No. 34 (October 1999)
Bringing Peace: The Balkans,
Northern Ireland, and elsewhere
Building a long-term solution
by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
Are we about to intervene militarily in the nation of Colombia?
Stories now in the press are reporting polls which purport to show that 61% of Colombians favor our military's coming in to help sort out their mess with the Marxists and drug lords. Other stories are appearing, apparently to ready the American public for such an intervention. Is there more at stake here than simply the routine cost of Colombia's joining the long list of places where American troops now "stand in harm's way" as peace-keepers and as an occupying force?
There is strong reason to believe that our misunderstanding of the situation there will lead to greater and costlier blunders than our debacles in Lebanon and in Somalia, and approach the magnitude of a Vietnam.
True, our occupation seems to have done its intended job in Haiti and Grenada, but the jury is still very much out on Bosnia, Kosovo, and some of the unannounced situations in Africa, and Iraq is a bleeding disgrace to all concerned. East Timor is just underway, and there may not have been time there to build an alternative. We cannot and probably should not ignore such genocide.
But each of these military occupations is costly. We don't always know what we are doing there. Maybe the alternative would be costlier. But is there a better way than our military interventions as a means to build peace? And can we possibly consider such a better way before we take the plunge into Colombia?
A better way: mutually beneficial incentives
Rebuilding regional economies, so that people have a stake in social order, is a step in the right direction, but it is insufficient. You need also to have the various peoples involved to build a stake in one another's well-being. Here is how:
To take advantage of the tax and tariff breaks, more and more firms will seek out partners from the
hitherto opposed ethnicities. More and more, the most powerful among each group will begin to seek out partners from the other group, Serbs and Albanians and Croatians, for example, Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, Greeks and Turks in Cyprus, Arabs and Israelis in various key sites, Hindus and Muslims, Sikhs and Sufis in Kashmir, various embroiled tribes throughout much of Africa....
The Win-Win Finder
Every conflict is different, each one a special case. The situation in the nation of Colombia, into which we now seem to be heading, may not be resolvable in that the USA feels both the drug lords and the Marxists are far too illegitimate and inadmissible for us to enter into such accommodative arrangements with them. (Also, the USA doesn't understand the situation there, in ways which could make our intervention there one of our worst mistakes ever.) But now that we've hung this general proposition out here to dry, perhaps we or perhaps you can come up with a way sufficiently ingenious to save both Colombia and the USA the costs and risks of the intervention which now seems imminent there.
To assure in most cases that this incentive plan or something like it will indeed succeed in building a peace, we strongly recommend running the Win-Win Finder process on it. Win-Win Finder is posted free to the world under "Techniques" on the Project Renaissance website.
As an example of what we can find with Win-Win Finder:This writer ran several thinktanking groups through Win-Win on Northern Ireland. Each group independently discovered one crucial factor:
In Northern Ireland, the peace movement has largely centered in the churches on each side. What we found is that the funds for reconstruction and for rebuilding the regional economy have to focus largely through the churches there. The churches were of huge importance during the conflict. They have to feel important in the community now, or the advance of peace becomes very problematic. Mostly unconsciously, the people at the very core of the peace process who are based in those churches may, in all sorts of little responses, unknowingly lead to the undoing of that hard-won peace.
Let's end the Dark Ages
Here we are heading into the bright new millennium—haven't we had enough burning, bombing, maiming and killing? Do we still have to go through all this butchery, mass murder, ruining of lives and livelihoods, and unspeakable barbarities committed wholesale? How long are you willing to let these Dark Ages continue?
It seems to me that to enact a gradual general peace-building through tax and tariff breaks to multi-ethnic firms, and a widening practice (official or otherwise) of Win-Win Finder, instructions for which are posted free to the world, could resolve a majority of the conflicts in the world and lower your tax costs considerably, and let human beings get on with living human lives.
If this makes any sense to you, please bring this article to the attention of two additional people and discuss it with them. Thanks. Peace.
For further reading
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