaking – How about solving Conflicts too?

May 26, 2010

The only way to solve a conflict at any level of society is to sit down face to face and talk about it.” (John W. McDonald)

A new peace mediation study , that states Finland’s accomplishment in the field of mediation and conflict prevention, was released on Thursday, May 6, 2010 by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The study recommends strengthening Finland’s peace mediation capacity. Finland has some evidence of peace mediation to show and former President Ahtisaari even got Nobelprize for his efforts on the field.“The peace mediation initiative is a starting shot; the aim is to make Finland a great power in peace mediation,” Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb said and revealed two of his dreams at the event. “It would be great if Finland established a peace mediation fund from which money could be withdrawn in a pinch. The second dream would be a peace mediation institute where Finnish or international peace mediators could be trained.”


I am in favour of both opening of the debate over peace mediation issue as well with FM Stubb’s dreams. If the decision-makers take the initiative serious, so then should be considered the content for it, the strategy how to develop dreams into actions, put the issue in a broader context and, of course, resourcing the development of individual projects. While the international community is now willing to invest 200 times more to the war than peace a shift to resource peace building activities is always welcome.


Definition problems


Peace is nice word, however the definition of “peace” can vary with religion, culture, or subject of study. From same reason I think it is important define also peace mediation and different aspects of that. I think that the conflict resolution by peacemakers is an ad hock fire department activity, important but secondary question. The primary issue from my viewpoint is prevention of problems and their causes, or at least awareness of them. Also important is to put single conflicts in wider context such as game between great powers, struggle over global energy resources and their supply routes, economic profits of military-industrial-complex etc. So in my view peace mediation is one part of handling conflicts, it should be applied also before armed conflicts, also post-conflict crisis management in short term and seeking sustainable solutions in long term should from my viewpoint be integral part of peace mediation and its training activities.

Since the end of the Cold War also the conflict environment has totally changed. Earlier The League of Nations and then The United Nations were created to prevent one nation-state from invading another nation-state and going to war with that other nation-state. Today most wars are intrastate ethnic conflicts. Current peacemaking, peace-building or crisis management structures are not designed to cope with this type of conflict.


Traditional Approach


An eye for an eye for an eye for an eye … ends in making everybody blind (Mahatma Gandhi)

One popular method in peacemaking process is “Quid pro quo” meaning “something for something”a favor for a favor” or “give and take”. All meaning are close ancient eye-for-an-eye codes of justice (or mirror punishment). This approach is familiar also for “tit for tat” game theory strategy.

In peacemaking there are four traditional ways in which conflicts between two parties are handled:

  1. A wins, B loses;
  2. B wins, A loses;
  3. the solution is postponed because neither A nor B feels ready to end the conflict;
  4. a confused compromise is reached, which neither A nor B are happy with.

From my viewpoint these traditional methods have at least following shortages. Basically peace deals are made between elite’s and their (game) interests where participants are calculating are the wins due the peace bigger than the wins due the war. Many times the process is coercive based to will of outsiders not necessary local needs. From my opinion the traditional process will produce temporary – tactical – solutions and the outcome is frozen conflict. The best examples of these are maybe Bosnia after Dayton and Kosovo after Ahtisaari’s pseudo talks.

Fortunately there is also better alternatives for these traditional methods. Here three examples.


Multi-Track Diplomacy


The Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD) is a U.S. based nonprofit organization founded in 1992 working now globally + 20 conflicts. IMTD uses a holistic and participatory approach to assess the key variables in deep-rooted conflicts and post-conflict settings. The Institute is focused on identifying and understanding the causes of conflict within a nation. Their method – sc. Multi-Track Diplomacy– is a conceptual way to view the process of international peacemaking as a living system. It looks at the web of interconnected activities, individuals, institutions, and communities that operate together for a common goal: a world at peace. Multi-Track Diplomacy is an expansion of the “Track One, Track Two” paradigm that has defined the conflict resolution field during the last decade. Track One Diplomacy is official government diplomacy whereby communication and interaction is between governments. Track Two Diplomacy is the unofficial interaction and intervention of non-state actors.


IMTD’s utilizes its “systems-based approach” by recognizing that the transformation of deep-rooted conflicts cannot be left solely to governmental entities, but must be expanded to include non-governmental actors, civil society and other informal channels. By expanding the approach to peacemaking and peace-building outside of Track One, IMTD works to ensure a holistic, comprehensive approach to conflict transformation with a greater likelihood of long-term, sustainable peace. More about Multi-Track Diplomacy in IMTD site.


Holistic Integrated Model of Peacebuilding

Since 2003 Pacific Peacebuilding Initiatives Ltd (operating as Peacebuilders International) has been working throughout the Asia/Pacific Region with the goal of establishing justpeace, a sustainable peace that allow communities to develop. Even the main stakeholders are from different churches they have applied quite holistic approach for building sustainable peace. In figure below is described the main components of Peacebuilders International approach:


More in Peacebuilders International web-site .

TRANSCEND – maybe the best Approach


Johan Galtung (born 24 October 1930) is a Norwegian mathematician and sociologist and a principal founder of the discipline of peace and conflict studies. In 1993, he founded TRANSCEND, a network for Peace and Development, which is now running Transcend Peace University with a number of courses online, Transcend University Press, Transcend Media Service with material on current events, and Transcend Research Institute. Galtung himself has employed the “TRANSCEND” Method while serving as a negotiator in a number of international conflicts. He views his role as that of helping the parties clarify their objectives, and working to come up with solutions that meet the objectives of all parties. He presents them with concrete proposals that are intended to give both sides the sense that they are winners.


Galtung tries to break with these four unsatisfactory ways of handling a conflict by finding a “fifth way,” where both A and B feel that they win. TRANSCEND’s “conflict transformation” approach relies on nonviolence, creativity, and empathy to facilitate an outcome where both parties move beyond their stated positions to create a new reality in their relationship. This represents a clear contrast to competitive diplomacy and war, the coercive approaches to conflict traditionally used on the international level, which often serve only to perpetuate bitterness and asymmetry. (More background e.g. TRANSCENDand Johan Galtung: Transcend and Transform : An Introduction to Conflict Work; London: Pluto Press, 2004)

TRANSCEND mission statement defines four pillars: To bring about a more peaceful world by using action, education/training, dissemination and research to handle conflicts with empathy, nonviolence and creativity. TRANSCEND is organized in a dozen regions around the world and during last years most of the work has been on conflict mediation and violence conciliation, using Diagnosis-Prognosis-Therapy, on often very difficult and complex conflicts.

I think that “Transcend” approach hits the core question in peace-building process. First it is based to wide participation and even commitment of local stakeholders through dialogue, second it goes to the roots of conflicts and third it is future-oriented.


War costs vs. peace costs

Global military industrial consumption per year is 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars, representing a few percent of GDP and still rising. U.S. share of the cake is about 40% to the current year, 664 billion dollars. This is a good comparison of the UN budget (27 billion), which is a sum of nearly three per cent of its Member States on military expenditure. UN’s “Millennium Development Goals” are dreaming 135 billion per year, this one only a fraction of military spending.

An other comparison (dollars / year): the world’s military spending 1.2 trillion, the OECD Development 106 billion, Peace work 6 billion and 0.6 billion of conflict prevention. The international community is now willing to invest 200 times more to the war than peace. Peace Research, could help prevent conflicts, but development of tools for killing is much more lucrative. Against one peace researcher, is estimated to be more than 1100 researcher for weapon (and their use) developers.



The 2005 statistics, the light can make another comparison (dollars / year): the world’s military spending 1.2 trillion, the OECD Development 106 billion, Peace work 6 billion and 0.6 billion of conflict prevention. The difference in what countries are prepared to invest in weapons and their use is huge compared to what they use for example, poverty elimination and economic development in developing countries. And just poverty is one of the causes of violence.

The international community is now willing to invest 200 times more to the war than peace. Peace Research, could help prevent conflicts, but to kill the development of tools is much more lucrative. Against one peace researcher, is estimated to be more than 1100 researcher for weapon (and their use) developers. I think then it is clear that the State should be the main financier of peace-education, -research, building etc activities which are not attractive for private companies while war activities are producing high quarterly bonuses for owners of military-industrial-complex.


The Future of Peace Operations


Today U.S./Nato is trying a new comprehensive approach in Afghanistan and maybe in other areas in future too. This counter-insurgency – or COIN – strategy tries e.g. to work more closely with NGOs, so that their “soft power” could complement our hard power.Critics of the new focus on counter-insurgency theory claim it is a tactical gimmick, it is not a recipe for winning the war in the long run, they say; it is only for avoiding defeat in the short run. Also from my viewpoint Nato’s peace operations are missing the core aspect which by my opinion is following: Without local commitment any solution – military or civilian – is not sustainable. If local commitment or participation to “new” strategy is weak I think that it does not have any possibilities to realize. Of course if the perspective is only to next U.S. election campaign or guaranteeing the quarterly bonuses in military-industrial-complex then real solutions are not the core question.

Beginning in 2003, the European Union began deploying civilian missions under the auspices of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). prefer to see the EU remain a purely civilian power. Focusing on EU civilian capabilities may be an attractive option financially and politically within Europe.


Bottom line


I assume that intrastate conflicts will continue, they will not be only ethnic ones but economic factors will be cause too. Also global challenges e.g. struggle over energy, raw materials, water with their environmental effects will play their role in future conflicts.


From my point of view peacemaking is only secondary action by managing conflicts – a deeper holistic approach is needed to make more sustainable solutions. The main components by my opinion are the following:

  • An approach of active or creative peace-building should be applied to achieve long term solutions
  • Dialogue between local stakeholders is the key component in peace-building process as if the parties are willing to discuss the conflict and work toward reaching a holistic resolution the outcome may be sustainable.
  • Dialogue should be applied through high, middle-range and grassroots levels horizontally across the lines of division in a society. There should also be no gap of interdependence of coordinated relationships up and down the levels of leadership in a society – the vertical capacity means developing relationships between higher and grassroots levels of leadership.
  • To understand the true nature of security issues in each particular context it is necessary to apply also a non-western theoretical framework as the non-western social, political and cultural reality demands maybe different approach – or viewpoint – than normal western practice.
  • Creating an environment of lasting peace is the primary goal of peace-building. The main tool can be different creative therapies being used to create peace, within individuals, groups, and societies. Although used primarily to overcome violence, creative peace-building can also be used as a preventative measure to make the foundations of peace stronger, especially when used with children.
  • The value of civilians in post-conflict stabilization has become increasingly clear and should be appreciated at the expense of military alternatives.

Some of my related writings:


EUś unused option the U.S. cowboy-policy: Could EU lead the 3rd Way out from Confrontation

My critics due Mr.Ahtisaari’s Nobelprize:Do you hear Mr. Nobel rolling in hisgrave? and his peace mediation methods: 500.000 bodies or sign! and outcome in Kosovo: Kosovo-Two years of Quasi-State

The new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan: Will COIN work in Afghanistan?

Is Yemen the next target for the War on Terror?







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