IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

Just thinkin’

One of the advantages of having a blog is that from time to time (more than that might be a problem) you can just share what you are thinking.  I guess I’ve mentioned this before, but I find it interesting how hard it is to get past people’s built in resistance to the idea that peace is possible.  It seems that for many adults, at some point in their past they decided that peace is “a dream”, “utopian”, “unrealistic”, etc…all of which are understandable given what we see in the world, and even closer to home, everyday.  However, the problematic part is that in many cases once somebody adopts this view, it seems to act as a filter to exclude all evidence to the contrary.  This can have a number of negative effects.

1.  Thinking “peace is impossible”, becomes a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.  Why?  Well you would discount, ignore, look for hidden agendas in, peace overtures (at whatever level).  Therefore, somebody trying to make peace with you (individually, or collectively) could well come to the conclusion that peaceful approaches to interacting with you do not work.  There are some well known historical example of this.  For instance, in the 1950s U.S. Secretary of Defense John Foster Dulles refused to believe that peaceful overtures from the Red Chinese could be taken at face value, when we know now that they were sincere.  This led, inevitably, to a deterioration in relations between the U.S. and China that lasted until the 1970s.

2.  You would miss, and misinterpret important events and trends.  Consider (as I’ve mentioned before):  looked at objectively, it is much much less likely that two or more nations will go to war today over the kinds of concerns that countries fought about for centuries in the past.  “But” you say; “what about Iraq, Afghanistan”…Fair enough, but here we have a very different kind of conflict; and one that could only occur in specific circumstances.  Otherwise, in large parts of the planet, peace among states is “breaking out” all over.  As they get more and more involved in regional and international organizations (which did not exist a hundred years ago), and as globalization proceeds to get us all entwined with each other, aggressive international war (against one’s trading partners, for instance) make less and less sense (the Phantom Menace notwithstanding).  Even if we live in fear of terrorism–and this is a legitimate fear–we should not overlook the extent to which many of the great scourges of the past (such as invasion by hordes of brutal troops–think Genghis Khan, or the Thirty Years War) has to a very great extent disappeared.

So, that’s what I have been thinking about for a few days.  And what brought this on, you wonder?  Well, I play golf (not quite so badly, but not well–yet), and I have a little “peace” button on my cap.  One of my “golfing buddies” looked at it and said, summarily, “a beautiful dream.”  Being the “irenist”, that I am, I thought “hmmm…interesting reaction…why does he write it off like that?”

IGBarb says:  “Peace!”


February 23, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] Peace in Parts? A few days ago I wrote: […]

    Pingback by Peace in Parts? « IG’s Peace Blog | February 28, 2010 | Reply

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