Looking at the history of interactions by nations over the centuries, a recurrence of conflicts is observed. Often, these conflicts have led to wars that caused the loss of millions of lives as well as damage to property. On the bright side, a lot has been learnt from these conflicts in terms of preventing them or curtailing them if they have already started. This essay looks at strategies, institutions, and philosophies that have been used to resolve conflicts/wars historically.
A notable strategy is the conflict transformation approach. It involves organizing meetings whereby members of the groups in conflict are brought together. They then discuss and understand each others positions with the intention of creating an atmosphere that better suits a peaceful resolution of conflicts. In the course of the meeting, participants are expected to re-assess the relationship between their respective groups and the likely future of such a relationship. It is hoped that this change in the perceptions of a few individuals will result in a more harmonious future for the groups, either directly or indirectly. In recent times, the conflict transformation strategy has been applied in resolving disputes in emerging democracies found in Europe and other places. A good example of this strategy is the so-called truth and reconciliation commission of South Africa. The approach can be used to create a common understanding of history, which can be a basis for tension reduction, emotional reconciliation, and adoption of a more compliant political climate.
Another strategy that has been used to resolve conflicts in the course of history is known as structural prevention. This approach is all creating an institutionalized system of rules and laws, or forming certain organizations. They will then establish and reinforce non-violent ways of accommodating conflicting interests, arbitrating intergroup disputes, and solving conflicts by adopting a common ground. Typically, the structural prevention strategy deals with the issues of divided states. In particular, it focuses on states with deep-rooted ethnic divisions, weak democratic traditions, and a history of violence perpetrate by a government against civilians or by a certain group against another.
The other strategy of dispute resolution is known as normative change. It involves putting in place and implementing formal principles and informal expectations with the aim of forming a new context for conflict management. Responsibilities may also be defined for states and nations to deter violent conflict. Norms may have been established with the aim of managing conflict between countries in the course of the Cold War. However, after the Cold War, a notable feature emerged whereby international norms were used prevent conflict or regulate existing conflict within nations. Previously, there was the principle of non-interference in sovereign states internal affairs. This meant that such states had the right to deal with conflicts within their borders without being supervised by outside influence. However, this policy began changing a few decades after the Cold War when some states began abusing human rights against their citizens.
Bibliography Autesserre, Severine. Peaceland: conflict resolution and the everyday politics of international intervention. Cambridge University Press, 2014.
Barash, David P., and Charles P. Webel. Peace and conflict studies. SAGE Publications, Incorporated, 2013.
Ryan, Stephen. The United Nations and international politics. Palgrave Macmillan, 2000.
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