Preventing War Means Peace Must Walk a Practical Road ; to Counter Deadly Conflict, the World Needs a Global Military Strategy as Useful as Deterrence Was during the Cold War

By Jane Lampman, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, April 27, 2000 | Go to article overview

Preventing War Means Peace Must Walk a Practical Road ; to Counter Deadly Conflict, the World Needs a Global Military Strategy as Useful as Deterrence Was during the Cold War


Jane Lampman, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


When World War I broke out, young men in Europe rushed to sign up. Crowds came out to send their boys off with flag-waving parades. The almost-festive air expressed the historical view of war as a normal and noble extension of statecraft. But the Great War began to change all that.

The horrors of that conflict - from the enormous casualties and devastation to chemical warfare - struck both the victor and the vanquished, and helped spawn other global nightmares: The Russian Revolution and Communist Party. The rise of Nazism and World War II. The Holocaust. The cold war, and its host of proxy wars.

What if World War I had been prevented?

"It's conceivable the whole history of the 20th century would have been different," says William Ury, director of Harvard University's Project on Preventing War. "The defining events that scarred the entire century all emerged from that war; and looking back at the diplomacy of the time, it seems it was preventable."

The idea of preventing war may be as old as diplomacy itself. But in the closing decade of the 20th century, it gathered adherents with a new sense of urgency and purpose.

As it became clear that the end of the cold war had not ushered in an era of peace, but of deadly conflicts that defied traditional diplomacy, world leaders began to call for a greater emphasis on preventive action. Many countries, after all, had already started to reduce their military forces.

But aiming to prevent violent conflict is not the same as doing it. And at the turn of the millennium, many policymakers and mediators, researchers and military leaders are grappling with how it can be done. They are working to develop a prevention strategy as practical as "deterrence" was in earlier decades.

Does it make sense?

"During the cold war, the major powers' focus [in proxy wars] was not on preventing conflict but on prevailing, because those conflicts meant something to them politically," says Barnett Rubin, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Today's conflicts, he says, "pose great humanitarian problems and moral and financial burdens." They more often break out within states than between them. And they are occurring in a world of increasingly destructive weaponry and destabilizing economic and social change.

The United Nations, United States, and NATO have gotten entangled in multiple tragedies, often after long hesitation over whether or when to get involved. The delays have been costly and the outcomes uncertain.

"By waiting so much during the '90s, we ended up in situations like Bosnia, with huge costs of reconstruction, a lengthy commitment, and the Humpty Dumpty problem - how do you put it back together?" says Bruce Jentleson, director of the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University and a former member of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff.

While some say the US should just not get involved, others point to the danger of fires spreading. In Yugoslavia, the fighting moved from Slovenia and Croatia to Bosnia, then to Kosovo, and could have spread to Macedonia and beyond. Rwanda's conflagration fuels the Congo war and other neighboring conflicts.

In a "unipolar" world, the US with its incredible power and global interests faces burdens of expectation and performance, says Jane Holl, executive director of the project on the Role of American Military Power, of the Association of the United States Army. Yet the US can't be the globe's policeman.

"Prevention is an idea whose time has come," she says emphatically. From 1994 to 1999, Ms. Holl headed the Carnegie Commission's Project on Preventing Deadly Conflict, a comprehensive global effort to understand why some situations deteriorate into violent conflict and others do not. The Carnegie project - which involved civilian and military policymakers, academics, and nongovernment organizations from all regions of the world - reached conclusions that support a global prevention strategy (www. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Preventing War Means Peace Must Walk a Practical Road ; to Counter Deadly Conflict, the World Needs a Global Military Strategy as Useful as Deterrence Was during the Cold War
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.