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TAMIL NATION LIBRARY: Conflict Resolution

" ...Man's illusions are of all sorts and kinds... The greatest of them all are those which cluster round the hope of a perfected society, a perfected race, a terrestrial millennium... One of the illusions incidental to this great hope is the expectation of the passing of war... that he should struggle even by illusions towards that end, is an excellent sign; for it shows that the truth behind the illusion is pressing towards the hour when it may become manifest as reality... " Sri Aurobindo on the Passing of War

[see also Conflict Resolution]

* indicates link to Amazon.com online bookshop
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*Larry Berman - No Peace, No Honor: Nixon, Kissinger, and Betrayal in Vietnam, 2002

"...What Berman works to show is the inherent dishonesty of Nixon's Vietnam policy. This is no great challenge. Even before he was elected president, Nixon strove to undercut the possibility (admittedly slim) of the Johnson administration achieving any breakthrough in the Paris peace talks. That dishonesty continued, and to little purpose, in his and Kissinger's shared mania for secrecy in their negotiations with the North. And, finally as well as most important, there was his highly cynical view of the accords. "Nixon," Berman writes, "recognized that winning the peace, like the war, would be impossible to achieve, but he planned for indefinite stalemate by using the B-52s to prop up the government of South Vietnam until the end of his presidency. Just as the Tonkin Gulf Resolution provided a pretext for an American engagement in South Vietnam, the Paris Accords were intended to fulfil a similar role for remaining permanently engaged in Vietnam. Watergate derailed the plan."  The Price of Peace - Mark Feeney / Boston Globe, 25 August 2001

Centre for Just Peace & Democracy - Envisioning New Trajectories for Peace in Sri Lanka, 2006

Getting to Yes*Roger Fisher & William Ury - Getting to Yes : Negotiating Agreement Without Giving in Arrow Business Books, 1997

*Roger Fisher from the Harvard Law School, Andrea Kupfer Schneider from Marquette Law School, Elizabeth Borgwardt from Stanford Center on Conflict and Negotiation and Brian Ganson   - Coping with International Conflict, Prentice Hall, 1997

"From the Back Cover: This text combines the clear, concise, proven principles and practice of conflict management from Fisher's bestseller Getting to Yes with the newest problem-solving approaches to international relations. Many of the concepts presented grew out of materials Fisher and his colleagues use in their international consulting work to teach problem-solving and conflict management skills to diplomats and heads of state involved in contentious international disputes...."

 "...Sometimes, an important factor in changing the course of an international negotiation may be the introduction of a creative perspective, a new understanding of what may have seemed to be intractable conflict. Such a fresh idea will often provide the kernel of a new question that can be asked of someone who, up until now, has been saying 'no'...

 "...Parties to a conflict tend to get stuck because they have been going back and forth arguing about the past and about the merits of their respective positions. The debate has taken on a stale quality, and new ideas are not being generated. Often, those involved simply see no need for new ideas. They know what they are opposed to. They see their primary concern as having their views prevail. New ideas are a threat to existing ideas. Inventing does not take place because parties are content with the ideas they have. Or emotional involvement on one side of a conflict makes it difficult to achieve the detachment necessary to think of solutions that reconcile the interests of all parties....

Perhaps the most serious constraint on creative thinking in a conflict is the official role of those involved in it. Having authority puts a negotiator in the position where a freely invented option may be mistaken by adversaries as an official position. There is a serious risk that she will be seen, at least personally, as committed to accept an idea that she created or helped to create. Something said in a creative context may later be treated as a concession by other negotiators or by critics at home..

....A final reason for not coming up with better ideas is that most us do not know how - we are untrained in the art of generating fresh ideas.... few of those involved in a conflict ever spend  much time trying to invent better solutions for all concerned. Parties rarely spend time consciously trying to invent original ways of resolving their differences or formulating principles that will appeal to both sides..."

Roger Fisher, Elizabeth Kopelman & Andrea Kupfer Schnieder - Beyond Machiavelli : Tools for Coping With Conflict 1994

"...Every dispute has a history; we have been sending messages to them and they have been sending messages to us, even if only by silence or by a professed refusal to negotiate. Positions have been staked out. Proposals have been made and rejected. One thing we know for sure: if the conflict is continuing, whatever we have been saying and doing so far has not worked. It has not produced the result we want, or we would have turned our attention to other matters by now..."

John McGarry, Brendan O'Leary (Editor) The Politics of Ethnic Conflict Regulation: Case Studies of Protracted Ethnic Conflicts, 1993

John McGarry (Editor) Northern Ireland and the Divided World: The Northern Ireland Conflict and the Good Friday Agreement in Comparative Perspective / 2001

*Harold George, Sir, Nicolson - Diplomacy / Paperback / Published 1988

Michael Mann -  The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing
Cambridge University Press, 2005

"...Where a significant minority movement is already making collective political demands on a state dominated by another ethnic or religious group, these demands will neither wither away nor be repressed, once aired and organized. The nation-state ideal is too strongly entrenched in the modern world for them to be simply repressed or ignored... I predict that Indonesia will be unable to assimilate or repress Aceh or West Papuan autonomy movements; India will be unable to assimilate or repress Muslim Kashmiris or several of its small border peoples; Sri Lanka will be unable to assimilate or repress Tamils..." more

Tanya Reinhart - The Road Map to Nowhere: Israel/Palestine Since 2003

* Robert I. Rotberg - Creating Peace in Sri Lanka: Civil War and Reconciliation, , Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution Press, 1999.

*Robert L.Rothstein - After the Peace: Resistance and Reconciliation, 1999

"...many peace agreements are fragile and the 'peace' that they create is usually the extension of war by more civilised means... A peace agreement is often an imperfect compromise based on the state of play when the parties have reached a 'hurting stalemate' or when the international community can no longer stomach a continuation of the crisis. A peace process, on the other hand, is not so much what happens before an agreement is reached, rather what happens after it... the post conflict phase crucially defines the relationship between former antagonists. Hence the title, After the Peace..." from a review by Walter Kemp, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe,  Nations and Nationalism, Volume 6,Part2,April 2000 [**alternate link to Amazon.co.uk]

*Edward W. Said - The End of The Peace Process: Oslo and After

From a review by Chris Green for Amazon.com: "...Edward Said opposes the "peace process" because it has been deliberately designed to confine Palestinians to cantons which are isolated from one another, over which Israel controls overall sovereignty, water , exits and entrances, overall security and so on. The "peace process" has allowed Israel to extend its military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza strip, with arrangements less costly than the old direct military rule, letting the Palestinian Authority have "limited autonomy" in Palestinian population centers, the cantons, while it retains all the best land and continues expropriating Palestinian land and building more settlements, most fervently under the "moderate" Labor governments, contrary to much illusion. Israel currently retains direct rule in about seventy two percent of the West Bank and about forty percent of the Gaza Strip. Said makes very clear that he believes the "peace process" to be similar to the effort in apartheid South Africa to establish batustans,"homelands" for the blacks. Doubtless, he says, the Palestinian cantons will one day be declared a "Palestinian state" but it will actually be no more than a caricature of the bantustans of South Africa.

He was on close terms with Arafat and many of the top PLO leaders before 1993. He offers an utterly scathing critique of Arafat and the PLO leadership. He portrays them as unbelievable morons and unbelievably corrupt and brutal. He says the main reason the PLO succumbed to Israel's offer in 1993 was that Arafat and his goons were facing an internal rebellion within the PLO because of their corruption, stupidity and lack of democracy. So they jumped at an agreement that made them Israel's collaborator and gave them protection. Their main duty is to round up, and often torture and sometimes murder all people whom Israel believes to be a threat to its always threatened "security" a very elastic concept which includes a great many non-violent persons

Since 1993, Arafat has spent all of the Palestinian Authority's money funding twelve or thirteen secret police agencies and buying off his enemies, real or potential, often with salaries for government jobs that entail absolutely nothing. He graphically portrays Arafat's incredible stupidity as he has endlessly begged the Israelis for more crumbs, and is always hoodwinked. Probably the best chapter in the book (and by far the longest) is "On Visiting Wadie" where he describes, among other incidents, an interview he was granted with the acid tongued PA minister Yasser Abd Rabbo, that was very cordial. Several months later Rabbo, on Arafat's orders, sent goons to all bookstores under Palestinian jurisdiction to seize Said's books and carry them away.

A point that he constantly reiterates throughout this book is something that he says that he has been making to Arafat and other Palestinians for years. He says that Palestinians need to try to emulate the international educational efforts, lobbying and other forms of activism of the old anti-apartheid movement of South Africa. The Arab world, he notes, is currently run by dictatorships of varying degrees of brutality, most of them propped up by the West, and is at an all time low. Arabs, he says, especially the various kept intellectuals of the pro-Western regimes, are immensely ignorant of Israel. They focus all their attention on the Labor party, but not on any genuine elements of peace in Israel like Israel Shahak or the late General Matti Peled or his daughter who expressed sympathy for the Palestinians after her daughter was blown up by a Hamas suicide bomb. Or the composer Daniel Barenboim, with whom Said has developed a friendship. Or Israel's revisionist historians like Benny Morris, Illan Pappe, Zeev Sternhell, Tom Segev, etc. who were interviewed about their findings on Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948 on Israel's fiftieth anniversary special on Israeli TV (of all places) in 1998..."

 

 

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