Keeping the Peace: Conflict Resolution and Peaceful Societies Around the World (War and Society)

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Nothing can then delay for very long that final civil war between the forces of Reaction and the despairing convulsions of Revolution, before which the horrors of the late German war will fade into nothing, and which will destroy, whoever is victor, the civilisation and the progress of our generation. In the s, in the midst of the Great Depression and with the rise of fascist powers, many western socialist and liberal thinkers believed that capitalism caused war.

However, Keynes in his General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money in , argued that this need not be so, and that the management of capitalism along the lines he proposed to promote high employment would be more conducive to peace than laissez-faire capitalism with the gold standard had been. This analysis underlay his approach during World War II to the creation of institutions for international economic governance in the post-war world.

Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill agreed to the Morgenthau Plan , in modified form, on 16 September Following victory, Germany's remaining factories were dismantled, parts, machinery, and equipment shipped abroad, patents expropriated, research forbidden, and useful engineers and scientists transferred out of the country. Despite the negotiation of international treaties at Bretton Woods to create a set of complementary global monetary, trade, and reconstruction and development institutions, namely the International Monetary Fund , the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development today part of the World Bank Group , and, separately, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade incorporated in today's World Trade Organization , Germany's and Europe's other postwar economies collapsed.

Keynes' Economic Consequences of the Peace appeared to repeat themselves. However, Roosevelt had died and Harry S. Truman assumed the U. American Presidency on 12 April Byrnes , by took a dismal view of its effects on Germany's impoverished population. So did former president Herbert C.

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Hoover in a series of reports penned in Meanwhile, Joseph Stalin 's Soviet Union emerged as a formidable power and the implication seemed clear: An economically strengthened, resurgent Germany could either be part of a new Western political, economic, and cultural alliance or else be incorporated into a Soviet one. Truman thus came to abolish the punitive measures imposed on Germany, and his new Secretary of State, General George C.

Marshall , formulated what would become the Marshall Plan , in effect from to The new global institutions and the unilateral Marshall Plan action combined to endow new institutions with sufficient resources to result in a somewhat unwitting peace economics: clearly designed toward the purpose of international peace and prosperity, yet skewed toward Western Europe and the incipient Cold War.

Moreover, the new social architecture was invested with incentives, such as the United Nations Security Council that provided five of its members with permanent seats and veto powers, that, while keeping superpower peace, threatened peace and prosperity in the post-colonial Third World. Like Keynes, he envisioned a pan-European economic cooperation zone. Like Keynes, he would be disappointed. Despite this, the French appreciated his good efforts and awarded him with the post of Deputy Secretary-General of the then newly founded League of Nations.

Monnet was but 31 years old.

He resigned four years later to devote himself to international business and finance in private capacity but resurfaced during the early World War II years in positions of high influence in France, Britain, and the United States, urging Roosevelt to get on with an industrial armaments plan. Following World War II, Monnet, however, at first crafted the Monnet Plan which, similar to Morgenthau's, envisioned the transfer of the German Ruhr and Saarland territories, raw materials, and industries coal and steel to France to assist it in its own reconstruction.

The transfer of the Saar region took place with U. This led to rising frictions between Germany and the allies, just as Keynes had foretold 30 years earlier. Robert Schuman , the Franco-German-Luxembourgian statesman, French Minister of Finance, Minister of Foreign Affairs and two-time Prime Minister of France, envisioned, first, a Franco-German and, then, a pan-European sharing of crucial coal and steel resources among Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg that would make future war "not only unthinkable but materially impossible.

In contrast to the negotiations surrounding the founding of the United Nations and a set of associated organizations in , the European idea appears to have been deliberately designed as a kernel with organic growth-potential, the precise development of which would be learned in future. Thus, no institutional structures were put in place that, due to accrued vested interests, would later prove to be too difficult to change. War at the interstate level has subsided and, to a degree, so have the massive civil wars that took place in the immediate Post-Cold War period especially in Africa in the s and s.

The Institute for Economics and Peace , a think tank with offices in Sydney, New York, and Mexico City, is "developing metrics to analyse peace and to quantify its economic value. Over the years it has also sponsored many programs and events to foster peace and has worked with other communities worldwide. Establishing relationships with other communities can also be a powerful path to peace.

How can Technology Help Prevent Conflict and Build Peace?

There are currently communities engaged in a Sister City program. These are just a few among many local community actions to promote peace. See the resource listings at the end of this section to explore more possibilities. It is important to be realistic about the severe challenges to peace in this world and to be prepared for the serious commitment required to face them.

Lecture 1 - Peace and Conflict Studies 164A: Intro to Nonviolence

Nevertheless, there are proven and effective means of advancing peace to help us take on these challenges. Even one simple action can make a tremendous difference. By merging realism with hope we can move forward to a more peaceful tomorrow.

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Researchers have noted that despite the common perceptions that the world is a more violent place, much evidence points rather to a decline in both individual and social violence over time. In general, he notes that our civilizations and societies have evolved toward a greater respect for human rights, acceptance of human diversity, and the development of systems of civil society that help resolve conflict.

Pinker acknowledges that although this progress can regress, and has regressed in many regions, strong forces remain at work to re-establish better-functioning societies, even in the most extreme instances of collapse. Among these is the force of the majority who want peace, no matter what the context. Just as individuals must choose their own productive path forward, rather than succumbing to fear and hatred, so do we face this choice as a larger society. Warfare over time has become increasingly destructive, including not only direct loss of life, but also long-term, even irrevocable, damage to the environment upon which we all depend.

As we build ever more powerful weapons with leaps in technological sophistication, we must develop even more powerful means of avoiding their use. So let us consider some of the forces that lead to global instability, along with those that build the foundation for peace, and suggest how you can play a part in shoring up the latter:.

Conflict Resolution is a central alternative to warfare. War and terrorism can now extend beyond the bounds of the battlefield and into every corner of our communities.

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The casualties are predominantly civilians, not soldiers, and very frequently are women and children. An effective counter to terrorism and other forms of conflict is to strengthen civil societies. The rule of law is a civilizing force that unites members of society to advance productively together. War and terror stress societies, setting in motion a downward spiral.

Every societal effort needs to be made to strengthen communities and social structures in accordance with local values and the protection of essential human rights. Three good examples follow:. Much of what we learn in the media about Iraq is about violence. We need to promote awareness of organizations such as La'Onf, to remind ourselves that the seeds of peace can find fertile ground in all corners of the world. To the Hibakusha, there is no greater mission than to raise worldwide awareness that there are no winners in a nuclear confrontation.

The Hibakusha are those few who survived the nuclear bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in which hundreds of thousands of civilians died in a matter of hours. Their advocacy has played an important role in the major nuclear powers steadily reducing their arsenals. They continue to warn that we must never lessen our vigilance over the threat of nuclear weaponry.

As more nations claim their perceived rights and needs to develop such weapons, the Hibakusha have redoubled their efforts to diminish this ultimate threat. Formed in , the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki called on mayors around the world "to transcend national borders" and "work together to press for nuclear abolition.

Below are three additional pillars to support the development and maintenance of international peace:. Nonviolence is central to stemming conflict while effectively advancing positive social and political change. We can easily draw upon many role models who have been committed to nonviolent principles and who have made a tremendous impact on the world stage. For example, Mahatma Gandhi stands in history as among the most famous proponents of nonviolence, managing to overcome centuries of British occupation in India through nonviolent means. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! Beyond Gandhi and King, among current practitioners are members of the Nonviolent Peaceforce , comprised of unarmed civilians who enter regions where violence may or has erupted, to foster dialogue among parties in conflict and to provide a protective presence for threatened civilians.

It is tempting to assume that a military response to violent conflict is needed. Yet a member panel appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, which spent 7 months circling the globe reviewing present operations and seeking new strategies, emphasized nonviolent approaches. Hundreds of other organizations around the world are committed to nonviolent means of stabilizing regions in conflict. We need peace education , from early education through graduate programs in universities. The Charter for Compassion is working toward this end, with a growing number of school partners from across the world committed to the principles of compassion.

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We must also invest in peace. Such institutions can strengthen international laws and systems of justice that can assure enforcement of human rights. International assistance also must be directed toward laying the economic foundations for peace. The United States spends only 1. Spending within the domestic budget is even more heavily weighted toward the military; for fiscal year , the U.

This has a tremendous impact on all our communities in terms of quality of life and community security. We must prioritize peace as we strive to co-exist on this small and ever more vulnerable planet. As concluded by the U.

Guidelines on Preventing Crises, Resolving Conflicts, Building Peace - Germany | ReliefWeb

Department of Defense , climate change will put us to the test as never before, as mass migrations from densely populated coastal areas are likely to occur due to sea level rise, and regions will be faced with food, drinking water, and resource depletion. Barricading our borders and employing military solutions to the conflicts projected to arise are destined to fail us. Instead, we need to proactively seek solutions across borders to address environmental and social challenges, strengthen civil society, and foster international collaboration. Located in Costa Rica, this university was established under UN mandate to promote best practices in conflict prevention and mitigation.

The Community Tool Box also plans to develop materials with guidance on climate change. Let us first consider some of the challenges to peace-building in our communities. Below are some that can easily take root. Think about what you have encountered personally and in your communities. What have you found that worked to address those challenges? Fear: Looking at others as primarily a source of harm. Being insular, without risking or reaching out to others.