1: Perspective And Summary
Democratic Peace page
No less renowned than war.
----John Milton, To the Lord General Cromwell
In In the Minds of Men (1979a)
You make peace by balancing powers.
Conflict over the status quo is a breakdown of what people and groups want and can and will do. It is a balancing of different powers. To make peace, then, is to achieve a balance of powers--an interlocking of mutual interests, capabilities, and wills.
These four rules--look underneath, look at the facts, look at oneself, and look at the other--alone will not make peace, but they help to focus on the real issues and reduce the emotional content.
Moreover, divide a large interest into smaller ones.
Finally, whatever the demand or request, phrase it such that the other's self-esteeem is unaffected. For example, demands that would implicitly concede one's superiority or demean the other invite intense and antagonistic opposition. If esteem related, "yesable" demands must be made, couple them with face-saving, "yesable" offers.
Of course, one may not always be able to focus on an exchange, especially if the other insists on altering the status quo in his favor, or if making an offer in response to aggression or threats communicates weakness or appeasement. Moreover, the other may make completely unjust demands in the hope that through compromise he will get something. Nonetheless, one should have a disposition toward an exchange. It is the use of force and coercion in a particular situation that should always require the most careful justification.
To invoke legitimacy, seek precedent for a solution. Showing that what is wanted has been agreed to before by the other party, or by those the other respects, tends to make a demand or request legitimate. Precedent can exist in previously made formal decisions (as in judicial settlement), previous agreements (as in formal contracts), or in previous behavior (as in previous practices or procedures).
Besides invoking legitimacy, recognize a conflict's legitimacy. The other, of course, will see the issues in light of his own interests. But it will hardly facilitate peacemaking to scorn, ignore, or ridicule him for this. To say or imply that his demands or requests are meaningless or silly is unnecessary and intolerant; it raises the heat of conflict and may prolong it. Acknowledge the significance of what the other believes important enough to argue or fight about. Accept the legitimacy of the issue. And accept the legitimacy of the other.
It may also help to involve a legitimate third party. A third party can provide objective fact-finding, encourage hidden interests or beliefs to surface, clarify misperception and miscommunication, and propose compromises. Even the mutual acceptance of a third party and the process of clarifying the issue for him can be first and second steps toward conflict resolution.
Two rules formalize this important means of easing conflict resolution. Apply power proportional to the interests at stake. And apply power only as relevant to these interests.
The parties could also be separated. In fact, this may be the only solution to irreconcilable differences between majority and minority racial, religious, ethnic, and nationality groups. As a matter of social justice (the Free Choice Principle)
In sum, conflict may be resolved simply by allowing it to fade out or by eliminating the conflict situation. This is achieved by a withdrawal or separation of the parties that allows the heat of battle to cool, rational perspectives on the issues to develop, and the underlying interests to change; or which gives each party an opportunity to satisfy independently their conflicting interests.
In resisting aggression, gauge different power responses. Do not automatically respond to aggression in kind. The most effective response is one which shifts power to bases which can be employed more effectively, while lessening the risk of violent escalation. And respond proportionally. To meet aggression in equal measure is legitimate, while overreaction risks escalation to a more extended and intense conflict, and underreaction appears weak and risks defeat and repeated aggression.
Now, peacemaking is not necessarily the best and most immediate response to conflict. Doubtlessly, some conflicts are unnecessary, some needlessly intense and long-lasting. But some also are a real and unavoidable clash, the only means through which one, as a partisan, can protect or further vital interests and achieve a more satisfactory and harmonious just peace. For example, war against Hitler's Germany from 1939 to 1945 cost millions lives, but it prevented the greater misery, the terror, the executions, the cold-blooded murders which probably would have occurred had Hitler consolidated his control of Europe and subjugated the Soviet Union.
We always can end a conflict when we want by surrender. But some ideas are more important than peace: Dignity. Freedom. Security. That is, peace with justice--a just peace.
Peacemaking is not necessarily one's highest goal in a conflict, then. But the peacemaking principle and subprinciples ease this process. They help avoid pointless escalation and aggravating conflict interaction. They speed up the trial-and-error adjustment of opposing interests. And they help establish a more acceptable, more stable peace permitting incremental progress toward social justice.
There is another relevant qualification. The term "peacemaking" is well established, and I used it accordingly. Unfortunately, the verb "make" can imply that peace is designed and constructed, as a house is planned and erected brick by brick or a road engineered and built. This implication is especially seductive in this age when society is seen as manmade (rather than having evolved),
But peace is not constructed like a bridge. Peace emerges from the balancing of individual mental fields. What the leaders of a group or nation honestly believe, actually want, truly are willing to get, are really capable of achieving are unknown to others--and perhaps only partially to themselves. Nonetheless only they can best utilize the information available to them to justly satisfy their interests. For a third party to try to construct and enforce an abstract peace imposed on others is foolhardy. Such a peace would be uncertain, forestall the necessary trial-and-error balancing of the parties themselves, and perhaps even create greater conflict later. The best peace is an outcome of reciprocal adjustments among those involved. At most, peacemaking should ease the process.
A final qualification. Pacifists believe that violence and war cannot occur if people laid down their arms and refused to fight. But this ignores unilateral violence. Under threat, a state or government may try to avoid violence by submission. The result may be enslavement, systematic execution, and elimination of leaders and "undesirables." The resulting genocide and mass murder may ultimately end in more deaths than would have occurred had people fought to defend themselves.
I agree that in some situations nonviolence may be an effective strategy for waging conflict,
Peace depends on keeping expectations and power aligned.Its subprinciples are given in Table 10.2, and will be discussed in order.
Moreover, peacekeeping must have in mind a specific peace--a particular structure of expectations--and a specific level of peace. Does one want to avoid intense, nonviolent conflict, violence, or just extreme violence, revolution, war? Different levels of peace are interrelated, and keeping peace at one level may require giving it up at another. Trying to avoid all conflict may restrict adjustment, increase pressure for radical change, and risk violence. Indeed, avoiding a war may entail a willingness to engage in limited violence.
In addition, expectations are interdependent. Social relations are a totality, a whole of overlapping and nested structures of expectations. Efforts to keep one kind of peace may spill over onto other kinds of peace, perhaps even creating conflict. For example, a government's desire to avoid an open clash with strikers may communicate weakness and encourage more and possibly even a general strike.
In any case, a specific peace depends on a balance of interests, capabilities, and wills. Relevant change in this balance will increase or decrease the likelihood of conflict. Is there a shift in interests relevant to the status quo expectations? Have relevant capabilities altered? Has will altered? For example, through diverse conflicts and crises during the period from 1945 to 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union developed a balance of powers and associated understandings and treaties that allowed them to coexist with a minimal danger of war. But for a number of reasons (such as the Vietnam war, generational turnover, fear of nuclear weapons, and a tactical Soviet emphasis on détente) the interests of American leaders gradually shifted from primarily opposing Soviet expansionism to avoiding nuclear war. American capability to confront the Soviet Union declined; the will to oppose communism weakened. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union continued to pursue her primary aim of a Soviet-led, global communist victory and has been massively increasing her military capability to support this goal. Much change therefore has occurred in the Soviet-American balance, leading to a much increased risk of Soviet-American war.
Not only the relevant but also the relative changes in the balance are important. Changes in what the parties want and can and will do may be offsetting. Or they may be moving in opposite directions, as for the United States and Soviet Union. [Written in 1998: from 1968 until the Reagan Administration, the United States had been unilaterally disarming,
Keep in mind, however, that some changes may be just and the resulting conflict a worthwhile adjustment. I do not argue in the abstract for peacekeeping above all, or even peacekeeping as a major goal. It is only a means toward a just peace. Many interests must be satisfied. And the weight peacekeeping should be given against, for example, protecting or enhancing freedom, equality, or rights, depends on the situation. Nonetheless, guarding the balance of powers can help to anticipate and avoid undesirable conflict. And on this score the status quo challenger should be watched.
The status quo is the core of any peace. It defines rights and obligations--who gets what from whom.
This requires being alert to warning signals. Often one need not be a social scientist or seasoned observer to recognize that something is going wrong. The signs are all too familiar: increasing tension, hostility, unrest, insecurity. These are atmospherics whose precise source may be obscure and do not consist of any specific behavior. They usually reflect a growing gap between a balance of powers and a status quo; they tell us that a significant gap exists.
Rather than avoid or treat the tension or hostility, which are only effects, seek their source. What status quo is involved? What rights or obligations? Was there relative change in relevant interests? Have associated relative capabilities shifted? Is there still sufficient resolve to protect the status quo? Perhaps the new leadership of some state believes that they can now realize an historic national goal of extending the state's borders to the ocean. Or perhaps shifting populations and upward mobility have weakened the power base of a political machine, or perhaps change in relative military capability has emboldened a state to seek regional dominance.
Third, one can also adopt tacit changes in expectations. Negotiating changes in a status quo requires the agreement of all involved and is difficult to achieve in the absence of an action-demanding crises or violence. Sometimes, however, one can make gap-reducing, unilateral changes. And if the other party agrees by not opposing these changes or compensating for them, then an adjustment in expectations is accomplished.
To maintain a higher peace may entail lower-level conflict in order to make needed readjustments of expectations and power. Such conflicts through time further a process of adaptation to change. This helps avoid that large gap between the balance of powers and status quo that requires an adjustment possible only through much more extreme conflict and violence. As previously noted,
And a corollary is that it is often better to let conflict take its course, for parties to negotiate their own balance, than for a third party to impose an artificial peace simply in order to avoid conflict.
However, I do not urge pacifism. Sometimes violent aggression must be met in kind to defend higher values than peace, or a higher peace. But violence may be also unnecessary and, indeed, counterproductive for a stable peace. I have already discussed under the peacemaking principles many nonviolent alternatives, such as separation and nonviolent resistance. However, while nonviolent alternatives may be desirable, do not allow the choice of such to reward the instigator of violence. If violence cannot be avoided without seeming to reward it, then meet violence by strong and swift counteraction, as any community must suppress the violence of criminals through police action when other means fail.
Freeing adjustment to change fosters peace.Change creates conflict, violence, and war. Specifically, change in interests, capabilities, and will produces a gap between a structure of expectations defining a status quo and an associated balance of powers.
The roots of peace lie in expectations and perceptions, in interests, and capabilities, in will. As more accommodation to change in these roots is facilitated through accepted procedures, needed adjustments are institutionalized, achieved compromises are imbedded in a larger framework of agreements, and required lower-level conflicts are free to modify expectations,. the more likely it is that a stable peace--especially a nonviolent peace--will develop.
This understanding is formalized in the Peacefostering Principle and six associated subprinciples in Table 10.3, to which I now turn.
Part of this disposition is the attitude, "I want to find a middle ground." But a part is also an appreciation that others, like ourselves, seek through a subjective fog to understand the world, find dignity, enhance their esteem, and satisfy their needs. It is a realization of our fallibility and that truth, beauty, and justice are often a matter of our personal perspective. It is an understanding of what a just peace is about.
We are not inconsistent in believing ourselves right, acting on our beliefs, and being guided by our ethics, while realizing that we may be wrong. Belief in an absolute truth or justice that cannot be wrong has fueled some of the most violent upheavals in history. The change from "You are wrong!" to "You may be right" reduces the intensity of many a conflict. This does not mean that we should always compromise, suffer exploitation, or appease aggression or murderers. Nor should we split unreasonable demands down the middle. A disposition to compromise is simply a willingness to find common ground and a mutually beneficial exchange if the situation warrants.
The rules should be unbiased, as in settling minor issues by tossing a coin. They must define who, what, when, and where; that is, they should be as specific as possible to avoid new disputes over what the rules themselves mean. They should be known, well communicated to the parties, and clear. They must be consistently applied. Rules erratically used are worse than no rules, for they confuse, tend to aggravate a conflict situation, and themselves create conflicts over the rules. They must be credible. This means that the rules should seem workable; that the parties involved will follow them.
Additionally, any sanctions that back the rules should be realistic and clearly, consistently, and invariably applied to violators. It is especially important to assure that violations will be quickly known and, if appropriate, sanctioned.
But of even greater importance is rewarding adherence. Rules obeyed only for fear of the consequences of disobedience create a coercive order, and potentially a most violent one. Therefore, rules should be positive: the parties should follow them because they are sensible, right, and rewarding.
First, institutionalize consensus-building. This should be some means of finding or establishing common denominators among the diversity of interests involved. Perhaps this might be a process of consultation among all interested parties to a decision, a national referendum, or a multilateral commission among allies. However institutionalized, consensus-building helps avoid miscommunication, misperception, and misunderstanding, and gives groups and nations a feeling of having at least participated in a decision in which they may have some stake.
Second, institutionalize confrontation of perceptions, expectations, and interests. Conflict is a process of adjustment, which itself can be subject to procedures to contain and regularize conflict behavior and assure a fair outcome. A judicial system is such an institutionalization: the adversary relationship between defense and prosecution lawyers, the systematic presentation and questioning of evidence and witnesses in court, the intermediary role of the judge, and the verdict of a jury regulate confrontation and nonviolently resolve social conflict that could otherwise lead to violence. The formal debate is another type of institutionalized conflict and settlement over beliefs or ideas.
Third, institutionalize a test of strength. Capability and will are difficult to measure and assert in the abstract. There is much room for ambiguity and misjudgment. A function of conflict, seen clearly in violence, is to settle the question, "Whose capability is greater; whose will stronger; whose interests more focused?"
When interests in society become polarized and the stakes involve the most fundamental values, there is no institutionalized replacement for violence. This is and will remain the ultimate test of strength. However, even the process of fighting a war has, through the ages, developed rules and procedures, such as in declaring war, the protection of civilians, the role of neutrals, the immorality of certain weapons, and the treatment of prisoners of war.
As long as the values involved are not critical and interests are unpolarized, however, tests of strength can be institutionalized. The determination of who is more capable and resolute can be governed by procedures, overseen by a third party, and the winner certified in some manner. The conflict can be turned into a contest, like a football or baseball game, except that the outcome does not establish the better team but a new social contract.
To illustrate, strikes by workers against their bosses and the latter's attempts to suppress such strikes used to cause much social violence, many injuries and deaths. As a test of strength in the United States, the strike is now institutionalized within a process of collective bargaining governed by certain laws. Workers can still strike, but only after certain conditions required by law have been satisfied (such as a vote among union members). As a result, although more commonplace, a strike today is less violent and rarely upsets the community (except when major industries or services are involved).
Perhaps the most widely used and valuable decision-making procedure is the vote. It decides which alternative or candidate will win. But this should not obscure the test of strength involved. In social conflict, the number of supporters is a critical index of capability, and their willingness to articulate their support, fight on one's side, man the barricades, and suffer injury or death certainly measures their resolution. Voting simply enables social issues to be decided by counting supporters on each side to begin with, while bypassing the necessity to physically fight it out. It is an institutionalized test of strength: the ballot, not the bullet, determines who is stronger, which idea is "better."
Fourth, institutionalize settlement procedures. The outcome of a conflict is a decision, agreement, contract. The final determination of this outcome, aside from the confrontation and tests of strength involved, can itself be subject to procedures and institutionalized. Thus, establishing the right to vote on issues or competing candidates not only formalizes confrontation but also establishes a settlement procedure. Other institutionalized settlement procedures are mediation and conciliation, the jury system for deciding legal cases, and the Supreme Court for deciding disputes over the meaning and applicability of the law.
In the process of growth all societies naturally evolve institutions for peacefully rebalancing power. As the society becomes more complex in its division of labor, size, and diversity of groups, many different institutionalized adjustment procedures develop. The point here is not to review these, but to emphasize that peace can be furthered by being aware of such a capability, making use of what institutions exist, and adopting new institutions to recurring conflict situations. Peacefostering is partly a process of incrementally extending such institutions.
Finally, no reader should miss the basic relationship between fostering peace and a just peace as defined by the Just Package. To foster peace is to move toward a just peace; a just peace fosters nonviolent peace. The linkage between the two is freedom, which will itself be the subject of two final principles. I can now turn to these in Chapter 11.
* Scanned from Chapter 10 in R.J. Rummel, The Just Peace, 1981. For full reference to the book and the list of its contents in hypertext, click book. Typographical errors have been corrected, clarifications added, and style updated.
1. [Written in 1998: this book has recently been republished as The Conflict Helix: Principles and Practices of Interpersonal, Social, and International Conflict and Cooperation.]
1a. In describing the principles and subprinciples of conflict resolution I could take the point of view of a third party (e.g., "The two parties should . . .") or of a participant or partisan in the conflict (e.g., "A party should . . ."). Moreover, I could write in the third person (as in the above examples) or second person (e.g., "You should . . ."). The simplest, most concise, and interesting approach is to write in the second person from the perspective of a participant (as in the following principle). This I will do generally, unless ambiguity is created. Throughout, what is said of one participant holds for all parties, and I trust the reader will have no difficulty translating to a third-party perspective, if they so desire
Also, none of this should be confused with third-partyism, or the belief that in applying principles of conflict resolution one should stand above conflicts and see them equally from the perspective of both parties. I do no accept this as a principle, for in some conflicts, as in an aggressor totalitarian state militarily conquering a weaker neighbor, or a revolutionary fascist movement trying to overthrow a democratic system, we should be partisans. Some conflicts occur because we have vital interests and a belief in social justice worth fighting for. Principles of conflict resolution then help only to reduce the heat and provide a more realistic and stable outcome.
2. The remainder of this chapter is an extensive revision of Chapters 26-28 of Rummel (1979a--[Written in 1998: this book has recently been republished as The Conflict Helix: Principles and Practices of Interpersonal, Social, and International Conflict and Cooperation]).
3. While the Peacemaking Principle is obviously a derivative of my overall theory, for the subprinciples and their further discussion I have also drawn on a number of useful works on conflict resolution. The most important of these are Burton (1969), Deutsch (1973), Doob (1970), Fisher (1969), Lewin (1948), Miller (1968), Randle(1973), Sharp (1973), Smith (1974), and Young (1967).
4. See Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix (Part II).
5. Throughout this chapter I assume the parties to a conflict are groups or states. The pronouns therefore refer to such a collectivity with which the reader might identify, or the leaders or members of other such collectivities.
6. I am particularly indebted to Fisher (1969) for this idea.
7. This is one of Fisher's (1969) major approaches to conflict resolution.
8. See Section 7.2.1.
9. See Hayek (1973-1979: Vol. I, Part I).
10. See the excellent study by Sharp (1973).
11. See Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix (Chapter 29) and Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace (Chapter 18).
12. As to the inevitability of violence, see Vol. 3: Conflict In Perspective (Section 9.3 of Chapter 9).
13. The Peacekeeping Principle is derived from previous volumes, but for some of its subprinciples I am partially indebted to a number of other authors, particularly Black and Falk (1971), Bloomfield and Leiss (1969, 1971), Hermann (1972), Nardin (1971), Osgood and Tucker (1967), Payne (1970), Ramsey (1968), Schelling (1963), Smoke (1977), Tucker (1960), and Wainhouse (1973).
14. I believe the threat of Soviet revolutionary global aims combined with her military power, which in 1980 surpassed the United States across the board, was then the critical problem of world politics, justice, and peace. I tried to analyze elsewhere this threat, drawing on the material in these volumes where relevant. For an early analysis of détente, which accurately warned of a Soviet military drive toward superiority and likely first-strike capability by 1981, see my Peace Endangered (1976a). I subsequently did a component analysis of U.S. and Soviet military time series, which clearly showed the accelerating Soviet military growth superimposed on a U.S. decline, the general inapplicability of arms race or action-reaction models, and the existence of an arms field. See my Dynamics of Power (1977a). This was followed by an analysis of Soviet intentions, "Soviet Strategy and Northeast Asia" (1978b), using pertinent empirical results in Volume 4. Then I drew systematically on the best-supported propositions of Volume 4 to assess The New Danger of Soviet-American War (1979), which showed that, given current trends, the danger of nuclear war was growing and during the 1980s would likely exceed that of the deepest years of the cold war (it was predictive of the subsequent crisis and change in mood toward a new cold war in late 1979 and 1980). 1 also compared the Soviet's military build-up with the militarization of Germany by Hitler before he invaded Poland in 1939, finding the Soviet military growth curve similar to Hitler's and the relative build-up far greater than his (1979d). Finally, I tried to quantitatively establish Soviet relative nuclear capability and, given a space of different scenarios, the economic and population costs from her perspective of a nuclear war with the United States. This study was entitled "Is Strategic Deterrence Collapsing?" (1980), and the answer was yes.
15. This may appear a simplistic statement, but I believe a careful analysis of the major indicators of military strength as well as the specific armed services and functions will support it. See my Peace Endangered (1976) and Dynamics of Power (1977).
16. See Section 2.3.1A.
17. See Section 2.3 and Section 2.4.
18. See Section 7.4.2.
19. While most of this section is based on previous volumes, a number of other works have been helpful or are especially relevant, notably Angell (1969), Burton (1962), Claude (1959, 1962), Deutsch et al. (1957), Falk and Mendlovitz (1966), Haas (1964), Hemleben (1972), Hoffman (1966), Melko (1973), Mitrany (1946), Nye (1971), Pickus (1970), and Russett (1967).
20. To avoid misunderstanding, I remind the reader that these general principles of conflict resolution are being focused here on status quo conflict. This is because a stable status quo is a precondition for incremental change toward a just peace.
21. See Section 7.4.2 and Section 8.2.