Managing Conflicts Between States and Within States - Free Paper Sample

Published: 2024-01-19
Managing Conflicts Between States and Within States - Free Paper Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Communication Conflict management
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1801 words
16 min read


The exponential increase in transactions between different countries and even between states determines a greater possibility of conflict, which requires certain conditions for its resolution. A conflict could develop within one particular state or involve several states and its intervention may take several forms including enforcing a blockade to clearing the skies of aircraft engaged in prohibited activities (Freedman 245). Among said conditions are neutrality, an efficient judicial system, as well as a legal framework that protects and guarantees the rights of the parties in the corresponding country, promoting investment and international trade. It is crucial to solve these conflicts in a stable and non-violent way, analyzing and identifying the conflict causes and establishing structural conditions for solving the conflict. Among these procedures, negotiation, mediation, and arbitration stand out as the main techniques for conflict resolution, while other methods have also been developed at the international level such as the International Commission of Inquiry and Conciliation among others.

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Third-Party Involvement in Conflict Management

There are several conditions under which third parties would be involved in conflict management. The first condition is that both parties to the conflict want to get out of the conflict because they are in a state of stalemate, their current conflict tactics are not effective, or they have to pay too much or take too high a risk (Beardsley and Nigel 366). The second condition is that both parties to the conflict are optimistic about the peaceful resolution of the conflict their positions are not far apart, the other party is not unreasonable, and/or the third party has a good reputation. The third condition is that cultural norms encourage both parties to seek third-party intervention. The fourth condition is crucial, that is, they have lost confidence in resolving conflicts on their own. Most individualists have an autonomy need. When the conflict is not intense, they are generally unwilling to accept third-party intervention. However, if the conflict is very intense, the need for autonomy may be overwhelmed by a stronger sense of deadlock and the desire to escape from the conflict, which encourages both parties to the dispute to cooperate with a third party.

Additionally, third parties are normally used in complex situations in which the mediators of a State are not capable of managing a conflict that is difficult to resolve. These mediators are normally summoned when the conflict continues for a long time and when it appears to be very complex (Beardsley and Nigel 370). These mediators are often viewed as second-way diplomats. The positions of the two parties in the conflict are not only far apart, but they tend to become increasingly tough. This is because both sides are full of hostility and both fear that any reconciliation gesture will be misunderstood by the other side as a sign of weakness.

The communication between the parties to the conflict is either interrupted or becomes so tense that they cannot negotiate effectively. Additionally, even in a moderately escalated conflict, both parties to the conflict may lack objectivity, trust, and/or creativity, and these factors are necessary for them to get out of the deep conflict because they have no motivation to get out of the conflict, but because they do not know the way forward (Beardsley and Nigel 383). Therefore, for various reasons, the parties to the dispute are sometimes unable or unwilling to work towards reaching a voluntary agreement. In these situations, third parties often get involved, leading the conflict to the direction of the agreement or resolution.

Third-Party Involvement in Conflict Prevention

Third-party involvement includes conflict prevention as well. The third party can fulfill a dual function. On the one hand, it can prevent the outbreak of war, insofar as it can prevent the formation of a bipolar relationship, immediately belligerent, that is to say, provided it is powerful enough to keep the candidates for belligerence at bay with their threats (Mitchell et al., 64). On the other hand, the third party can arise in an ongoing conflict, in which it has no responsibility, and modify the bilateral balance of power. If it achieves a certain predominance, it relaxes the situation, because it breaks the escalation of the opposing opponents since each of the two is now obliged to reckon with the intruder, that is to say, to carry its attention to the newcomer's actions and actions, instead of focusing only on the enemy. If the third party does not itself have bellicose hegemonic aims, its intervention generally leads to an end to the conflict, most often through a compromise. One can even attribute this observation a more general significance, insofar as peace, including internal peace, rests on tolerance between the various parties.

The role of the third-party mediator is to assist the parties in the conflict to negotiate, and the specific form of this assistance depends on the mediator's diagnosis of the factors hindering the negotiation. Although they have the right to propose new conflict resolutions and possible agreements, they have to let the parties in the dispute decide whether to reach an agreement (Mitchell et al., 64). Compared with other methods, third-party mediation is cheaper and often more successful. Another huge advantage is that it has less recourse to strict legal principles. Therefore, it is more likely to meet the interests and needs of both parties in the dispute.

Third parties are used when the conflicting parties are not willing to negotiate. The third party can limit itself to simplifying communication between the parties by trying to convey their respective positions, interests, and fears neutrally, or to bring in additional information from outside and independently submit proposals for resolving the conflict. The party can instruct the parties in constructive negotiation techniques or initiate learning processes about the opposing sides as well as the respective conflict perceptions or also use operational coercive measures and classic means of influencing in the areas of politics and economics.

Chief Obstacles to Conflict Intervention and Overcoming the Challenges

A major obstacle to effective conflict management is also a lack of financial and logistical resources. A lack of resources means that there is no possibility of enforcing sanctions or offering economic incentives for conflict resolution. Due to the low resource capacities, interventions by regional organizations are most promising if they base their work on the trust of the conflicting parties and not on their means of sanction (Gartner and Bercovitch 828). It follows from this that they should increasingly intervene in the early phase of the conflict when the scope for preventive diplomacy is still greatest. A larger role in the formation of norms for peaceful conflict settlement would also be welcome. On the one hand, this implies that regional organizations develop their mechanisms and institutions for peaceful conflict management. On the other hand, the organizations should work towards peaceful conflict resolution.

Another obstacle is that it is hard to enact proactive risk reduction strategies (in preventing primary conflicts). This is especially the case when the putative benefits seem unwarranted (Stares 466). Several structural weaknesses hamper the conflict resolution capabilities of many regional organizations. Most regional organizations are less corporate units with a common institutional structure than loose associations of individual states, which often have pronounced particular interests concerning neighboring conflicts. The sometimes considerable power imbalances within the organizations are often used by regional powers to pursue their respective interests through the organization.

There are also strategic obstacles where each party wants to increase its gains. Concerning this obstacle, the negotiator must first consider very carefully the opportunities available to him and imagine integrative solutions to help both parties. The negotiator should not focus solely on the distribution of values aspects. Its role is to manage the two poles of this tension as well as possible, keeping in mind both the integrative and distributive elements. Additionally, a negotiator must be aware of the problem of the principal and the agent. In a negotiation, the interests of the agents, together with those of the parties, must be taken into account to the extent that they are legitimate.

In other cases, the difficulties and challenges are caused by the environment and/or by structural causes of the situation itself (economic, legal, among others). They belong to the range of objectivity, of the verifiable, and they configure a real conflict. Some of these aspects that generate unrealistic conflicts are communication and perception problems. When the cause is attributed to communication problems, its solution can be quite manageable just by clearing up misunderstandings and improving communication.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Conflict Management Methods

There are several conflict management methods. Differences between states can be resolved through diplomatic channels, and through direct negotiations between the parties to the conflict without interference from third powers. Direct diplomatic negotiation is often used as one of the first systems for conflict resolution on a global scale since it involves communication, consultation, or exchange of views between senior members of the executive with powers to do so to find a negotiated solution to the common problem.

For negotiation to occur, various circumstances have to occur, from good faith on both sides to mutual recognition through the exercise of freedom and responsibility that is expected of the subjects involved (Bercovitch and Richard 63). Negotiation is a suitable system to be used in the initial phases of the conflict since it acts at a preventive level, as well as for routine conflicts of a rather political nature, although not necessarily since the flexibility and discretion that operate adds to the immediacy, speed, and cooperation by the opposing parties.

Although negotiation represents the most useful, flexible, and important means for resolving conflicts, in many cases it is ineffective because the protagonists do not have the true spirit or intention to solve the problem raised. There may be hostilities and mistrust among the parties involved. In the majority of international treaties, a provision is outlined in which it is envisaged that parties are bound to go to negotiation or other peaceful means in the event of conflicts derived from it. When the negotiation is unsuccessful or is not successful in achieving a solution to the problem, the parties must resort to other peaceful means.

Another method is mediation. Mediation is characterized by the intervention of a third party (mediator) in the conflict (Touval and Zartman 437). It involves taking a further step in the functions assigned to that third party. In mediation, the mediator has much more active participation since he feels authorized to propose the bases of the negotiation and intervene in it as a means of communication, suggestion, and accommodation of positions, without trying to impose the solution, but he intervenes in the whole development of the negotiation until its conclusion. The mediator acts with much more freedom, analyzes and dissects the problem, participates in discussions, and proposes solutions that the parties may or may not accept.

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