When the security of the United States was threatened it waged a global war
Conflicts occur over the needs, including the need for security; therefore; when the security of the United States was threatened it waged a global war on ‘terrorism’.
According to John Burton, some areas of conflict such as terrorism are not resolved the conventional way; they require what he termed “provention” or removing the source causes of the conflict.
Nevertheless, if the world’s greatest superpower sees war as the only option, what hope is there for resolving any of the many international conflicts we face all over the world? Are we witnessing the dawn of a new world order based solely on force and narrow national interest?
The “exaggerated fear”, according to Ralph White theory, took over leading to a “negative image and an impulse to hurt.”
If the United States fails in its ‘ambitious’ program for Iraq, we will certainly see an upsurge in attacks against the US world-wide. The window of opportunity for the United States to produce results in Iraq is almost certainly a limited one as we have already seen.
But the question for thinking people is: Which is worse, for the US to fail or to succeed in its Iraqi adventure? If it succeeds, it may signal that brute force indeed pays off and may encourage further pre-emptive strikes, by the US or other powerful countries as a means to solve political problems. If it fails and Iraq tumbles into anarchy and gangsterism, and the US turns tail and bails out, Bin Laden and his supporters will have won a great victory and support for his cause will grow by leaps and bounds, not just in Muslim countries but all over the world. Thus, the need for resort to the principles of Conflict Resolution is even stronger.
After the recent Iraqi elections, president Bush described “success in Iraq has been redefined to mean its emergence as a beacon of democracy to inspire and engender the spreading of freedom throughout the Arab world.” This ‘success’ has turned the focus on Iran calling it “the world's primary state sponsor of terror” and accusing it of pursuing nuclear weapons - a charge Iran denies.
Either outcome would seem to be defeat for those who believe in conflict resolution. It may be that in today’s atmosphere of fear, hate and mistrust, peaceful solutions are no longer in vogue. Perhaps when the folly of these policies are exposed, there will again be a time for nations and peoples to turn to peaceful means to settle their differences. We can only hope that will be the case.
Conflict Resolution and Prevention community should engage in a constructive dialogue, including appeals for global peace and work on problem areas to acknowledge the valid grievances of all parties and address them in a ‘problem solving’ manner. The alternative to the war is an effective nonviolent response to the September 11 attack and reconciliation through dialogue and negotiations.