Conflict Prevention: Path to Peace or Grand Illusion?

By David Carment; Albrecht Schnabel | Go to book overview

1
Introduction — Conflict prevention:
A concept in search of a policy
David Carment and Albrecht Schnabel

… despite all the talk and activity in this field since the early 1990's, the basic argument and message of conflict prevention still has not ‘stuck’ in many critical policy quarters and levels of decision making. The quantity of policy doctrine, designated officials and offices, routinised decision procedures, public hearings, policy papers, political debates, appropriations, non-governmental organizations (NGO) network newsletters, programme regulations, job openings, field manuals, policy institutes, and other institutional infrastructure that is commonplace for other post-Cold War policy concerns such as humanitarianism, terrorism, development, democracy, peacekeeping, and arms control still vastly outweighs the counterpart activity in the sister field of conflict prevention. 1


Introduction

In response to the recent record of traditional peacekeeping in conflict settlement and resolution, academics and policy makers have begun to re-examine conflict prevention as an ideal instrument for the creation of peace in a war-torn world. The main message of those involved in the study and practice of conflict prevention is as clear as it is obvious: compared to conflict management, it seems less costly in political, economic and human terms to develop institutional mechanisms that prevent tensions from escalating into violent conflict, to employ early warning mechanisms that allow the international community to monitor relations

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