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Conflict and Movements for Social Change: The Politics of Mediation and the Mediation of Politics (7/07/13) Kenneth Cloke Internal conflicts are endemic and natural to progressive political and social movements, in part because it is difficult to agree on how to define and change highly complex, volatile and evolving social problems. As a result, over time, different definitions of the problem and perceptions about the nature of those who defend and represent it result in radically different notions about what needs to be done to change it. This article helps to clarify definitions of conflict and people's goals for resolving it.
Dzhokar Tsarnaev (5/16/13) William Hymes As we find ourselves satiated with the lurid details of the Boston Marathon Bombing, we notice the comic relief story: “Social Media Shows Support for Alleged Bomber’s Innocence." The temptation here is to either chuckle at Dzhokhar’s supporters’ refusal to accept the incursion of reality into their lives or express anger that there is any support at all for one who seems likely to have committed such an atrocity, and utilize this as an opportunity to allow ourselves to exclude these voices and belittle their message.
Negotiation Theory on the Edge of the Fiscal Cliff: The Limits of Rationality (12/23/12) Robert Benjamin In a Washington Post article, the views of some well-regarded negotiation experts cast doubt on the quality and efficacy of the ongoing "fiscal cliff" negotiations between President Obama and Speaker Boehner, noting how much that process is at odds with the civil, rational, and principled model they purport to teach and claim is practiced in other contexts. It may, however, be their theory of negotiation that is insufficient, not only as applied to the political sphere, but in all negotiations, by failing to account for the predictable irrationality of people in decision-making.
Replace TSA John Pistole? (3/06/11) Christopher C. Cooper TSA screeners must have a toolbox full interpersonal conflict resolution skills. Their leader, Pistole, should lead by example. It seems to me that the best person to head the TSA is a seasoned street cop who knows the value of negotiation.
No Risk? No Hope Then Either (7/05/10) Ronald S. Kraybill I witnessed with alarm a recent ruling of the US Supreme Court regarding the U.S. PATRIOT Act. This Act makes it illegal to give support of any kind to groups listed by the US government as terrorist groups, even if the support is designed to end violence.
Logic Overpowers Intuition: The Obama WAR!!! (12/14/09) Luis Miguel Diaz President Obama decided to send 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in the next six months and then begin pulling them out a year after. He overlooked negotiation and mediation as effective options to end the war. He insists on what does not function to humanly end a war: war intensification. 5 Comments
Negotiators And Snipers: On Strategies For Managing Piracy On The High Seas---And Elsewhere (5/13/09) Robert Benjamin Few international incidents end with the successful finality and clarity as did the rescue of the Maerske ship Captain, Richard Phillips, from
the clutches of Somali pirates in mid April. Three clean kill shots
by U.S.Navy snipers settled the stand-off. Most people in the Western world felt relieved and good about the outcome. Maybe assassination was warranted. Clearly, piracy cannot be tolerated. However, the pursuit of both negotiation and assassination strategies at the same time is troublesome and may be costly in the longer term. If negotiation appears to be merely a pretext for snipers' to act, then will the trust essential for successful negotiations be lost in future negotiations? 15 Comments
Mediating Evil, War, and Terrorism: The Politics of Conflict (11/11/04) Kenneth Cloke We require improved understanding, not only of the conflict in politics, but the politics in conflict. As our world shrinks and our problems can no longer be solved except internationally, we need ways of revealing, even in seemingly ordinary, interpersonal conflicts, the larger issues that connect us across boundaries, and methods for resolving political conflicts that are sweeping, strategic, interest-based, and transformational. A clear, unambiguous reason for doing so occurred on September 11, 2001. 2 Comments
Interview with Bill Lincoln (3/14/03) Ana Schofield Bill is a source of inspiration for many and is undoubtedly one of the ‘unsung heroes’ of this profession. Bill, at 62, has spent much of his life dealing with the complexities of conflict. His courage to go into dangerous situations is found where peace and justice are absent. Bill places his words and actions where his heart lies and risks his life for his beliefs. While he may be afraid, he goes ‘on anyway’. How many people today are willing to face fear with the courage of a warrior armed with words instead of weapons? 4 Comments
Where Is The Wisdom? (3/03/03) Stewart Levine A chilling wind is blowing. As I write it is sending shivers of fear through my body. These shivers make me profoundly aware of the terror our founding fathers had suffered, and why they held freedom of expression as bedrock for the democratic union they conceived.
Why Has Negotiation Gotten a Bad Name? (2/24/03) Joshua N. Weiss You can't negotiate with terrorists! You can't negotiate with rogue states
like Iraq and North Korea that would be rewarding their threatening and
bad behavior! You wouldn't negotiate with Hitler would you look what
happened to Chamberlain! 5 Comments
Reckless Administration May Reap Disastrous Consequences (2/18/03) US Senator Robert Byrd We stand passively mute in the United States Senate, paralyzed by our own
uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the sheer turmoil of events. Only on the
editorial pages of our newspapers is there much substantive discussion of
the prudence or imprudence of engaging in this particular war. Senate Floor Speech delivered on Wednesday, February 12, 2003. 7 Comments
A Wish For The Future (12/21/02) John Paul Lederach I have a wish for a gift given from our generation to our great grandchildren, from the adults of this decade to the children of the end of this Century: Let this be the decade remembered as the time when the beginning of the end of human warfare happened. 7 Comments
Conflict Transformation in an Age of Terrorism (12/16/02) Ronald S. Kraybill America has invested lavishly and narrowly in hammers. As a consequence, the mightiest nation in history responds simplistically to a problem of vast complexity. Rather than examine the full extent of the evil mess created by decades of destructive interaction between ourselves and others, we choose responses that under-estimate the gravity of our situation. We satisfy our need to act, but our children will bear the cost, for the problems will grow far worse on the long-term. 5 Comments
A Call to the Conflict Resolution Community (9/24/02) Bridget Moix The need for voices which can articulate, with experience and professional knowledge, the dangers of spiraling cycles of violence, of an "us vs. them" approach to the world, of seeking security for oneself through war against another, has never been greater. More than anything, policymakers in the U.S. and internationally need to be convinced that effective alternatives for dealing with entrenched and spiraling conflict do exist, that face-saving ways out of the corners we find ourselves in can be found, that our own security is linked inextricably to the security of our global neighbors and even our so-called global enemies. The conflict resolution field has the experience, the knowledge, and the compassion that is critically needed in the current political debate. If only it will raise its voice. 8 Comments