IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

Violence really does breed violence

We live in interesting, not to say confusing times. In world affairs, for instance, there is no real consensus about values, norms and how to resolve things. Some say power is the final arbiter, some say we need more international law and organization, some say a bit of both. World order is not very well defined.

The actions of states, particularly the big ones, can push world order more towards order, if you will, or more toward chaos and violence. So, if the big states show contempt for international law and international institutions, this makes the views of those who only believe in power seem more plausible, and world order drifts more towards Thomas Hobbes’s “state of war” (Hobbes never actually said, btw, that the society of sovereigns was like a state of nature…go look it up 🙂 ). In this context, “moderate” voices advocating diplomacy, etc.. look weak. However, if/when the leading states act to consolidate and expand international law and organization, and, generally, promote cooperation over conflict, then this becomes more acceptable, violence becomes less acceptable, and world order evolves more toward a community (of sorts).

In a nut shell violence, on almost any level, tends to validate its own further use, since it contributes to a climate in which only violence seems to be an effective way to achieve important ends. This trend can be reversed, but the longer it goes on the more intuitive it seems to become, and therefore the harder it is to conceive and promote alternate approaches to conflict resolution.


September 5, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,

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