The Hundred Percent Challenge: Building a National Institute of Peace: a Platform for Planning and Programs

The Hundred Percent Challenge: Building a National Institute of Peace: a Platform for Planning and Programs

The Hundred Percent Challenge: Building a National Institute of Peace: a Platform for Planning and Programs

The Hundred Percent Challenge: Building a National Institute of Peace: a Platform for Planning and Programs

Excerpt

Charles Duryea Smith

In October 1984, the drive for a national peace academy led Congress and the president to establish the United States Institute of Peace. The institute is modeled closely on the recommendations of the Matsunaga Commission on the National Academy of Peace. The commission, in turn, was part of a two-hundred-year movement for a national institution devoted to peace. The Hundred Percent Challenge grew out of the work of that commission, and its parts are unified by the vision of what a national peace institute can be.

Peace is the absence of war, it is the effective application of peacemaking techniques, and it is the presence of social justice. As Senator Mark Hatfield makes plain in his foreword, viewed singly the definitions are incomplete; together, they give a whole picture. The three chapters in Part One represent these three perspectives.

Approaching peace as the absence of war, David Little brings just-war theory into the nuclear age. Mankind for centuries has taken up the sword and justified its slaughter on both sound and specious grounds. Argued over in varied historical contexts, just-war theory is about God, death, and individual responsibility. The classical just-war writings are by Aristotle, Cicero, St. Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas, while the father of early modern just-war thought is Hugo Grotius. When the Catholic bishops wrote their Pastoral Letter on War and Peace, they entered the just-war fray. So, whether we know it or not, just-war theory is an important part of today's ongoing debates over arms control and disarmament, retaliatory strikes, the protection of noncombatants in wars of liberation, and conscientious objection.

One way to enable a just peace to develop in a troubled area is to introduce a peacekeeping force. David Segal and Katharine Gravino write about this most difficult military mission, which relies on techniques aimed at separating disputants and keeping civilian fears at bay. It buys time for other peacemaking methods, such as elections, mediation, and negotiation. Whether they act as police or buffers . . .

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