Monday, August 26, 2013

 

Johan Galtung’s view from Europe: Peace Proposals Work! – Sometimes


A good solution must identify the conflict (not between Korea North and South, more between North Korea and USA).  A good solution depends on creativity more than “good chemistry” between the parties: they may actually understand each other too well, proposing solutions in a shared direction (like drawing a border in the Andes).         A solution-orientation is needed; analyses taught at universities are not good enough, nor diplomacy as promoting the interests of one’s own state.


Peace Proposals Work! – Sometimes

26 August 2013

by Johan Galtung, 26 Aug 2013 - TRANSCEND Media Service

Kuala Lumpur: Perdana Global Peace Foundation, 25 August 201

“Global Peace Efforts: What Went Wrong & What Next?”

          The TRANSCEND NGO Mediation Network just turned 20, and our experience is clear: a good peace proposal quite often works.

To mention some out of 30 positive experiences: we have had a hand in launching peace studies and peace journalism; improving race relations in Charlottesville, VA; in ending the Cold War through bridge-building between Norway and Poland, the idea of a Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe and nonviolence; in improving North-South relations through South-South cooperation and then relinking with North on a basis of equity–this from the early 1960s.

Later on there have been contributions to peace on the Korean peninsula (first unify the nation, then perhaps the countries), the Kurdish issue (a Kurdistan as a confederation of human rights-based autonomies in the four countries), ending the longest war in Latin America, Ecuador/Peru (a two-state condominium up in the Andes with a natural park, later a joint economic zone); in tripartite peace in the Caucasus; in solutions for bullying in schools; in judicial mediation; in the problem of settlers in Zimbabwe; conciliation Germany/Herero, Turkey/Armenians, Denmark/Islam; and so on and so forth, up till now.

Our conspicuous failures include Israel/Palestine-Arab States-Islam, Yugoslavia, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Nepal, Colombia; not for lack of trying.  As many have pointed out, mediation becomes very difficult if one party is convinced that victory is at hand, positively by being stronger (USA, Israel), negatively by expecting others to collapse (the Koreas, India/Pakistan in Kashmir).  The winner can dictate the terms; they think.  However, victory is not peace.  Victory is glory to the winner and appetite for more; and trauma for the loser and wish for revenge, for revanche, a new deal.  It may look as if the victory is acceptable and sustainable but just wait and victory backfires.  Nothing solved.

True peace has to address not only the inner attitudes of hatred and the outer behavior of violence–even if more empathy and less violence will help–but the contradictions, incompatibilities between them.  We are talking about peace, not glib pacification like Nepal.

In our experience a good peace proposal has some characteristics:

A good solution must identify the conflict (not between Korea North and South, more between North Korea and USA).  A good solution depends on creativity more than “good chemistry” between the parties: they may actually understand each other too well, proposing solutions in a shared direction (like drawing a border in the Andes).         A solution-orientation is needed; analyses taught at universities are not good enough, nor diplomacy as promoting the interests of one’s own state. But, Anatol Pikas pointed to five impediments to solutions:

Why?  Because there is a Jewish legitimacy given the history of Antiquity and for the same reason an Arab legitimacy.  Those who argue also on the basis of history like I do, will of course also recognize the legitimacy of Chinese rights to the sea given the sea lanes from East China to East Africa 500 AD to 1500 AD, brutally eliminated by two countries from the West, Portugal and England.  What is not legal may nevertheless carry legitimacy and be negotiated.

To summarize: to reduce violence we must identify the conflicts, the clash of goals; to identify conflicts we must have dialogue with all parties; to arrive at solutions the method is a mutual search for a new reality, not winning debates and compromises; the more proposals floating in the air the better; sooner or later they will be picked up

__________________

Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He is author of over 150 books on peace and related issues, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.

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