Ways to Prevent and Resolve Violent Conflict

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Ways to Prevent and Resolve Violent Conflict To prevent and resolve violent conflict we must understand the sources and logic of war. Two schools of thought currently dominate thinking on the causes of contemporary conflict. The first sees violence as a response to a range of grievances including systematic discrimination and human rights violations, inequalities in wealth and political power, or a scarcity of resources, particularly where these fall along existing social cleavages such as ethnicity or religion. The second characterizes war as irrational either originating in "ancient hatreds," causing a needless disruption along the normal path to development, or simply as "mindless violence." These schools recognize that leadership can play an important role in stoking the embers of conflict, but both nevertheless see the principal dynamics of conflict resulting from popular sentiment. But what if the principal motive behind conflict is greed not grievance? Profit rather than political power seems to be a growing motivation for violence in civil wars. If economic rationales do play a major role in the motivations of the warring factions, this represents a profound challenge to both prevailing schools of thought. If we recognize that the longevity of conflict can be the result not of anarchy but of economic gain, then there may be method to the perceived madness after all. For those that see grievance or a fundamental conflict of interest at the root of violent conflict the challenge is more profound. If economic gain is a prominent motivation for armed conflict, the very basis for the resolution of violent conflict through negotiation is undermined and the search for a political settlement may be fut... ... middle of paper ... ...ymmetric Warfare David L. Grange 5. Development, Peace and Security: the Possibilities and Limits of Convergence by Jean-Franзois Rioux and Robin Hay* http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/xpress/dex/dex9606.htm 6. A Note on Interests, Values, and the Use of Force JEFFREY RECORD http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/01spring/record.htm 7. Some Reflections on the Future of War Martin van Creveld http://www.nwc.navy.mil/press/Review/2000/autumn/art2-a00.htm 8. Battlefield of the Future 21st Century Warfare Issues http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/battle/bftoc.html 9. ILLUMINATING TOMORROW'S WAR MARTIN LIBICKI http://www.ndu.edu/inss/macnair/mcnair61/m61cont.html 10. The Future of Warfare: Issues from the 1999 Army After Next Study Cycle Walter Perry, Bruce Pirnie, John Gordon IV http://www.rand.org/publications/MR/MR1183/

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